The 6 Side Effects of Too Much Omega-3 

In the 1970s, diet experts in the United States claimed that fats were causing high rates of heart disease at the time. Because of this, everyone started avoiding all kinds of fats in their diet to try to prevent heart disease. However, at the same time, research on Eskimos, who have diets that are rich in omega-3, revealed that this type of fatty acid can be really beneficial for your health. 

Due to this research along with an abundance of newer research showing the positive health effects of omega-3, some people have gone above and beyond the recommended daily amount of omega-3. Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing, and today we are here to tell you six of the side effects of too much omega 3. It’s important to know how much omega-3 to take and what could happen if you take too much. 

Low Blood Pressure 

Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to b effective in lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This side effect might be a positive effect for individuals struggling with high blood pressure, but if you are already prone to lower blood pressure, then too much fish oil could be dangerous to your health. Additionally, fish oils might produce negative interaction effects with blood pressure medications, so if you are on any medications for blood pressure, make sure to check with your local healthcare provider before taking omega-3 supplements.  

Acid Reflux 

Acid reflux and heartburn are common side effects of taking too much omega-3. While this fatty acid typically has a very positive effect on heart health, too much can trigger uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms, such as nausea and excessive belching. This is because of the high fat content found in omega-3. Fat has been associated with indigestion in several studies. Avoiding this side effect is as easy as taking the recommended dose of omega-3 instead of ingesting too much per day. You could also break up your omega-3 doses into smaller doses throughout the day. 

High Blood Sugar 

High doses of omega-3 can cause an increase in your body’s production of glucose, leading to high blood sugar. This is especially dangerous for people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Research has found that in people with type 2 diabetes, too much omega-3 across a span of eight weeks contributed to a 22% increase in blood sugar levels, a potentially fatal blood sugar increase in type 2 diabetics. Furthermore, too much omega-3 might also be associated with an increase in LDL-cholesterol levels, which can clog your arteries and lead to stroke or heart failure. These scary side effects can be easily avoided by monitoring your omega-3 intake. 

Diarrhea

A less extreme but just as undesirable side effect of too much omega-3 is diarrhea. This is one of the most common side effects of taking high doses of fish oil. Diarrhea can also be triggered by other types of omega-3 supplements, such as flaxseed oil, a vegan-friendly omega-3 supplement. Research on flaxseed oil shows that this supplement can act as a laxative and increase bowel movements. Lowering your omega-3 dosage can help avoid this adverse side effect. 

Bleeding 

Nosebleeds and bleeding gums are two commonly experienced adverse side effects of taking an excessive amount of omega-3. Research has found that adults taking too much omega-3 over a four-week period experienced less blood clotting than the average healthy adult. This seemingly insignificant side effect can have a huge impact at certain times, especially before surgery. If you take omega-3 supplements and are scheduled to have surgery soon, check with your doctor to make sure you are not taking too much omega-3, as bleeding complications could arise during surgery if your body is not demonstrating proper blood clotting due to too much omega-3. 

Vitamin A Toxicity 

Many omega-3 supplements also have a lot of vitamin A, which can have further adverse side effects if taken in excess. Common side effects associated with too much vitamin A include dizziness, sensitive skin, nausea, and pain in the joints. If vitamin A toxicity is a long-term problem, it could potentially harm your liver permanently and even contribute to liver failure, although that is a rarer occurrence. Reducing the amount of omega-3 supplements you take to the recommended daily dosage can help protect your body against vitamin A toxicity. 

Clearly, there are numerous negative side effects of too much omega-3. We have only covered several today, but there are potentially more adverse side effects as well. Too much omega-3 can contribute to low blood pressure, acid reflux, high blood sugar, diarrhea, bleeding, and vitamin A toxicity. If you are taking an omega-3 supplement, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider to ensure that you are not taking too much. By simply checking that you take the appropriate daily dosage, you can save your body from a lot of harm.  

Resources: 

Elevated Plasma Glucose and Lowered Triglyceride Levels From Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in Type II Diabetes

Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Platelet Function in Healthy Subjects and Subjects With Cardiovascular Disease

8 Little-Known Side Effects of Too Much Fish Oil

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