Fish oil is a popular supplement available in pill, liquid, and capsule form. People take it for many reasons, including its ability to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. It also decreases high blood pressure, treats high triglycerides, and aids the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Why Take Fish Oil?
The benefits of taking a fish oil supplement regularly are plentiful. Just about everyone could live better if they incorporated a fish oil supplement into their life, which is why it’s one of the most popular supplements on the market.
- Fish oil supports heart health by lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, plaque, and events of fatal arrhythmias.
- Fish oil can help treat certain mental disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids improving brain health.
- Fish oil can aid weight loss by helping you reduce waist circumference when combined with diet and exercise (even workouts at home).
- Fish oil can support eye health thanks to its dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which many people don’t get enough of.
- Fish oil can reduce inflammation, which helps calm the painful symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, among other things.
This list is truly only the beginning. Preliminary research also links fish oil to healthier skin, healthier bones, healthier pregnancies, and early life wellness. It can even help reduce depression, aid fatty liver, and assist with hyperactivity in children.
How Much Fish Oil Should You Take?
When it comes supplementing with fish oil, the key is taking the right dosage at the right time every day. If you do not eat at least 1 to 2 portions of fish each week, supplementation is considered beneficial.
In general, the amount of fish oil you take will depend on your age and current health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of 0.2 to 0.5 grams (200 to 500 mg) of EPA and DHA, with increased dosages for those who are pregnant, nursing, or at an increase risk of heart disease.
So, that means you should be looking for a fish oil supplement that provides no less than 0.3 grams (300 mg) of EPA and DHA in every serving. Be sure to check the label, because you may need to take multiple capsules/pills to get a full serving of the supplement.
Check The Concentration
When we say read the label, we mean it. Concentration is very important to proper supplementation.
When it comes to fish oil, supplements may have up to 1,000 mg of fish oil in every serving, but yet only 300 mg of EPA and DHA.
Ideally, the supplement you choose will contain at least 500 mg of EPA and DHA in every 1,000 mg of fish oil.
Consider The Form
Fish oil is available in many forms, including: “ethyl esters (EE), triglycerides (TG), reformed triglycerides (rTG), free fatty acids (FFA) and phospholipids (PL),” according to Healthline.
It’s important to note that your body does not absorb EE as well as other forms, so try to look for a fish oil supplement that comes in one of the other listed forms to improve absorption.
Don't Trust Just Any Brand
Be wary of where you buy your fish oil supplements! Unfortunately, online retailers like Amazon have unknowingly given way to third-party sellers who are selling less-than-pure and less-than-fresh fish oil to the public.
So, always buy from a reputable brand that has been verified by a trusted third-party. To avoid counterfeit goods, consider shopping at a local health food store or reputable online seller, too.
If you’re ever suspicious about the supplement you received or if the package comes opened or damaged, consider reaching out to the seller for a refund or replacement.
Is there a best time to take fish oil?
While there is much debate over the best time of day to take fish oil, the best time to take fish oil ultimately comes down to another factor.
It’s well-known that other dietary fats will help your body absorb omega-3 fatty acids. That means it’s best to take your fish oil supplement when eating a meal that contains other dietary fats.
For that reason, the supplement is best taken before or soon after you eat, but if you really want to improve absorption, you’ll pay attention to the amount (and type) of fat in your meal and take the supplement with your fattiest meal of the day.
Additionally, even if you try to avoid fat in your diet or you eat very little fat in a day, it’s still ideal to take fish oil with a meal because some people get nauseous if they take it on an empty stomach, this is quite important for those practicing intermittent fasting.
Should You Split Your Fish Oil Dose?
One common side effect of taking fish oil is acid reflux, which is why some people choose to split their daily fish oil dose into two smaller doses. That means taking it once in the morning and once at night, preferably with a meal both times,
This is an effective strategy for reducing or preventing the acid reflux and potential indigestion that may result from a fish oil supplement. The cause of these side effects is likely the high fat content found inside the supplement.
Avoid Side Effects
Aside from splitting your dose to lessen the chance of indigestion or acid reflux, you can also avoid other potential side effects associated with fish oil supplementation by following these tips.
- Choose a flavored liquid supplement if you don’t like the fish taste, or...
- Avoid the fishy taste of gelcaps by freezing them before you take them.
- Look for a fish oil supplement that’s verified by a third-party.
Still experiencing side effects? Don’t worry: The so-called “fish burps” tend to subside after taking fish oil for awhile.
However, if you are concerned about how fish oil may impact you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider. You should always discuss with them first before you add a new supplement to your diet.