Fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is like a nourishing elixir for the body. Taking a daily dose can improve your overall well-being immensely.
However, what if you want to stop taking the supplements? Can you stop taking fish oil suddenly, or must you do it gradually?
There’s no substantial danger of stopping fish oil; if you take it shortly, you may stop it suddenly. However, if you take the supplements for a long time, you may need to stop them gradually by decreasing the dosage to avoid withdrawal symptoms – increased inflammation, blood clotting, etc.
Let’s read the article to learn more about the consequences of quitting fish oil.
Can You Stop Taking Fish Oil Suddenly?
Stopping fish oil suddenly may not impose any significant risk, but it may cause several side effects to those taking it for health reasons – rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, dementia, heart disease, etc.
If you take fish oil briefly, stopping it abruptly may not cause adverse effects. However, stopping it gradually is crucial if you take it for a particular health issue.
Stopping fish oil may cause several side effects, such as changes in blood pressure, blood clotting, digestive issues, etc. Besides, there’s always a chance for nutrient deficiency whenever you stop any supplements.
Fish oil is a natural anticoagulant that can prevent blood clotting. So, if you are taking fish oil for heart disease, consult your doctor before stopping it.
Your healthcare provider will help you determine if stopping fish oil is right based on your medical history, current health condition, and bodily needs. Besides, he can help you develop a plan to stop it safely.
However, you should stop fish oil immediately if you face severe side – fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, chest pain, uneven heartbeats, etc.
Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3, but it’s not the only way. You can also get them from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. Does these fatty fish have creatine in them? Explore foods high in creatine.
Plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans are also great for omega-3.
So if you want to stop fish oil for omega-3, ensure you get it enough from food.
5 Possible Side Effects When You Stop Taking Fish Oil
Here are some potential consequences you may encounter for stopping fish oil suddenly.
Potential Decrease in Omega-3 Levels
People take fish oil supplements for their omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Suddenly stopping fish oil supplements can decrease beneficial omega-3s, which may impact their health benefits.
Changes in Inflammation Levels
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. If you stop taking fish oil, the anti-inflammatory benefits may decrease. This could result in changes in symptoms for those with inflammation-related conditions.
The effects of inflammation can vary from person to person and depend on their specific health concerns.
However, the research on the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil is still inclusive, and further study is needed.
Alterations in Cardiovascular Health Markers
Cardiovascular health indicators may be impacted if you abruptly discontinue taking fish oil. But the degree of change may differ based on personal factors like diet, lifestyle, and genetics.
However, according to a recent study, increasing EPA and DHA has little or no effect on mortality or cardiovascular health.
Decreased Cognitive Function
Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can improve cognitive function in cognitively healthy older adults with stable CAD. Another study demonstrated that taking fish oil supplements improves attention, working memory, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in adults with autism.
So if you stop taking fish oil suddenly, it may impact your cognitive function. However, the evidence on stopping fish oil’s direct and immediate effects on cognitive function is limited and mixed.
Risk of Blood Clotting
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have been associated with a potential reduction in platelet aggregation, a component of blood clot formation. This effect can be reversed if you stop using them abruptly, increasing your chances of developing blood clots.
However, the direct impact of stopping fish oil on blood clotting is not well-established. Stopping fish oil supplements may not significantly increase the risk of blood clots. Other factors like health, medical conditions, and individual traits also influence the condition.
How To Discontinue Fish Oil Safely?
Here are some tips on how to stop taking fish oil safely:
- Reduce your dosage gradually over several days or weeks; don’t stop taking fish oil all at once. This will help your body adjust to the change and reduce the risk of any side effects.
- Talk to your doctor before you start or stop taking any medication, including fish oil supplements. They can help you determine if fish oil is right for you and advise how to stop taking it safely.
- Monitor your symptoms as you reduce your dosages for side effects, such as bleeding, nausea, or headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.
- Replace fish oil with other sources of omega-3 fatty acids that include oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel; nuts, such as walnuts and flaxseeds; and seeds, such as chia seeds and hemp seeds.
How Long Does It Take To Get Fish Oil Out Of Your System?
It may take a few hours to a week for most fish oil to be eliminated from your blood and tissues. However, there is no definitive answer to how long it takes to get fish oil out of your system because it depends on the dose, type, quality, metabolism, diet, and health status.
One way to estimate how long fish oil can get out of your system is to look at its half-life – which ranges from 37 to 77 hours in human plasma. Removing half of the fish oil from your blood can take 2 to 4 days.
However, some may still be stored in your tissues – liver, brain, and fat cells – even after 4 days.
The amount and frequency of fish oil intake affect how long it stays in your body. Higher doses for longer periods take longer to eliminate compared to smaller doses for a shorter period.
Choose high-quality fish oil that undergoes third-party purity and potency testing to avoid harmful contaminants like mercury, PCBs, and dioxins that can accumulate in your body and lead to health problems over time.
What Is The Recommended Dosage Of Fish Oil Supplements?
The dosage of fish oil supplements varies depending on the concentration and quality of the product. Generally, most fish oil supplements provide about 300 mg of omega-3s per capsule, so you may take about four to five capsules per day to reach the recommended intake.
However, some products may have higher or lower omega-3s per capsule. So always check the label and follow the instructions carefully.
The dosage of omega-3s from fish oil supplements may vary depending on health conditions. Individuals with high triglyceride levels may benefit from 2-4 grams daily.
A daily intake of 300 mg of EPA and DHA is sufficient during pregnancy.
But consult a doctor before taking fish oil supplements to avoid negative side effects and potential medication interactions.
Who Should Not Take Fish Oil?
People with certain conditions should avoid fish oil.
- People allergic to fish, shellfish, or soybeans
- Pregnant women, trying to get pregnant, or nursing a baby. Do folate and vitamin b12 help in pregnancy? Discover.
- Children and teens younger than 18 years.
- People taking anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs, contraceptives, weight-loss drugs, etc.
- People with alcoholic liver disease
Excessive Fish Oil Side Effects
Taking too much fish oil can have some negative side effects.
- Bleeding, especially if you are taking blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms including cause nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, or a fishy aftertaste.
- Increased Blood sugar in people with diabetes or prediabetes by stimulating glucose production.
- Low blood pressure, especially in people who already have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Vitamin A toxicity from fish liver containing high amounts of vitamin A can cause toxicity symptoms, such as blurred vision, headache, bone pain, or liver damage.
Is stopping fish oil a good idea? Can you stop taking fish oil suddenly, or must you do it gradually?
Well, stopping fish oil suddenly usually doesn’t cause any adverse effects, but discontinuing it gradually is a more safe way. This way, you can avoid some unwanted consequences.
For more on safe supplementation, visit our blogs.
I am a health and wellness enthusiast working in a Pittsburgh-based wellness clinic. My primary role as a consultant is to tailor a balanced lifestyle for my patients, where positive steps and potent supplements play a synergistic role.