If you’ve ever taken fish oil supplements, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve experienced that unpleasant aftertaste and burping sensation. This is one of the most common side effects of taking fish oil, and it can be extremely frustrating.
Before giving up on this supplement altogether, it’s important to understand why it causes such an uncomfortable reaction and how you can avoid it.
“Fish oil has gained popularity as a top-notch source of omega-3s for cardiovascular, inflammatory joint and brain health.”
Fish oil has gained popularity as a top-notch source of omega-3s for cardiovascular, inflammatory joint and brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their numerous health benefits and they play a critical role in inflammation reduction. Fish oil is made from oily fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies and extracted from their tissues. Although it contains many nutrients your body needs, it also contains compounds called free fatty acids that are responsible for producing those unwanted burps.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what causes this reaction, how frequently it happens, and provide you with some tips to minimize or eliminate those pesky burps so that you can continue enjoying the many health benefits of fish oil without any unpleasant side effects.
The Science Behind Fish Oil Burps
What Causes Fish Oil to Cause Burps?
One of the key benefits of taking fish oil is its high content of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory and heart health promoting properties. However, many people who take a fish oil supplement may also experience unpleasant side effects such as burping, bloating and indigestion.
The main culprit behind fish oil burps is believed to be the presence of free fatty acids and excessive levels of oxidation in the supplement. As our stomach breaks down these compounds found in fish oil, it can lead to the release of gas, causing belching and other digestive discomforts. This effect can be especially pronounced if you consume lower quality or rancid fish oil supplements.
The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Your Health
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that our body needs but cannot produce on its own. They play crucial roles in brain function, cell growth, reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that consuming adequate amounts of omega-3s can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, and even improve mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
Fish, particularly oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel, are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Besides seafood, plant-based foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts also contain ALA, a type of omega-3 fat that our body can convert into EPA and DHA, the primary types of omega-3s found in fish oil.
Tips to Reduce Fish Oil Burps
Although fish oil burps can be an unpleasant side effect of taking a supplement, there are ways you can minimize them. Below are some tips to help reduce fish oil burps:
- Eat something before taking the supplement: Taking fish oil on an empty stomach can increase the likelihood of burping and indigestion. Try consuming it with a meal that has healthy fats like avocado or nuts.
- Store your supplement properly: Fish oil is vulnerable to oxidation, especially when exposed to heat and light. Make sure to store your supplements in a cool and dark place to prevent rancidity.
- Choose a high-quality supplement: To avoid consuming fish oil that has gone bad, make sure to choose a trusted brand that uses only fresh and pure ingredients.
- Try enteric-coated capsules: These capsules have a special coating that helps protect the fish oil from getting broken down until it reaches the intestines, which reduces the chances of experiencing fishy burps and reflux.
“Consumers should always ensure that they obtain fish oils from reputable sources that guarantee freshness and purity.” – Dr Ingrid van Heerden, Biochemist
By following these tips and choosing a quality fish oil supplement, you can maximize its benefits while minimizing any unwanted side effects, including fish oil burps. Remember, if you experience persistent digestive discomforts after taking a supplement, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.
Common Causes of Fish Oil Burps
Low-Quality Fish Oil Supplements
If you are experiencing fish oil burps, you may want to check the quality of your supplements. Low-quality fish oil supplements can cause digestive issues and unpleasant aftertaste.
According to a study conducted by ConsumerLab.com, it was found that many fish oil supplements in the market did not contain enough EPA and DHA, which are essential omega-3 fatty acids for optimal health benefits. The study also found that some products were contaminated with pollutants such as lead and mercury, increasing the risk of negative side effects.
“Not all fish oil supplements are created equal, so it’s important to choose a reputable brand with third-party testing to ensure purity and potency,” advises Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a biomedical scientist and expert on nutrition, aging, and brain injury research.
Large Doses of Fish Oil
If you’re taking large doses of fish oil, it could be one of the reasons why you’re experiencing fish oil burps. It is always best to follow the recommended dosage on the label or seek advice from a healthcare provider to determine what dosage would work best for you.
A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that high doses of fish oil supplements (more than three grams per day) could increase the risk of gastrointestinal symptoms like belching, flatulence, diarrhea, and nausea.
“Taking too much fish oil can cause gastrointestinal disturbances. The maximum daily dose should not exceed 3000 mg unless under medical supervision,” warns registered dietitian nutritionist, Amy Gorin.
Consuming Fish Oil on an Empty Stomach
If you find yourself experiencing fish oil burps, you may want to take note of when and how you consume fish oil supplements. Taking them on an empty stomach can cause digestive distress, including fishy aftertaste and burps.
Dr. Steven Gundry, a renowned cardiac surgeon, suggests that taking fish oil with meals is the best way to avoid gastrointestinal symptoms. He recommends consuming it with foods high in fat or protein, such as avocadoes or nuts, which can enhance absorption.
“Take your fish oil supplement with food to increase absorption and decrease the likelihood of indigestion,” advises Dr. Gundry.In summary, fish oil supplements are generally safe and beneficial for promoting good health. However, some individuals may experience unpleasant side effects like fish oil burps due to low-quality supplements, large doses, or improper consumption. It’s always essential to choose a reputable brand of fish oil supplements, follow recommended dosages, and take them with meals to minimize the risk of negative side effects.
How to Minimize Fish Oil Burps
Refrigerating Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil is a popular source of omega-3 fatty acids that have been clinically proven to promote heart health, brain function, and reduce inflammation in the body. However, one side effect of taking fish oil supplements is experiencing uncomfortable burps, which can leave a fishy aftertaste in your mouth. To minimize this issue, try refrigerating your fish oil supplem ents.
The cold temperature helps slow down the breakage process of the capsules, reducing the chances of belching out fishy smells or tasting them in your mouth. When stored in the refrigerator, the supplement’s oils remain fresh for more extended periods until consumed, decreasing the likelihood of unwanted odor or taste during digestion.
Taking Fish Oil with Meals
If you’re taking fish oil on an empty stomach, you might suffer from fishy burps throughout the day due to the absence of food to aid digestion. Taking it with meals could help mitigate this problem. The meal acts as a buffer for your digestive tract, making it easier to handle the fish oil’s potent smell and taste.
Additionally, taking fish oil supplements with high-fat foods like nuts, avocado, coconut milk, or cheese enhances absorption while preventing belching. Studies have shown that consuming fats at the same time as fish oil supplements showed an 84% increase in omega-3 blood levels, improving overall heart and metabolic health benefits.
Switching to Enteric-Coated Fish Oil Capsules
Enteric-coated fish oil encapsulations contain a special coating designed to resist breakdown by gastric juices and disintegrate when exposed to intestinal fluids only. This formulation allows your body to digest fish oil in the lower intestine without breaking down prematurely, thus reducing the chances of burps or gas.
The coating also eliminates issues like heartburn, reflux, and indigestion associated with regular capsules or liquids. However, it’s important to note that these enteric-coated formulations are pricier than their counterparts. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the extra cost to mitigate any uncomfortable side effects
Alternative Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, with one tablespoon providing almost 1.5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based type of omega-3s. Flaxseed oil is another option for those who do not like the taste or texture of flaxseeds. It can be used in salad dressings or as a cooking oil.
It is important to note that ALA needs to be converted by the body into the more active forms of omega-3s, EPA and DHA, which are found in fish oil. The conversion rate is low, so it may not be enough to provide the same health benefits as consuming fish oil directly.
“There is evidence suggesting that higher intakes of ALA from foods such as flaxseeds are associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Sarah Schlichter.
Similar to flaxseeds, chia seeds also contain high amounts of ALA, approximately 4 grams per ounce. They can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for an extra boost of omega-3s.
Again, it is important to remember that the conversion rate of ALA to EPA and DHA is limited. So while chia seeds are a healthy addition to your diet, they should not be relied upon solely as a source of omega-3s.
“While chia seeds can be beneficial, they do not provide an adequate amount of preformed EPA and DHA unless fortified,” warns registered dietitian Bri Bell.
Walnuts are not only a good source of protein and fiber, but they also contain ALA, with about 2.5 grams per ounce. They make for a great snack or can be added to salad for some crunch.
It is important to note that walnuts, like other plant-based sources of omega-3s, do not provide the active forms of EPA and DHA found in fish oil. However, they are still a healthy addition to any diet due to their other nutritional benefits.
“Consistently eating walnuts has been shown to lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and improve endothelial function,” says registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot.
While fish oil supplements may not always agree with everyone’s stomachs, there are plenty of alternative sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and other plant-based foods into your diet can still provide numerous health benefits without causing uncomfortable side effects.
It is always recommended to speak with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or supplement regimen.
The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Your Health
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that can have numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. These important fats cannot be produced by the body, so it is important to get them through your diet or supplements.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels, decreasing blood pressure, and preventing plaque buildup in arteries. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of oily fish per week or taking an omega-3 supplement if you cannot consume enough through your diet.
A study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health found that people who consumed higher amounts of oily fish had a 35% reduced risk of dying from heart disease compared to those who ate less fish. Additionally, another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that taking omega-3 supplements led to improved arterial function and reduced inflammation markers in middle-aged men.
Improved Brain Function
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain function and development, and may even decrease the risk of developing neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that these fats can improve memory, cognitive performance, and mood.
In a study published in Nutrients, researchers found that healthy adults who took fish oil supplements containing EPA and DHA (two types of omega-3s) for six months showed significant improvement in working memory and speed of processing abilities. Another study conducted on older individuals found that consuming salmon twice a week led to better cognitive performance and decreased rates of mild cognitive impairment.
Reduced Inflammation in the Body
Chronic inflammation in the body can contribute to several health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation by blocking the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines.
In a study published in Clinical Nutrition, individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who took omega-3 supplements for three months experienced decreased joint pain and stiffness compared to those who did not take the supplements. Additionally, another study found that omega-3s may play a role in preventing colon cancer due to their anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
“Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous health benefits on the heart, brain, and overall well-being of an individual.” -Dr. John Mandrola
Incorporating sources of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet or taking supplements can have significant positive impacts on your physical and mental well-being. From reducing the risk of heart disease to improving cognitive abilities and reducing inflammation in the body, these essential fats are vital nutrients for optimal health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do some people experience burping after consuming fish oil supplements?
Some people experience burping after consuming fish oil supplements because the supplements are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which the body breaks down into gases like carbon dioxide. This gas can accumulate in the stomach and cause burping. Additionally, some people may have a sensitivity or intolerance to fish oil, which can also cause burping or other digestive symptoms.
What causes the fishy aftertaste and burping associated with fish oil consumption?
The fishy aftertaste and burping associated with fish oil consumption are caused by the high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in the supplements. These fatty acids are prone to oxidation, which can produce unpleasant smells and flavors. Additionally, when the supplements are broken down in the stomach, they can produce gases that cause burping and other digestive symptoms.
Is there a certain dosage or type of fish oil supplement that is more likely to cause burping?
There is no specific dosage or type of fish oil supplement that is more likely to cause burping. However, taking a high dose of fish oil or taking the supplement on an empty stomach may increase the likelihood of experiencing burping or other digestive symptoms. Additionally, some people may be more sensitive to fish oil than others, which can also increase the likelihood of experiencing burping.
Does taking fish oil with food decrease the likelihood of experiencing burping?
Taking fish oil with food may decrease the likelihood of experiencing burping. This is because food can help to slow down the digestion of the supplement, which can reduce the production of gas in the stomach. Additionally, taking fish oil with a meal that contains fat can help to improve the absorption of the supplement, which can also reduce the likelihood of experiencing burping.
Can certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking or drinking carbonated beverages, increase the likelihood of burping after taking fish oil?
Yes, certain lifestyle factors like smoking or drinking carbonated beverages can increase the likelihood of burping after taking fish oil. This is because smoking and carbonated beverages can both increase the production of gas in the stomach, which can exacerbate the burping and other digestive symptoms associated with fish oil consumption. To reduce the likelihood of experiencing burping, it is best to avoid these lifestyle factors when taking fish oil supplements.
Are there any ways to minimize or prevent the burping associated with fish oil consumption?
Yes, there are several ways to minimize or prevent the burping associated with fish oil consumption. Taking the supplement with a meal that contains fat can improve absorption and reduce the likelihood of burping. Splitting the dose into smaller amounts taken throughout the day can also help to reduce the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in the stomach, which can reduce the likelihood of burping. Additionally, choosing a high-quality fish oil supplement that has been purified and deodorized can help to minimize the fishy aftertaste and burping associated with fish oil consumption.