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Fish oil gastrointestinal side effects

Stomach pain is a symptom of gastrointestinal disturbances.
Stomach pain is a symptom of gastrointestinal disturbances.

Gastrointestinal side effects are common with the use of fish oil, according Side effects might include stomach pain. However, fish oil might be beneficial for you to use, regardless of the side effects.

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which might help to lower the risks of heart disease, stroke and high-blood pressure. There are ways you can reduce the side effects associated with its use.

Stomach Pain and Other Side Effects

Gastrointestinal problems can include gastritis, colitis and indigestion; any one of these can lead to stomach pain. To help determine if fish oil is the cause, look for other common gastrointestinal side effects such as belching, heartburn, nausea, and loose stools. If stomach pain is the only side effect, discontinue your fish oil regimen to help determine the cause.

Reducing Side effects

To reduce your side effects, check with your doctor to make sure fish oil is the cause of your symptoms and not drug interactions or unrelated conditions. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, time-release fish oil preparations may help to reduce your side effects. You can achieve this by freezing fish oil capsules to slow the release. Alternatively, Medline Plus advises to take fish oil supplements with meals.

Warnings warns serious side effects might occur if you experience an allergic reaction to fish oil. Reactions might include hives; swelling of your face, throat, lips and tongue; and breathing troubles. If this happens, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Stomach pain might also occur if you have an allergy to fish oil. Other allergy symptoms include body pain, flu-like symptoms, irregular heartbeat, chills and chest pain.


An intake of about 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day is generally regarded as safe. Serious side effects are rare, but due to the potential of them occurring, only use fish oil supplements under the care of a doctor.

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