Fish oil is omega-3, 6, or 9 fatty acids that are found in many species of fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, herring, and halibut. Mercury, metals, and other toxins are also found in these fatty acids. Although there are many health benefits associated with taking omega-3, there are also fish oil side effects that may occur if taken in doses larger than what is recommended.
Omega-6 is found in many food products and vegetable cooking oil. Omega-9 is found in animal fats, vegetable oils, and olive oil. Most people lack omega-3 in their diet and take these tablets or liquid to make up for this. Supplements are safer to take than the liquid product as the refining process has removed the mercury, metals, and any other harmful toxins. Those who are allergic to fish should not take this supplement. Pregnant women should also refrain from taking due to the mercury level and the increased risk of birth defects.
Although taking omega-3 lowers blood pressure and triglycerides, bad cholesterol may increase as much as ten percent. There is also an increased risk of bleeding conditions such as strokes, nosebleeds, and bloody urine due to blood clotting being hindered. Those with congestive heart failure should check with their family physician since irregular heartbeats may result. Men and women taking blood thinners or insulin or who bruise or bleed easily should also consult with their family doctor.
No serious side effects result if taken as recommended. However, side effects that may occur when taken in large doses include stomach upset and pain, bloating, burping, indigestion, and diarrhea. Some people also experience a slightly fishy taste in their mouth.
Since some supplements may contain vitamins A and D, large doses may cause an overdose in the body. Vitamin A overdose results in blurred vision, nausea, enlarged spleen or liver, hair loss, and even death. Vitamin D overdose causes nausea, vomiting, constipation, irregular heartbeat, kidney stones, and a buildup of calcium in the blood. The body's production of vitamin E in the blood also increases to prevent the body's sugar levels from becoming too high from the fish oil.
Consumers should be aware of fish oil side effects that could result from existing medical conditions or taking more than the recommended dosage. Men or women who are unsure of the personal risks should consult with their family physician before including in their daily diet.