Does Fish Oil Have Side Effects?
In general, there are very few, if any, side effects for the millions of people taking fish oil. And as we have learned, the vast majority of doctors recommend fish oil because there are numerous fish oil benefits. However, there are some people who should be cautious.
Fish Allergies -- Those with a sensitivity to fish should not take fish oil. In some cases, allergic individuals will experience hives, skin rash, and breathing symptoms as fish oil side effects.
Lack of Blood Clotting -- Our blood naturally clots when we are cut. Otherwise we would bleed to death. Normal, healthy individuals without known blood clotting issues will not experience any problems at any dosage. In fact, quite the opposite, they will experience the many benefits of fish oil. Image courtesy of ponsulak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
However, there have been a few small studies of high doses of fish oil that show predisposed people temporarily lose the blood clotting ability. Those with thrombotic disorders like hemophilia and those with CAD (chronic atherosclerosis disease) are susceptible to a diminished blood clotting ability when given high doses of fish oil.
This fish oil side effect was only found in doses of 6 grams to 12 grams (6000 mg - 12000 mg per day) which are considered mega-doses. But most people don't take that much...
500 mg to 3000 mg per day is the maximum anyone would ever need. The higher levels are for those who have major illnesses and ailments and need more than a maintenance dosage.
Blood Thinners -- Blood thinning drugs like Coumadin (warfarin) and heparin are made to reduce the body's ability to clot. Doctors prescribe these medications to people at risk of getting a clot that could clog an artery in the heart or head (heart attack and stroke, respectively). These drugs thin the blood into just the right balance between thick and thin. Too thick is not good and too thin is not good either. Adding fish oil to the mix WILL upset that balance and make the blood dangerously too thin.
Drugs like aspirin and Plavix affect platelets and clotting as well, but the manner of function is different than the Coumadin. It may be okay to take these drugs with fish oil pills. Consult your doctor.
Stomach Upset -- Loose stools could result from fish oil. Scale back on the dosage and slowly increase to desired strength if this rare side effect occurs. Depending on the brand (quality) of fish oil you take, will likely determine stomach upset. Initial fish quality, and fish oil processing is vital in determining freshness, eliminating rancidity, and reducing potential for acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, or the disgusting fish burps.
Fish Oil ReviewsA quality fish oil supplement that is molecularly distilled will prevent these problems. (See our fish oil reviews)
Blood Pressure -- Fish oil studies have shown that higher doses on fish pills will decrease blood pressure for those with hypertension (high blood pressure). Obviously, this is a good side effect.
However, some people have low blood pressure disorders to begin with, and taking fish oil could lower this pressure to excessively low levels (causing dizziness). If you are currently taking blood pressure drugs like diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, alpha blockers,etc., you should keep in mind that fish oil will drop your pressure even more. Therefore, consult your doctor to regulate your prescription dosage.