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Pros & Cons of Fish Oil Supplements

author image Kevin Rail
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Pros & Cons of Fish Oil Supplements
Pros & Cons of Fish Oil Supplements Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Fish oil is extracted from cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and cod. It contains a blend of omega-3 fatty acids that are made up of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fats are substances that the body cannot produce on its own, yet they are vital for our existence. Although fish oil supplements come with benefits, they have risks.

Blood Presure

High blood pressure is known medically as hypertension. An ideal blood pressure reading is 120/80; if your blood pressure is 140/90 or above, it's considered high. Fish oil supplements have been known to help reduce blood pressure. But if you choose to use them, consult your physician first for proper dosage.


Triglycerides are stored in fat cells in the body. They are released and used for energy during the times that you aren't eating. When they become elevated, your risk for coronary artery disease raises. Fish oil supplements can help lower your triglyceride levels.

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Cholesterol is a fatty substance that flows through the blood and is naturally produced in the liver. When your levels of cholesterol become elevated, plaque can develop inside the walls of your arteries and raise your risk for suffering a stroke or heart attack. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, fish oil supplements containing eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid have been reported in several large clinical studies to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is your bad cholesterol and the kind you want to keep low.


People who suffer from food allergies have a bad reaction when they either eat something or are exposed to it. If you have an allergy to fish and you take the supplements, you can break out into a rash.


Vitamins A, E and D are all fat-soluble vitamins--meaning they get stored in the fat cells of the body. Fish oil supplements are often enriched with these vitamins. Due to the fact that they build up in the body, long-term use can lead to toxicity.


Prescription drugs are used to treat symptoms of an underlying condition. Blood thinners are used to prevent clogging of blood vessels. When fish oil supplements are taken in high doses, they can increase your risk of bleeding. Examples of these drugs include heparin and warfarin. Other drugs that can cause an interaction include naproxen, ibuprofen and clopidogrel.

Intestinal Problems

When you take fish oil supplements, there's a chance you can also suffer some physical symptoms. According to the National Institutes of Health, gastrointestinal upset is common with the use of fish oil supplements. Examples of symptoms you might experience include diarrhea, acid reflux, burping, abdominal pain, heartburn, indigestion and bloating.

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