Fish oil capsules help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and decrease inflammation, which can help with muscle soreness. It's a relatively benign supplement that has very few side effects. There are no known negative side effects for your bladder or urinary tract from taking fish oil, and it can actually help with a few problems.
Fish Oil Helps
Your kidneys, bladder and urinary tract are involved in the production and excretion of urine. They're all susceptible to problems that range from slightly uncomfortable to life-threatening. Fish oil, while not a miracle supplement, can help certain problems in each organ.
Decreases Risk of Tumors
A urinary tract tumor is most likely to develop in the bladder, since that's where urine is stored. Unfortunately, it's a relatively common form of cancer, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care.
Since urine is stored in the bladder, carcinogenic chemicals in your urine put you at risk for developing a tumor. Chemicals that inflame your bladder are problematic, but fish oil can help reduce bladder irritation. A 2013 study published in Nutrition showed that taking omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which are in fish oil capsules, helps decrease inflammation. The researchers concluded that this could decrease the risk of developing a urinary tract tumor.
Read more: Pros & Cons of Fish Oil Supplements
Reduces Kidney Stone Formation
Kidney stones are incredibly painful and often require hospitalization. If your urine is high in minerals like calcium and salts, you're at a higher risk for developing a kidney stone, according to an article from the Urology Care Foundation.
Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stone. They form in the kidney and can break off and then float down into the ureter, which is very painful. Fish oil can help prevent calcium stones from forming, according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Urology.
The researchers found that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, which fish oil contains, lowers the form of calcium that builds up and causes stones. They recommend long-term supplementation to help prevent stones from forming.
Reduces Oxidative Damage to Kidneys
Some of the chemical reactions in your body release free oxygen molecules, which float around your body. Alone, oxygen molecules look for something to bond to and are extremely reactive. They're also known as "free radicals."
These free radicals can cause damage to the cells of your body when they find something to bond to. Antioxidants bind to free radicals before they have a chance to damage cells. Your body produces antioxidants, but fish oil supplements are also very effective at dealing with free radicals and preventing damage.
According to an article from Examine.com, supplementing with fish oil reduces a chemical in urine that scientists use to determine oxidative stress. That means fish oil works in your kidneys and urinary tract to reduce inflammation.
A 2010 study published in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids showed that a fish oil supplement reversed the damage done by a radioactive compound, uranyl nitrate, in rat kidneys. The researchers credit the antioxidant power of fish oil. It's possible that using a fish oil supplement can protect your kidneys from other toxins that contribute to kidney disease or cancer.
Fish Oil Side Effects
If you're taking a fish oil supplement, you should know the potential side effects. While none affect the urinary tract, there are some potential problems. Taking over 2,000 milligrams of fish oil per day can suppress the immune system in the long-term, according to an article from Consumer Lab. It may also thin blood and lower blood pressure.
- Nutrition: Crosstalk Among Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Urolithiasis, Chronic Inflammation, and Urinary Tract Tumor Risk
- Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care: Urinary Tract Cancers: An Overview for General Practice
- Urology Care Foundation: What Are Kidney Stones?
- The Journal of Urology: Effect of n-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Urinary Risk Factors for Calcium Oxalate Stone Formation
- Consumer Lab: Is it Safe to Consume Fish Oil as a Long-Term Food Supplement?