Fish oil is a natural anticoagulant, which means it can prevent the blood from clotting. This property may help explain some of its heart health benefits, since thinning the blood may improve cardiovascular health. Omega-3s may increase bleeding risk when a person takes them with specific anticoagulant or medication.
Does fish oil thin your blood? Not likely. Of course, if you have personalized bleeding considerations or take blood-thinning medications, you should always talk to your doctor about any supplements you decide to take, including omega-3 fish oil supplements.
When taken by mouth: Fish oil is likely safe for most people in doses of 3 grams or less daily. Taking more than 3 grams daily might increase the chance of bleeding. Fish oil side effects include heartburn, loose stools, and nosebleeds. Taking fish oil supplements with meals or freezing them can reduce these issues.
Taking high doses of fish oil supplements might increase the risk of bleeding and possibly increase the risk of stroke.
Since the early days of researching omega-3s, it was been well known within the scientific and medical communities that people need to be aware of their blood-thinning power. Think of omega-3s as nature's blood thinner, a kind of “Goldilocks factor” that lets the blood clot when it should but not when it should not.
New research finds that taking omega-3 supplements is associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation in people with a high risk of, or existing, heart disease.
Although fish oil is known for its powerful effects on heart health, many people report feeling heartburn after starting to take fish oil supplements. Other acid reflux symptoms — including belching, nausea and stomach discomfort — are common side effects of fish oil due largely to its high fat content.
Expert Analysis. All individuals should aim to consume approximately 2 servings of fatty fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. Routine use of non-prescription fish oil is not recommended for primary or secondary prevention of CVD.
Because most of the benefits of fish oil are associated with long-term use, you can take it at any time of day. That said, splitting your supplement into two smaller doses in the morning and at night can reduce acid reflux.
A standard 1000 mg fish oil softgel provides around 300 mg of Omega-3s, and to meet the 500 mg EPA and DHA recommendation, a minimum of two softgels would be necessary.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend adults take between 500–1,000 milligrams of omega-3 per day. However, other countries and organizations recommend different doses. The amount of ALA in omega-3 supplements can depend on the type of supplement and the manufacturer.
Generally, up to 3,000 mg of fish oil daily is considered safe for adults to consume ( 14 ).
Magnesium might slow blood clotting. Taking magnesium along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Based on both studies, authors do not recommend fish oil or low-dose aspirin for heart disease prevention in healthy, diabetic adults. Although fish oil supplements carry little to no risks, aspirin actually could increase risk of serious complications in otherwise healthy individuals.
“All fish oil capsules can cause trouble with clotting.” Upon ingestion, the fatty acids present in the fish oils are transformed into substances, known as prostaglandins, which affect the body's ability to clot, both from internal and external injuries, Gerhardt said.
Although there are popular myths that taking fish oil lowers your cholesterol, it does not. It will lower your triglycerides, may modestly raise your HDL (which is a benefit), but can actually raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which is not a benefit.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower triglyceride levels and break up other fats within your body. This can result in lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of other cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack or stroke.
There is no evidence that fish oil is good for lowering high cholesterol levels. In fact, some studies show that fish oil can elevate low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. This finding comes from a review in Pharmacy and Therapeutics .
Fatty fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a major building block of the brain. Omega-3s play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against cognitive decline.
Fish oil supplements are a popular alternative for those looking to relieve joint pain. It is made up of omega-3 fatty acids which contain anti-inflammatory properties. These fatty acids play a role in providing pain relief to many of your body's joints.
The answer to your question about whether you can skip fish-oil supplements depends greatly on your willingness to eat a sufficient amount of fish each week, along with your health status and disease risk.
Vitamin E is a natural blood thinner because of its anticoagulant effects. Studies support that vitamin E has anti-clotting activity and works as a potent blood thinner. Supplementing with vitamin E and consuming vitamin E foods can help prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
Commonly prescribed brands of blood thinners include:
Coumadin (warfarin) Effient (prasugrel) Eliquis (apixaban)