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8 Fish Oil Side Effects: How Much Is Too Much?

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Omega fish oil is widely known for its MANY health-promoting properties. Fish oil, being rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, is proven to relieve any forms of inflammation and even ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, it can also help lower your blood triglycerides (fat in your blood). If you search “what are the benefits of omega 3 oil?” you will find A LOT of health benefits.

OKAY SO! you would be thinking of consuming more of it right? BETTER NOT, why? More isn’t always good and consuming a lot of it may do harm than good.

In this post we’ll be talking about the other side of the coin! Here are potential downsides if you consume too much Omega fish oil.

#1 Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums

Taking too much fish oil can prevent blood clot formation leading to high risks of bleeding such as bleeding gums or nosebleeds. These two are among the hallmark downsides of too much fish oil consumption.

One study reports that around 70% of people taking at least 1-5 grams of fish oil everyday experienced mostly nosebleeds as a side effect.

Because of this, it is recommended not to consume fish oil if you’ll be having surgery. Also, talk with your doctor if you’re taking blood thinners as this may have a bad effect.

#2 High Blood Sugar + Diabetes

Research shows that consuming too much of Omega fish oil may raise your blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes. This is because too much fish oil can promote production of glucose that can lead to high levels of sugar. 

One study found that taking 8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids each day led to a 22% increase in blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes throughout an 8-week period.

#3 Low Blood Pressure

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower blood pressure, which may interfere with certain medications and cause problems for those with low blood pressure.

Fish oil can help in lowering blood pressure.

31 studies were analyzed and the analysis made concluded that taking 3 grams of omega-3 fish oil can lower the blood pressure of those who are suffering from high blood pressure.

While this is good for people who have high blood pressure, it can cause serious issues for people who don’t have that condition.

 On top of that, fish oil can’t go well together with other medications for high blood pressure. So check with your doctor if you’re gonna take fish oil together with your other treatments for high blood pressure.

#4 Acid Reflux

Although fish oil is known for its powerful effects on heart health, many people report feeling heartburn after starting to take fish oil supplements.

Other acid reflux symptoms — including belching, nausea and stomach discomfort — are common side effects of fish oil due largely to its high fat content. Fat has been shown to trigger indigestion in several studies.

Sticking to a moderate dose and taking supplements with meals can often effectively reduce acid reflux and relieve symptoms.

Additionally, splitting your dose into a few smaller portions throughout the day may help eliminate indigestion.

#5 Diarrhea

Diarrhea is among the most typical side effects of consuming too much Omega fish oil. In fact, one review reported that diarrhea is one of the most common adverse effects of fish oil, alongside other digestive symptoms such as flatulence.

A tip - if you experience diarrhea after taking omega-3 fatty acids, make sure you’re taking your supplements with meals and consider decreasing your dosage to see if symptoms persist.

#6 Stroke

Some animal studies have found that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids could increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke while other human studies have found no association.

Hemorrhagic stroke is a condition characterized by bleeding in the brain, usually caused by the rupture of weakened blood vessels.

Some animal studies have found that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids could decrease the blood’s ability to clot and increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke

These findings are also consistent with other research showing that fish oil could inhibit blood clot formation.

However, other studies have turned up mixed results, reporting that there is no association between fish and fish oil intake and hemorrhagic stroke risk.

Further human studies should be conducted to determine how omega-3 fatty acids may impact the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. 

#7 Vitamin A Toxicity

Certain types of omega-3 fatty acid supplements are high in vitamin A, which can be toxic if consumed in large amounts.

For example, just one tablespoon (14 grams) of cod liver oil can fulfill up to 270% of your daily vitamin A needs in one serving.

Vitamin A toxicity can cause side effects such as dizziness, nausea, joint pain and skin irritation.

Long term, it could also lead to liver damage and even liver failure in severe cases.

For this reason, it’s best to pay close attention to the vitamin A content of your omega-3 supplement and keep your dosage moderate.

#8 Insomnia

Some studies have found that taking moderate doses of fish oil could enhance sleep quality.

One study of 395 children, for instance, showed that taking 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily for 16 weeks helped improve sleep quality.

In some cases, though, taking too much fish oil may actually interfere with sleep and contribute to insomnia.

In one case study, it was reported that taking a high dose of fish oil worsened symptoms of insomnia and anxiety for a patient with a history of depression.

However, current research is limited to case studies and anecdotal reports.

More research is needed to understand how large doses may affect sleep quality in the general population.

The Bottom Line

Omega-3 is an essential part of the diet and supplements like fish oil have been associated with a number of health benefits.

However, consuming too much fish oil could actually take a toll on your health and lead to side effects such as high blood sugar and an increased risk of bleeding.

Stick to the recommended dosage and aim to get the majority of your omega-3 fatty acids from whole food sources to get the most nutritional gain.