Fish Oil Interactions Overview

Check For Interactions With Fish Oil

Fish Oil

Fish Oil Fish oil is a dietary supplement derived from fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and anchovies. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids are crucial for various bodily functions, including brain health, heart health, and reducing inflammation. Fish oil is often consumed to support cardiovascular health, lower blood triglyceride levels, and potentially alleviate symptoms of certain inflammatory conditions. It is available in various forms, such as capsules, liquid, and as an ingredient in fortified foods.
There are 321 drugs known to interact with Fish Oil

Additional Details

Is Fish Oil Safe? Are There Any Warnings?

Fish oil is generally considered safe when taken orally in appropriate doses. Most people can safely consume up to 3 grams of fish oil per day. However, caution should be exercised with higher doses, as they may suppress the immune response. High doses, above 3 grams per day, should only be taken under medical supervision to monitor for potential risks such as bleeding and immune suppression.

Potentially unsafe consumption occurs when fish oil from dietary sources is consumed in large amounts, especially from fatty fish prone to toxins like mercury and PCBs. Certain fish species should be limited due to their potential toxin content.

For specific groups such as children, pregnant or lactating individuals, and those with certain medical conditions, caution should be taken to ensure safe consumption of fish oil. It's important to consult a healthcare professional before considering fish oil supplements, especially at higher doses.

How Does Fish Oil Work? What Is the Mechanism of Action?

Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids play crucial roles in various bodily functions, particularly in reducing inflammation and improving heart health.

EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to several chronic conditions. They can also affect blood clotting, potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes.

Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are essential components of cell membranes and contribute to brain health and development. They may also support mood regulation and cognitive function.


Fish oil, whether obtained from dietary sources or supplements, is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. The body metabolizes omega-3 fatty acids, incorporating them into cell membranes throughout the body. The liver further processes these fatty acids, leading to their various effects on the body.

It's important to note that the absorption and metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids can vary depending on factors such as individual differences, dietary habits, and overall health.

Interaction Overview

Fish oil supplements may interact with certain medications or conditions. It's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before using fish oil supplements, especially if you are taking medications for blood thinning or have a bleeding disorder.

Additionally, individuals with allergies to fish or seafood should exercise caution and consult a healthcare professional before using fish oil supplements.

Common Side Effects to Watch For

Common side effects of fish oil supplements may include abdominal pain, bad breath, fishy aftertaste, heartburn, increased LDL cholesterol levels, loose stools, nausea, and rash. However, serious adverse effects are rare and may include atrial fibrillation and, in rare cases, an increased risk of bleeding and stroke when taken in high doses.

What Is Fish Oil Typically Used For?

Fish oil is commonly used to support heart health by reducing triglyceride levels in individuals with hypertriglyceridemia. It may also be used in preventing restenosis after angioplasty and managing symptoms in various conditions like heart failure, HIV/AIDS-related dyslipidemia, hypertension, and more. However, its effectiveness for certain uses is still being studied.

Difference between EPA and DHA

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two essential omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, each with distinct structures and roles in the human body.

  1. Chemical Structure:
    • EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid): EPA is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid with 20 carbons and 5 double bonds. Its first double bond is located at the third carbon from the omega end (n-3), hence classified as an omega-3 fatty acid.
    • DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid): DHA is also a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid with 22 carbons and 6 double bonds. Like EPA, its first double bond is located at the third carbon from the omega end (n-3).
  2. Sources:

    Both EPA and DHA are primarily obtained from marine sources like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.) and certain algae. Fish consume algae, accumulating these omega-3 fatty acids in their tissues.

  3. Metabolic Conversion:
    • EPA can be converted to DHA in the body through a series of enzymatic reactions, but the conversion is relatively inefficient. As a result, it's more beneficial to obtain DHA directly from the diet.
    • DHA, once absorbed, remains relatively stable and is used by various tissues and organs.
  4. Biological Functions:
    • EPA:
      • EPA is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It plays a crucial role in reducing inflammation in the body, which is important for managing various inflammatory conditions like arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and other inflammatory disorders.
      • It competes with arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) in the production of eicosanoids, leading to the production of less inflammatory compounds.
    • DHA:
      • DHA is a major structural component of cell membranes, especially in the brain and retina. It's critical for brain development and function, particularly during pregnancy and early childhood.
      • DHA is essential for proper vision, cognitive function, and nervous system health.
  5. Health Benefits:
    • EPA:
      • Supports cardiovascular health by reducing triglyceride levels, improving heart function, and reducing the risk of arrhythmias.
      • Demonstrates potential in managing depression and other mood disorders.
    • DHA:
      • Essential for brain health and cognitive function, especially in infants, during pregnancy, and in the elderly.
      • Supports visual development and maintenance.

Drugs that interact with Fish Oil

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Parts of this content are provided by the Therapeutic Research Center, LLC.

DISCLAIMER: Currently this does not check for drug-drug interactions. This is not an all-inclusive comprehensive list of potential interactions and is for informational purposes only. Not all interactions are known or well-reported in the scientific literature, and new interactions are continually being reported. Input is needed from a qualified healthcare provider including a pharmacist before starting any therapy. Application of clinical judgment is necessary.

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