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Can I Take a Fish Oil Capsule With Milk?

by
author image Solomon Branch
Solomon Branch specializes in nutrition, health, acupuncture, herbal medicine and integrative medicine. He has a B.A. in English from George Mason University, as well as a master's degree in traditional Chinese medicine.
Can I Take a Fish Oil Capsule With Milk?
Fish oil capsules Photo Credit Hunterann/iStock/Getty Images

Fish oil capsules come in a variety of forms; some are more palatable than others. Drinking milk is one possible way to mask the taste and reduce the fishy aftertaste. No evidence available suggests that taking fish oil with milk is harmful, but it might cause digestive issues, particularly if you have a sensitivity to the lactose found in milk. If you want to take a fish oil supplement, consult your doctor first.

Fish Oil

The primary benefit of taking fish oil derives from the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids it contains. Omega-3s are not made by the body and can only be obtained from food. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, research has shown that when properly administered, omega-3s can help reduce inflammation, which is helpful in maintaining heart health and possibly reducing the risk of some chronic diseases. A wide variety of fish oil supplements are manufactured -- some of them healthier than others in terms of purity and total omega-3 content.

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Possible Reactions with Milk

Taking fish oil can cause digestive problems, according to the UMMC. Depending on your particular digestive system, symptoms could be reduced or enhanced by taking fish oil with milk. In addition, if you suffer from an inability to digest lactose -- a sugar found in milk -- this could further add to digestive discomfort, including symptoms of abdominal bloating, gas and diarrhea. Otherwise, unless you have a specific problem with either fish oil or milk, such as an allergy, taking the two together is not known to be harmful.

Recommendations

Take fish oil with food to help in the digestive process and to reduce any fishy aftertaste. If you have digestive problems when taking fish oil by itself, buying a fish oil that is higher in EPA and DHA -- the types of omega-3s found in fish oils -- can help. These types of fish oils are purer than standard fish oils, which may contain more contaminants, leading to digestive issues and a bad aftertaste. UMMC suggests taking a time-release fish oil capsule, as that may be easier on the digestive system.

Considerations

The FDA considers taking 3 grams or less of fish oil per day as generally safe, but you should consult your doctor before taking fish oil supplements, particularly if you are taking them for a specific problem or are taking other medication. If you take fish oil with milk and notice any reactions, including digestive problems or allergic-type reactions, don't take either again until you can see a doctor. A doctor can test for allergies or see if you have any other health issues that might be causing the problem.

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