Some people are concerned about a fish oil overdose, and fish oil side effects.

Can you have a fish oil overdose? Now that’s an interesting question. When we were asked can you overdose on fish oil pills we decided to write about the risks of an Omega 3 overdose.

The first thing to say is yes, you can overdose on fish oil if you’re getting your oil from eating a lot of fish. It is now well recognized, including by the FDA, that fish are contaminated with toxins like PCBs, mercury, dioxin and chlordane. And for this reason they have a warning on their website about eating too much fish, especially top of the food chain fish.

But otherwise we aren’t aware of any fish oil overdose symptoms from eating a lot of fish. Remember, eating fish is healthy, and ignoring the problems with toxic contamination, eating a lot of fish is good for you.

Most of the studies of the benefits of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids started with studies of populations of people who eat a lot of fish. A whole lot of fish. People like the Eskimos who eat fish daily, for example. And the studies found all sorts of health benefits from eating a lot of fish due to their intake of those healthy Omega 3 fats like DHA and EPA.

We haven’t seen any evidence that the Eskimos overdosed on fish and had negative health side effects.

But the question was about fish oil tablets and supplements, not eating fish.

Again we return to toxic contamination. Fish oil supplements can be contaminated with toxins. Most are pretty good, the best are excellent, but there are issues with contamination depending on where the fish oil, or the fish it comes from are sourced, how the oil is treated to remove the toxins and even whether the oil is treated at all.
Fish Oil Overdose

When buying fish oil supplements these are the things you need to find out. The best fish oil supplements¬†don’t have any detectable levels of contamination at all.

So, can you have an Omega 3 overdose and if so what are the symptoms? Well the risks of an Omega 3 overdose are slight, but like all things you need to have an understanding of what the fish oil dosage recommendations are and follow them. We have written about the right fish oil dosage on our site already, read that article if you’re in doubt about how many capsules to take.

There are always those people who believe that if some is good for you more must be better. So if 2 capsules a day (of quality capsules,¬†more for “ordinary” capsules) is good for your heart then 20 capsules a day must be REALLY good for your heart.

We always recommend that, even though Omega 3 supplements are really good for so many aspects of your health, always follow the dosage recommendations. Don’t take more than recommended.

The best fish oil supplements clearly state the dosage, 2 capsules a day. Stick to that, (we do).

At best you may find that taking more than recommended is wasting money, at worst there may be an overdose effect.

But in reality there is only a small risk of a serious fish oil overdose. Unless you’re taking huge amounts you ought to be ok. You may have an upset stomach, but probably not a lot worse than that. Perhaps some fishy reflux with inferior quality supplements or a fishy after taste.

HOWEVER. For those with a preexisting medical condition we also always recommend that you check with your doctor before starting supplements of any kind. If you have a preexisting medical condition there MAY be some possible fish oil overdose effect specific to that condition.

For example one of the major benefits of taking Omega 3 fatty acids is their ability to thin the blood. This is good and is part of the reason why taking supplements improves your heart health and reduces your risk of stroke.

But for some people with pre exising medical conditions there can be some risk of bleeding from thinning of the blood, so they should consult a doctor before starting on any Omega 3 capsules, or any other supplements for that matter.

And even for those with no pre existing conditions, taking huge doses may result in bleeding from blood thinning.

ALWAYS follow the recommendations of your doctor on dosage, or if you have no pre existing problems, follow the recommended dosage on the label.

The reality is that fish oil supplements are inherently safe, disregarding the problems of contamination. Fish oil is a natural product that is taken from fish, and you shouldn’t have an overdose from eating too much fish.

A word of warning though.

Here we are talking about an overdose of fish oil from normal fish oil supplements. You CAN get an overdose if you take too much cod liver oil. Normally Cod Liver Oil isn’t found in Omega 3 supplements, but there are still some people who take it believing it to be good for them.

There are some Omega 3 fats in Cod Liver Oil and many still believe what their grandmother told them, that Cod Liver Oil is good for you.

But as the oil is sourced from the liver of the fish, not the flesh, it is very high in vitamins A and D, and you can overdose on those vitamins. Don’t take high doses of Cod Liver Oil unless you have solid professional advise that you ought to do so.

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