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Why Does Fish Oil Make You Burp?

author image Frank Yemi
Frank Yemi has been a professional writer since 2007, and has contributed to several health and fitness magazines. He has worked as a medical fact checker and sports nutritionist in the United Kingdom. Yemi holds a Bachelor of Science in medical physiology, as well as a Master of Science in applied sports nutrition.
Why Does Fish Oil Make You Burp?
Fish oil may help lower triglyceride levels. Photo Credit: LeventKonuk/iStock/Getty Images

While fish oil is good for your heart and brain, supplementation can take some getting used to. Fish oil comes from cold-water fish, such as salmon and cod. Omega-3 fatty acids, which take the form of eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, are responsible for fish oil’s health benefits. Fishy burps and gastrointestinal issues are mild, yet common side effects of taking fish oil. Some adjustments to the way you take it may help you get rid of fishy burps.

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Burping From Fish Oil

Fish oil can cause burping, as well as gas, diarrhea and bloating, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The body creates excess gas when it attempts to break down food, causing frequent burps or flatulence to relieve the gas. Fish oil can be difficult to digest, which is why some people burp frequently after ingesting it. You are more likely to experience these symptoms if you are new to taking fish oil supplements or when you take a large dose.

Preventing Belching and Gas

The University of Maryland Medical Center advises that time-release fish oil supplements may alleviate the side effects, which includes burping. You can replicate the time-release effect by leaving the fish oil supplement in the freezer overnight to slow down its release in the stomach. Otherwise, you can buy a fish oil supplement with enteric coating, which prevents fish oil from being released in the stomach, according to Beaumont Health System. This should help prevent fishy burps and other side effects from occurring. Another strategy that may alleviate burping is to take fish oil supplements with meals or in smaller doses throughout the day.

Fish Oil in Your Diet

It’s best to get your fish oil from dietary sources, such as wild-caught salmon, sardines and mackerel. Eating oily fish twice a week should provide heart-healthy benefits. If you want to take fish oil supplements, consult a doctor to determine what dosage of fish oil is appropriate for you based on your health. Fish oil supplements may interact with a number of medications including blood thinners and diabetes medications, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Selecting Fish Oil

Look for fish oil that contains high amounts of both EPA and DHA compared to the total milligrams of fish oil. Many brands also list "other" omega-3s on the label. It’s ideal to purchase a reputable brand of fish oil, one with the USP label, according the Virginian University Health Care System. Search out molecularly distilled fish oil, which helps ensure the purity is high and contaminants have been removed, suggest nutritionist Chris Kresser.

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