Whether you consciously take omega-3 fatty acids through your diet or as a dietary supplement, you’ve certainly already asked yourself the question: Does Omega-3 have side effects?
Basically, side effects are an exceptionwhen taking the most important omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapenaetic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).
The reason for this is that we humans cannot produce these unsaturated fatty acids at all or only partially in our bodies. But we need them so that our organism can function normally.
This means that taking omega-3 from external sources is something quite natural. Accordingly, most people do not experience any side effects when taking omega-3 fatty acids.
And yet there are rare cases where certain symptoms may occur. For example, people keep reporting that you have an unpleasant bump or a fishy bad breath after taking fish oil capsules.
Is there anything wrong with that?
Don’t worry, most side effects of omega-3 are preventable. We have summarized all the information for you.
Omega-3 side effects are mostly preventable – be mindful of these symptoms
What side effects can occur when taking omega-3 fatty acids?
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
As mentioned earlier, these side effects are the absolute exception and occur only in a small percentage of people taking omega-3.
Several factors are important for the development of these symptoms. One factor here, for example, is general tolerability.
Whenever you feed your organism, it may react with unpleasant side effects. This is the case with every foodstuff. Of course, individual compatibility also plays a role. Omega-3 capsules containing fish oil can even cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to fish.
However, the most decisive factor in omega-3 side effects is dosage. If you notice that taking it has unpleasant consequences for you, you can avoid them in most cases by lowering the dose. So with mild side effects, it’s a good idea to simply take less omega-3. If you are unsure about the dosage, or even have an allergy, your GP or family doctor can help you.
Do you really get bad breath from too much fish oil?
Why is fish oil usually taken in capsules and not just with a spoon? After all, you have the positive effect of the omega-3 fatty acids contained in both types of intake, or not?
That is quite true, but the fact is that fish oil tastes like fish. Doesn’t sound weird, but it’s still like that.
And this little taste of its own is not particularly appetizing. So the solution of taking the oil in capsules is a welcome alternative for most people.
However, if there is an unpleasant bump after ingestion, a fishy taste may spread in the mouth. But don’t worry, that too can be avoided.
Proper intake of the capsules helps
Capsules with omega-3 oil are best taken with high-fat meals. In most cases, lunch or dinner is best. The fat in the food ensures that you can really use the nutrients optimally.
To avoid unpleasant taste when bumping up, it helps to take the capsules just before eating.
Pay attention to the oxidation value for fish oil capsule
The fishy taste often stems from the fact that the oil in the capsules begins to oxidize. Especially cheaper food supplements are often affected. Reason for this: The quality of the fish oil used determines the oxidation parameters.
The values you should pay attention to are:
- Peroxide value (POV)
- p-anisidine value (p-AV)
Together, they give the total oxidation value (TOTOX) after formula 2*POV + p-AV. The lower this value, the less quickly the oil oxidizes in the capsules.
Are there any serious omega-3 side effects?
Increased intake of omega-3 can also lead to serious side effects. However, these only occur in case of severe intolerance (allergy) or certain pre-existing conditions. You should pay particular attention to these symptoms in case of diseases:
Increased blood sugar levels in diabetes
A study published in 1989 in the American journal Diabetes Care showed that people with type 2 diabetes had elevated blood sugar levels by up to 22 blood sugar levels over an 8-week period by taking omega-3.
But: These results are controversial. Several other studies have been conducted on this subject, in which no association has been found between taking EPA and DHA and an increased blood sugar level in diabetes.
Nevertheless, you should still pay special attention to your sugar levels if you take omega-3 with diabetes. Sure is safe.
Low blood pressure
One of the positive effects (for most people) of a sufficient supply of omega-3 fatty acids is the lowering of blood pressure. However, if you suffer from low blood pressure or take medication against it, caution is required.
In this case, it is important to consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Increased propensity to bleeding
Numerous studies have shown that increased intake of omega-3 can easily hinder blood clotting. If side effects such as nosebleeds or bleeding gums occur, you should definitely reduce the dose of your omega-3 intake.
Especially in the case of upcoming operations or when taking medications that also reduce blood clotting, it is not recommended to take them.
Too much of a good thing: Is there such a thing as an overdose of omega-3 fatty acids?
The omega-3 in your body should be well regulated. Too little and your organism is no longer working properly. Omega-3 fatty acids are ultimately essential. However, if you take up too much, this can also lead to unpleasant side effects.
In summary, two things are crucial for omega-3 side effects:
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a guideline of up to 5g of omega-3 fatty acid per day as a safe dosage. Note that 5 grams of omega-3 is not equal to 5 grams of fish oil. 1g fish oil concentrate, contains between 250 and 500mg omega-3 fatty acids (depending on the preparation). Important for the right dose is not the amount of fish oil, but the amount of omega-3 fatty acids contained.
Most side effects can be easily managed by adjusting the dosage. If you have certain pre-existing conditions or are afraid of interactions with other medications, your GP or family doctor can help you.
The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in your body
You can still take so much omega-3 fatty acids – if your omega-3 levels are not in line with your omega-6 levels, you have little of the nutrients. A ratio of 5:1 (omega-6 to omega-3) is generally recommended.
Our modern diet is relatively omega-6-containing, which is why a targeted intake of omega-3 through food or supplementation is often necessary. Depending on your lifestyle, however, your need for fatty acid also changes.
Here it is important to listen well to your body. If side effects occur, you can then adjust the dose.
If you want certainty, you can also have your Omega-3 and Omega-6 levels tested. The doctor and the doctor of your trust are the right contact persons for this.