30 Sec Answer: Taking fish oil can lead to excessive bleeding, an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, an upset stomach and loose stools, and may interfere with certain medications.
Fish oil supplements are popular for their reported health benefits, such as aiding with heart health and providing essential fatty acids that the body needs. However, there are potential side effects associated with taking fish oil that everyone should be aware of before adding it to their daily routine. In this article, we’ll take a look at the disadvantages of taking fish oil and discuss why it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is a dietary supplement derived from the tissue of oily fish, such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies, and tuna. It typically contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These essential fatty acids play a role in brain development, growth and maintenance.
Possible Side Effects
While fish oil has been found to have some beneficial properties when taken in moderation, it can also cause adverse reactions in some people. Here are some potential risks associated with taking fish oil supplements:
One possible side effect of taking fish oil is excessive bleeding due to its anti-clotting effects. This can happen if you already have a condition that causes thinning of the blood or are taking medication that thins your blood. If you experience any symptoms of excess bleeding while taking fish oil supplements – such as frequent nosebleeds or bruising easily – stop taking the supplement immediately and speak to your doctor.
Increase in LDL Cholesterol Levels
Fish oil may also increase levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – commonly known as "bad" cholesterol – according to research published in Nutrition & Metabolism. Although studies suggest that EPA and DHA reduce triglycerides (another type of fat found in the blood), they may raise LDL cholesterol levels slightly more than other fats do.
Upset Stomach & Loose Stools
Some people may experience gastrointestinal issues when taking fish oil supplements due to its high fat content. Taking too much fish oil can cause nausea, bloating, diarrhea, indigestion and gas. To minimize these symptoms, start by taking smaller doses of the supplement until your body adjusts and gradually increase over time if necessary.
Finally, one major disadvantage of taking fish oil is that it can interact with certain medications. For instance, if you’re on a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin®), fish oil can make the drug less effective by reducing its ability to clot your blood properly. Additionally, it may also interact with drugs used to lower cholesterol levels or reduce inflammation – so it’s always best to consult your doctor first before taking any new supplements.
How Much Should You Take?
It’s recommended that adults take up to 3 grams per day of combined EPA and DHA for general health benefits without increasing risk for side effects – but be sure not to exceed this amount without consulting your physician first. Also keep in mind that pregnant women should only take 1 gram per day because higher doses could potentially harm fetal development. Finally, check with your doctor about which dosage would work best for you based on your medical history and current medication regimen.
Taking fish oil has many potential health benefits but also carries some risks depending on how much you take and any preexisting conditions you may have. As always when considering adding a supplement into your routine – including anything containing omega-3s – make sure to talk with your healthcare provider beforehand so they can provide guidance on dosage amounts as well as potential drug interactions or contraindications based on your individual situation.