The Ugly Side of Fish Oil Supplements

No matter how many positive benefits can be derived from a supplement, like fish oil, herbals, or vitamins, they also contain a negative side.

Though fish oil is relatively safe to ingest, there are some things you must be aware of. Read on to find out.

Fish Oil Facts

Fish are high in protein, low in cholesterol, and offer fatty acids known as Omega-3's. The human body does not naturally produce Omega-3 acids. Omega-3 is a combination of essential, non-saturated fatty acids:
* Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
* Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
* Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
One of the most common source for Omega-3, in high concentrations, is from fresh fish. (Omega 3 can also be found in flaxseed, walnuts and almonds.) The human body requires a specific amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 (from grains and corn) fatty acids to promote proper cellular growth and function. If you do not have the proper amount of fresh fish in your diet, fish oil capsules have become a popular way of providing the necessary ratio of Omega-3s.
If you have opted to start taking fish oil capsules to supplement your Omega-3 intake, there are some possible side effects that may occur and precautions that must be addressed.

The Negatives of Fish Oil Supplements

* During the first few days of ingesting a fish oil capsule, you may notice a "fishy" aftertaste or breath odor.
* You may suffer from gastrointestinal problems including: increased burping, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, or abdominal pain. Keeping your capsules in the freezer will reduce this side effect.
* High doses of fish oil can produce "greasy' stools and incite bouts of diarrhea.
* Omega-3s are known to lower blood pressure. If you are taking blood pressure meds, or have low blood pressure, use caution with the dosage amounts of fish oil.
* High doses can increase bleeding. Nosebleeds, easy bruising, blood in the urine, and even strokes may result.
* Large doses can deplete the body's supply of vitamin E, which is required to assist in metabolizing fatty acids.
* Fish oil can increase the body's "bad cholesterol" level, LDL.
* Large doses can lead to weight gain and, in diabetics, cause an increase in blood sugar levels.
* Fish oil can also decrease the stomach's ability to absorb vitamins, A, E, D, and K.
* Very high doses of fish oil can cause an overdose and lead to internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract or the brain.
Do not confuse fish oil with cod liver oil. You can get Omega-3 from cod liver oil but it also contains vitamins A, D and K. In order to get the dose of Omega-3 you require, you run the risk of exceeding the recommended daily amounts of vitamins A, D, and K, which can reach toxicity levels in the body. One example: too much vitamin A can lead to liver damage.

People Who Should Avoid Fish Oil Supplements
If you have one of the pre-existing conditions listed below, you should avoid taking fish oil supplements unless prescribed by your physician:
* Diabetes = Fish oil can raise your blood sugar level and may require an adjustment in the amount of insulin or diabetic medications you are currently taking.
* Any type of bleeding disorder = Fish oil tends to help thin the blood, making platelets less likely to "stick together," for clotting purposes.
* Familial adenomatous polyposis (polyps in the colon) = Fish oil may increase your risk of developing colon cancer if you have a genetic pre-disposition for polyp growths.
* Implanted heart defibrillator = Some studies have shown that there may be an increased risk of arrhythmias and further research needs to be conducted before fish oil supplements can be deemed safe for these patients.
* Bipolar disorder = Fish oil may lead to an increased risk of mania symptoms in people with this condition, even though it has been found to ease the symptoms of depression.
* Allergies = If you have a known allergy to fish, certain dyes, or preservatives, you may also be allergic to fish oil supplements.
* Compromised immune system = If you have HIV, AIDS, or cancer, high doses of fish oil could increase your risk of infections due to findings that it may suppress the immune system.
* Current medications = Fish oil may interact or counteract certain medications you may be taking. These include; blood pressure medication, aspirin, anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS), and heart medication or blood thinners.
According to the United States National Institute of Health (NIH), fish oil capsules are "Generally Regarded as Safe." Not everyone will suffer any of the negative side effects but it is important to consult with your doctor before taking fish oil capsules, especially if you already have any health issues that may be affected and exacerbated by ingesting Omega-3s.
Stick to the recommended doses. Pay attention to the contents (milligrams) of the capsules you plan to take. (1000 mg = 1 gram) Look at the concentrations of EPA and DHA on the label. The average person requires half a gram, 0.5 g, of each fatty acid daily, which is about 500 mg.
Omega-3 fish oil capsules, when taken correctly and under medical supervision, can offer numerous health benefits. Most people can take the supplement without adverse effects but understanding what you are putting into your body and how much is best for you, is essential.

Alternatives to Fish Oil
There are some very effective alternatives on the market in 2012:

Hemp Oil
Chia Oil 
Flax Oil
Algal Oil/Algae Oil  

My personal favorite is hemp oil. I recommend the capsules if you don't like the strong nutty taste. Another favorite is something called Ultimate Oil. Also check out the book on Amazon called Hemp For Health.


Thanks for reading! What do you think?



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  2. Yes I agree that it is a well-known fact, fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties which sooth the inflammation and improve heart health. There is one more thing which I think you have to know- this oil is very effective to treat the signs of aging. Women spend lots of money to cure the signs of aging but sometimes in some people the treatment don’t work. In that condition you can use this oil to get its benefits. So benefits of fish oil is an ideal remedy which can cure the signs of aging.

  3. nice this blog.
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