Fish Oil – Health Benefits, Side Effects & Supplements

Sumita Thomas

September 19, 2022

Remember that golden-yellow capsule with a fishy smell that was an integral part of our childhood? Well, that was nothing but a fish oil supplement. Fish oil is essential for a sharp brain and a healthy body. 

It is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Our body needs omega-3 fatty acids to perform vital functions, such as cell growth and muscle activity. So even WHO recommends fish oil as an essential dietary supplement for maintaining a healthy body.

Since our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids, it is all the more essential to include them in our daily diet in the form of fish oil or fish oil supplements. In addition, fatty fish like Rohu, Rani, Surmai, Salmon, Mackerel, and Sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the proper growth and development of the body. Therefore, a diet deficient in omega-3 fatty acids can cause severe health risks. For example, it can lead to cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, mental disorders, and even some cancers.

Fish oil is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids and has a variety of other health benefits as well. This article will guide you through all the information regarding fish oil, its uses, side effects, and so on. 

What is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is the oil we derive from the tissues of oily or fatty fish, such as Surmai, Rawas, Rohu, Rani, Tuna, Herring. The oil content in fish varies from 0.7% – 15.5% depending on their species. 

Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids have various health benefits and are essential for the proper functioning of the brain, heart, and other vital organs in the body. 

What are Fish Oil Supplements?

There is nothing better than eating fish directly to extract all its health benefits. However, suppose you are a vegetarian or simply do not like eating fish. In that case, fish oil supplements are a more convenient option to fulfil your omega-3s requirement.  

Millions of people across the world take fish oil supplements as a part of their daily diet. Fish supplements are readily available in the market, and you can buy them over the counter from any pharmacy. However, if you are a heart patient or have any other major illness, consult your doctor before purchasing any over-the-counter fish supplements.

Fish oil supplements come in pill, liquid, or capsule form. Many people prefer fish oil supplements to fish, as contamination is much less in the supplements due to the purification process. In addition, fish oil supplements contain the same amount of EPA and DHA, the two omega-3 fatty acids, as natural fish oil.

11 Health Benefits of Fish Oil

Fish oil has an immense amount of health benefits for your whole body. Some of the fantastic health benefits of fish oil are:

1. Good for Heart Health 

Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are great for your heart health. They help in lowering the levels of triglycerides, thus reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you suffer from irregular heartbeats, include fish oil in your diet to regulate them and maintain good heart health. Fish oil can also help prevent sudden cardiac arrest and heart blockages.

2. Fish oil helps Prevent Cancer 

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil ensure the proper functioning of cells and prevent them from mutating into cancerous tumours. The minerals and vitamins present in fish oil restrain unwanted cell growth and help prevent cancer. 

3. Improves Skin and Hair 

People who regularly eat fish have beautiful skin and healthy hair because of fish’s rich omega-3 fatty acids content. Omega-3 acids boost collagen production in our body and prevent early skin ageing, fine lines, wrinkles, etc. It also helps to retain the natural moisture of the skin and keeps our skin hydrated.

4. Fish oil improves Eye Health 

Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil help to maintain our eye health. It nourishes our eyes and prevents macular degeneration. Include fish oil in your diet to keep your vision strong throughout your life.

5. Controls Cholesterol 

Fish oil is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties. The Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil help prevent the inflammation of our fat cells. In addition, fish oil can prevent Type-II diabetes by causing insulin resistance in the body.

6. Helps Improve Mood 

Our brain secretes chemical serotonin that controls our mood and cognition. Fish oil helps maintain the release of serotonin in the brain, which results in a good mood and overall happiness. Take fish oil regularly to stay happy and improve your brain health.

7. Helps Reduce High Blood Pressure 

The Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) present in omega3 fatty acids help expand the blood vessels, resulting in the blood flowing smoothly without any obstruction and brings the blood pressure down. 

8. Healthy and Strong Bones 

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help improve bone density and prevent weak bones. The fatty acids also maintain the minerals in the bone and their adjacent tissues and improve overall bone health.

9. Aids Healthy Pregnancy 

The DHA present in fish oil is essential during pregnancy for the proper growth and development of the baby’s eyes and brain. DHA is the major component of our skin, brain, and retina. Therefore, it is crucial for the proper growth of the baby in the womb.

10. Anti-Inflammatory Properties 

Omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent inflammation in our blood and tissues. Regular consumption of fish oil can help treat gastrointestinal issues, inflammatory diseases, short bowel syndrome, etc.

11. Boosts Mood 

Fish oil is a mood booster and helps to stabilize our mood. It also helps prevent depression, anxiety, fatigue, stress, and mood swings. In addition, regular consumption of fish oil can make you feel calm and joyful.

Side Effects of Fish Oil

The maximum and the safest amount to take fish oil or fish oil supplements is 3 grams or fewer per day. More than this can lead to several side effects, such as:

  • Heartburn
  • Loose stools
  • Nosebleeds
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bad breath
  • Fishy aftertaste
  • Rashes
  • Stroke
  • Acid reflux


Fish oil is a rich and the best source of omega-3 fatty acids that have innumerable health benefits. But, on the other hand, their deficiency can lead to various health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, mood disorders, and cancer. However, this does not mean that higher doses or too much consumption of fish oil can cure all your health woes.

Excess of anything is bad for your health. Fish oil can also cause blood thinning, leading to severe bleeding if you consume too much. Also, combine fish oil with other blood thinners like aspirin, vitamin E supplements, garlic, ginger, ginseng, turmeric, and ginkgo. Fish oil can also react with your daily medicines. Therefore, consult your doctor before consuming fish oil or its supplements.

You do not need any fish oil supplements if you eat fatty fish at least a few times a week. The natural fish oil is more than enough to maintain your overall health. However, consuming too much fish can have side effects, as contamination with mercury and other chemicals is quite common. If you are a vegetarian, you can fulfil your quota of omega-3 fatty acids by including flaxseeds, walnuts, kidney beans, soya beans, chia seeds, etc.

Fish oil can enhance your overall health and protect you from various infections by boosting your immunity. However, always keep the daily dosage and the side effects of fish oil in mind before consuming it regularly. Remember, precaution is better than cure!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can fish oil lead to weight gain?

A. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil can help you lose weight. However, too much consumption of fish oil can also lead to excessive weight gain due to the fat and high-calorie content present in it.

Q. Is consuming fish oil daily bad for your liver?

A. Though fish oil has excellent health benefits, too much fish oil can lead to a fatty liver. So consume it with precaution.

Q. Can fish oil help reduce belly fat?

A. Fish oil helps build muscle mass in the body and burns extra fat. Regular consumption of fish oil per dosage can help you lose weight and burn belly fat.

Q. What is the best time to take a fish oil supplement?

A. There is no particular time to take fish oil supplements, and you can take them any time of the day according to your convenience. However, dividing your supplement into smaller doses in the morning and evening can help prevent acid reflux problems.

Q. Does fish oil supplement promote hair growth?

A. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish are great for your skin and hair. Regular consumption of fish oil can increase your hair growth and make your hair healthy, strong, and lustrous.

About the Author

For Sumita Thomas, good nutrition advice is less about what NOT to eat and all about HOW to eat. Armed with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from IGNOU, Sumita has worked with multi-specialty clinics and corporate clients, planning calorie-specific menus for their cafeterias. She’s also a certified diabetes educator, has worked in cardiac nutrition and is even a TUV-certified internal auditor for food safety management systems. Maybe that’s why she ensures her advice is always scientifically sound, which makes her a perfect fit for us at HealthifyMe. Of the belief that a healthy lifestyle can be achieved with the combination of a healthy mind, body and diet, Sumita recommends setting realistic goals – one health target a day – and gradually incorporating healthy ingredients to your daily diet. Does she practice what she preaches? For sure, and ensures all those around her do too. So get set, because that now includes you!

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