Fish Oil Benefits and Side Effects: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover the numerous fish oil benefits and side effects in this comprehensive guide. Arm yourself with knowledge and make informed decisions about incorporating fish oil into your health routine.

Fish oil, derived from the tissues of fatty fish, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These valuable fats have been extensively researched for their various potential benefits to health, including enhancing cardiovascular well-being, boosting cognitive function, and reducing inflammation. However, like any supplement, fish oil also has potential side effects that need to be considered.

What is fish oil?

Fish oil is a dietary supplement derived from the tissues of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and anchovies. It contains abundant omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for human health as the body cannot produce them independently, necessitating their acquisition through diet or supplements.

Fish oil nutrition profile

Fish oil nutrition
Nutrient (1)Amount per 1 tablespoon (14 grams)
Total Fat14 grams
– Saturated Fat3.5 grams
– Monounsaturated Fat3.5 grams
– Polyunsaturated Fat7 grams
Omega-3 Fatty Acids~4,000 milligrams
– EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)Varies
– DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)Varies
Vitamin DVaries
Cholesterol0 milligrams

the nutritional content can differ between different brands and types of fish oil supplements. Always refer to the product label for the most accurate information. Additionally, it’s essential to consider individual dietary needs and consult with a healthcare professional before adding any supplements to your diet.

Fish Oil Benefits

Arthritis and autoimmune diseases.

Fish oil effectively treats rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms by reducing morning stiffness, joint tenderness, and the number of swollen joints while also regulating the immune response.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, fish oil has shown potential benefits for various conditions like knee osteoarthritis, lupus, psoriasis, and Raynaud’s syndrome.

Heart Health

Prevent Heart Disease

Fish oil cannot prevent a heart attack or stroke.

However, it can help in reducing certain risk factors associated with both of these conditions, including high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and the hardening of arteries known as atherosclerosis.

If you are prescribed fish oil for high triglycerides, your doctor may recommend a specific brand such as Lovaza (omega-3 ethyl esters). Prescription fish oil capsules have highly purified fish oil that contains a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids compared to most over-the-counter fish oil capsules.

ASD, also known as autism spectrum disorder, has an impact on communication, social interaction, and learning abilities. Fish oil has no impact on ASD symptoms but it may potentially enhance attention and working memory in adults with ASD.

A small study conducted in children with ASM observed that those who were administered daily omega-3 capsules for eight weeks experienced improvements in their behaviors and social communication skills.

Helps Lower Blood Pressure

A review published found that consuming two to three grams of DHA and EPA daily is the recommended intake for reducing blood pressure. poses a significant risk to individuals as it is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke – which are top contributors to mortality rates in adults within the United States.

Helps Protect Eye Health

Certain evidence suggests that older individuals with high levels of DHA and EPA in the outer layer of their red blood cells have a significantly decreased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Among individuals aged 60 and above in the United States, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) leads to permanent loss of vision.

Among individuals aged 60 and above in the United States, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) leads to permanent loss of vision.

age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can cause blurred and distorted vision or a loss of central vision where detailed visuals are required.

Helps Reduce Inflammation

Fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, can partially hinder various aspects of inflammation.

Consuming fish oil, which contains omega-3s such as DHA and EPA, has the potential to reduce inflammation in the long term.

Prolonged inflammation that persists for months to years significantly increases the susceptibility to chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Having a connection to diminished anxiety and lower risk of depression

Techniques to Reduce Anxiety for Teens

Research has discovered that individuals with low levels of omega-3s in their blood may be more susceptible to experiencing anxiety and depression.

Fish oil has the potential to enhance conventional depression treatments.

According to research, eating an omega-3-rich diet can help lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression. The researchers discovered that omega-3s had anti-inflammatory characteristics that may help with mental health issues. Brain inflammation is a common cause of anxiety and depression.

May Help Slow Bone Density and Muscle Loss 

People gradually lose bone density and muscle mass as they age, increasing their risk of falling and fractures.

Consuming omega-3s, for example, may help elderly persons maintain bone mineral density in their spines. A study published in 2021 connected fish oil to lower fracture risk, particularly among patients with a high hereditary risk.

Similarly, research has demonstrated that a fish oil supplement slows the average age-related reduction in muscle mass in persons aged 60 to 85.

Might Help with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when fat accumulates in the liver, causing damage. A study discovered that persons with NAFLD who took fish oil experienced an improvement in liver damage.

Might Support Brain Health

According to research, omega-3 supplements may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment in older persons.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain ailment that mainly affects adults over the age of 60. Alzheimer’s patients have poor language, memory, and thought. They may have difficulty recalling individuals and recent events.

DHA is a vital component of your brain’s cells. Researchers discovered that persons with Alzheimer’s disease have lower DHA levels than others. According to a 2018 analysis, a higher intake of omega-3s, particularly DHA, which may be found in fish oil, helps to maintain the structure of brain cells.

Fish Oil Side Effects

Here are some potential side effects that can occur when you consume too much fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids. (2)

High Blood Sugar

Research suggests that high omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may raise blood sugar levels in diabetics. (3)

One tiny study, for example, discovered that ingesting 8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day resulted in a 22% increase in blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes after eight weeks.

This is because excessive doses of omega-3s can promote glucose synthesis, contributing to elevated long-term blood sugar levels.

Other studies, however, have produced inconsistent results, implying that only extremely high doses affect blood sugar.


Bleeding gums and nosebleeds are two common side effects of excessive fish oil ingestion. (4)

One research of 56 persons discovered that supplementing with 640 mg of fish oil per day for four weeks reduced blood clotting in healthy adults.

Another small study found that ingesting fish oil may increase the likelihood of nosebleeds, with 72% of teenagers who took 1-5 grams of fish oil daily experiencing nosebleeds as a side effect.

Before surgery, it’s recommended to discontinue fish oil supplements and consult with your doctor if taking blood thinners such as Warfarin.

Low Blood Pressure

Fish oil’s ability to decrease blood pressure is widely recognized.

One study of 90 dialysis patients discovered that ingesting 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to a placebo.

Similarly, a review of 31 research found that ingesting fish oil can successfully lower blood pressure, particularly for people with high blood pressure or cholesterol levels.

While these effects are undoubtedly advantageous to people with high blood pressure, they might cause major difficulties for those with low blood pressure.


Diarrhea is one of the most common side effects of fish oil, and it may be especially prevalent when taken in large doses. (5)

According to one review, one of the most prevalent side effects of fish oil is diarrhea, as well as other digestive issues including flatulence.

Omega-3 supplementation, including fish oil, can cause diarrhea.

Flaxseed oil, for example, is a popular vegetarian alternative to fish oil, but it has been demonstrated to act as a laxative and may increase the frequency of bowel movements.

Acid Reflux

Although fish oil is known for its tremendous heart health benefits, many people report experiencing heartburn after starting to use fish oil supplements.

Fish oil’s high-fat content might cause acid reflux symptoms such as burping, nausea, and stomach discomfort. Several studies have demonstrated that fat can cause dyspepsia.

Taking a moderate dose of supplements with meals can often effectively reduce acid reflux and relieve symptoms.

Splitting your dose into smaller doses throughout the day may also assist with indigestion.


Hemorrhagic stroke is a disorder characterized by bleeding in the brain, usually caused by the rupture of compromised blood arteries. (6)

Some animal studies have revealed that high consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce blood clotting and increase the risk of hemorrhagic strokes.

These results are also consistent with previous research indicating that fish oil may reduce blood clot development.

Other studies, however, have shown inconsistent results, reporting no link between fish and fish oil consumption and the incidence of hemorrhagic stroke.


Some studies have suggested that ingesting moderate amounts of fish oil can improve sleep quality.

One research of 395 youngsters found that ingesting 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily for 16 weeks improved sleep quality.

However, in rare situations, ingesting too much fish oil might interfere with sleep and contribute to insomnia.

In one case study, consuming a high dose of fish oil exacerbated sleeplessness and anxiety symptoms in a patient with a history of depression.


what happens when you take fish oil every day?

The regular ingestion of fish oil enhances serotonin release. An unbroken release of serotonin improves social behavior and elevates mood. As a result, eating fish oil daily improves serotonin function by reducing brain inflammation and increasing its release.

who should not drink fish oil?

Bipolar disorder: Consuming fish oil may exacerbate some of the symptoms of this condition. Liver illness: Fish oil may raise the risk of bleeding in those who have scarring from liver disease. Diabetes: Consuming large amounts of fish oil may make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.

Does fish oil help weight loss?

Omega-3s in fish oil can help with weight loss by improving metabolism. Metabolism can be measured using metabolic rate to calculate the number of calories burned each day. The faster the metabolic rate, the more calories expended, making it easier to lose weight and stay fit.

When should I take fish oil supplements?

There is no significant advantage to taking fish oil at a certain time of day. People may choose to take fish oil with a meal that contains dietary fat. A 2019 omega-3 study discovered that consuming an omega-3 concentrate with a fat-containing diet boosted bioavailability, making it easier for the body to absorb.

Is fish oil good for the skin?

Omega-3s can also help soften rough, dry skin and relieve inflammation and dermatitis. But that is not all! According to studies, ingesting fish oil regularly may improve the skin’s resistance to UV damage and skin cancer.


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