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FISH OIL SIDE EFFECTS

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Side Effects of Fish Oil: An Introduction









Side Effects of Fish Oil: An Introduction


Even though they are "natural" products, fish oil supplements are not free of side effects. For most people, these side effects are simply bothersome. However, fish oil can sometimes cause serious side effects, especially when taken at higher dosages (which is often necessary in order to obtain the benefits of fish oil).

(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with fish oil. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of fish oil side effects with you.)
Fish Oil Side Effects...
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Fish Oil Side Effects 1

Fish Oil Side Effects 1

Many consumers are concerned about the quality of the fish oil used in omega-3 supplements. There are also questions about fish oil side effects from mercury contamination in some fish oil products. In an attempt to answer these questions, Environmental Defense (formerly known as the Environmental Defense Fund) through its Oceans Alive program conducted a survey of 75 different companies that produce fish oil supplements.

Though common fish oil side effects are mild, the ones that are caused by fish oil mercury contamination can be very serious. This is why it's absolutely crucial you only buy only fish oil that has undergone molecular distillation. Mercury exposure is particularly hazardous to children and women of child-bearing age, but health concerns do exist for men and women who do not plan on having children. Mercury is a poison and has been found in the fish we eat due to industrial pollution. Standards for allowable levels of fish oil mercury contamination vary among government organizations.

Oceans Alive found that the Council for Responsible Nutrition, an association of companies that supply nutritional supplements, has standards that are equal to or higher than the most stringent government standards.

The normal or common fish oil side effects consumption may cause are diarrhea and a fishy aftertaste. The side effects caused by mercury poisoning range from birth defects and learning disabilities to hair loss and fainting spells. Omega-3 supplements purified by molecular distillation do not pose a risk of fish oil mercury contamination and therefore no risk of the fish oil side effects associated with mercury poisoning.

The more common fish oil side effects (that is, even those that has undergone molecular distilltion) can usually be avoided by taking with food (even a cracker or small amount of juice will prevent the fishy after taste) or reducing the dosage.

However, some mild fish oil side effects may still happen, such as having the fish oil "repeat" on you. Another precaution is if you are using fish oil in conjunction with blood thinners. This is because fish oil itself is a blood thinner, and taking too many blood thinners may cause excessive bleeding. So if you are taking any type of anti-coagulants, let your doctor know before you add fish oils to your health regimen.

Most companies will voluntarily provide purification details to their customers who are concerned about fish oil mercury contamination and fish oil side effects.
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Minor Side Effects Of Fish Oil Supplements May Be Avoidable

Minor Side Effects Of Fish Oil Supplements May Be Avoidable

The possible fish oil side effects are relatively minor when compared to the health benefits of this dietary supplement. Questions about fish oil side effects may arise from concerns over mercury contamination. While evaluations by consumer advocate groups have shown low levels of contaminants in some supplements, the conclusion was that they are basically safe.

The USDA does not have a list of the fish oil side effects of too much fish oil. Fish and fish oil supplements are the best known sources of omega-3 fatty acids. No upper limit for omega-3 fatty acid consumption has been established. Some vitamins and minerals can be toxic when consumed in high quantities on a daily basis. Vitamin A, D, E, K, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and copper are examples of nutrients that have established upper safety limits for human consumption.

Instead of a recommended daily intake, the USDA has established an “acceptable” dietary intake for omega-3s. This is an amount that according to their research prevents deficiency symptoms. The acceptable dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids is 1.6 grams or 1600mg for men and 1.1 grams or 1100mg for women. Although more may be recommended by health care professionals for certain conditions, such as arthritis and heart disease.

The best dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish. The common fish oil side effects also accompany fish consumption and it may be difficult to reach the acceptable intake level, even by eating fish everyday. And, because of mercury contamination and other pollutants in our fish, the Environmental Defense Network advises that certain types of fish should be avoided, some types should only be eaten once or twice a month and some types are safe to eat once a week.

Sablefish is one that is safe to eat at least once a week. 100 grams of sablefish contains 1.49g or 1490 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. This is a fish with very high omega 3 content per serving. Most fish do not contain this much. Canned skipjack tuna, for example, provides only 0.256g or 256mg of omega-3 fatty acids and carries consumption advisories for children due to mercury content. Other types of tuna have consumption advisories for adults, as well, because of mercury contamination.

On the other hand, the best fish oil supplements are purified and molecularly distilled to remove impurities and contaminants, like mercury. Distilled and encapsulated forms may also prevent any fish oil side effects. Environmental Defense states that fish oil supplements are an acceptable choice for ecologically concerned consumers and that most appear to be safe.

The best supplements contain 1000mg of fish oil per capsule, which provides 440mg of omega-3 fatty acids. The recommended dosage is one or two capsules per day for adults. For children, bodyweight is the determining factor for dosage.

The most commonly reported fish oil side effects include burping or a fishy aftertaste. Three suggestions may prevent these minor, but annoying fish oil side effects. First, taking the fish oil supplement with a meal may prevent the fishy aftertaste. Burping after a meal is caused by swallowing air and is perfectly natural. Excessive burping can be avoided by eating slowly.

Second, some people have found that freezing their capsules prevents the common fish oil side effects . This, of course, is not an alternative for those people who prefer to take the liquid supplement form. Some manufacturers advise that the product should be kept from freezing, follow the label directions.

Third, simply switching from a liquid supplement to a capsule may reduce or prevent common fish oil side effects. Capsules will be more slowly absorbed by the system and will not start to break down until they reach the stomach. Thus, the fishy aftertaste may not be experienced.

Other side effects of too much fish oil that have been reported by some people include a laxative effect, indigestion and heartburn. Indigestion and heartburn can be avoided by taking the supplement with a meal. Most vitamin supplements will cause indigestion when they are not taken with a meal. Some, like the B-complex may even cause vomiting, if they are not taken with food. You can not rely entirely on your supplements to provide adequate nutrition. A balanced diet is a necessity.

Although, there is no known upper limit for omega-3 consumption, some fish oil supplements contain the vitamins A, D & E. Excess consumption of vitamin A or the possible serious fish oil side effects containing vitamin A include liver problems. Vitamin A supplements are only recommended for those people who are at risk for vitamin A deficiency. Avoiding the cod liver oil and other fish liver oils is safest. Fish oils derived from the flesh of the fish do not typically contain vitamin A.

Excess vitamin D consumption can cause elevated levels of calcium in the blood stream. Since milk is fortified with vitamin D, most daily vitamin supplements contain vitamin D and there are many other sources, including the sun, the safest choice is fish oil that does not contain vitamin D. It is also wise to avoid excessive consumption of vitamin E supplements, although foods containing vitamin E are not believed to pose any health risks.

The bottom line is that the common fish oil side effects of supplements obtained from the flesh of fatty fish are very minor and avoidable.
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FISH OIL SIDE EFFECT

FISH OIL SIDE EFFECT

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fish oils have been promoted not only for dyslexia and ADHD but also heart disease,high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, bipolar disorder and cancer. In some cases there is good evidence to support fish oils as a treatment and in others the evidence is unclear. But what are the health risks of taking fish oils? Lots of producers of fish-oil capsules promote large dosages of supplements so are there any fish oils side effects ?

The US National Institute of Health classifies low intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish as “Generally Regarded as Safe”. However they do highlight certain fish oil side effects that may trouble some people. The omega-3 in the fish oil may increase the risk of bleeding when taken in large doses. The bleeding can take the form of strokes, nosebleeds and blood in the urine. As the fish oils seem to decrease platelet aggregation, bleeding times may be longer.

A major worry with fish oils and the fish they are created from is poisoning from heavy metal and other pollutants. Mercury, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are found in some species of fish. However, mostly this fish oil side effect is associated with eating fish directly as the oil, even in contaminated fish, carries little of the pollutants.
Stomach upset are a common side effect of fish oil supplements. Diarrhea may also occur, with potentially severe diarrhea at very high doses. There are also reports of increased burping, acid reflux/heartburn/indigestion, abdominal bloating, and abdominal pain. Fishy aftertaste is a common effect. Gastrointestinal side effects can be minimized if fish oils are taken with meals and if doses are started low and gradually increased.

People with low blood pressure or those taking blood-pressure reducing medicines should take care. One of the reported side effects of fish oil is a reduction of blood pressure. The impact on blood pressure appears to be dose dependent.

Vitamin E plays a part in metabolizing omega acids so large doses of fish oil place high demands on the body’s vitamin E supply. To avoid this fish oil side effect, vitamin E is added to many commercial fish oil products. As a result, regular use of vitamin E-enriched products may lead to elevated levels of this fat-soluble vitamin. Fish liver oil contains the fat-soluble vitamins A and D, and therefore fish liver oil products (such as cod liver oil) may increase the risk of vitamin A or D toxicity.

One fish oils side effect and their fatty acids is an increase low-density lipoprotein levels (”bad cholesterol”) by 5-10%. This is dependent on the dose used. The oils have also been noted to have an effect on blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 / Adult Onset Diabetes but this is short-term and no long-term effects have been reported.

Overall omega-3 and 6 rich fish oils have few side effects and can be considered safe the vast majority of the population.
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