How many fish oil capsules should you take per day, and when is the best time to take them? Let our team tell you about the benefits and timing of consuming fish oil in detail, providing you with comprehensive health knowledge to make the most of it!
Why Should You Take Fish Oil?
Due to changes in lifestyle, dietary habits, and the rise of eating out, the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids in modern diets has become imbalanced. The ideal ratio should be Omega-6: Omega-3 = 1:1. An excessively high Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio (e.g., 15:1 or even 30:1) can contribute to various diseases such as cardiovascular issues, cancer, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases. Conversely, a higher Omega-3 content (lower Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio) can help inhibit the development of many diseases.
💡Fish oil contains abundant Omega-3, which plays a crucial role in maintaining human health. It is essential for the normal functioning of organs such as the brain, eyes, and nervous system. This is why many experts recommend taking fish oil supplements.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Fish Oil?
Fish oil offers a wide range of health benefits, with one of the most well-known being its role in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Medical research shows that high levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides are significant risk factors for coronary artery disease, stroke, hypertension, and other cardiovascular conditions.
Numerous studies have confirmed that high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are effective in treating high triglycerides and preventing heart disease. Additionally, fish oil is linked to children’s brain and neural development, maintaining eye health, supporting cognitive function in the elderly, addressing mental disorders, and managing other inflammatory conditions.
How Should You Take Fish Oil? When Is the Best Time?
Fish oil is extracted from the fat of fatty fish. Consuming it with meals that contain fats enhances absorption. Therefore, it is recommended to take fish oil with or after meals to increase its absorption rate in the body .
If breakfast is your most substantial meal of the day, you can take fish oil after breakfast. If you are taking medication, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking fish oil to avoid potential interactions that may affect absorption.
Dispelling the Myth of Taking Fish Oil Before Bed!
Is it true that taking deep-sea fish oil before bedtime is more effective? There are studies suggesting a connection between sleep quality and a lack of Omega-3 in fish oil. Some human experiments have shown positive effects of fish oil on overall sleep quality and daily function   . However, there is no research indicating that taking fish oil before bed is more effective. Most sleep-related studies involving fish oil recommend taking it with or after meals.
💡Therefore, without solid scientific evidence to support it, be cautious about believing that taking fish oil before bed is more effective.
How many fish oil capsules should you take per day?
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board in the United States has established Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). Among them, there are Adequate Intakes (AI) set for the intake of Omega-3 for reference :
|Omega-3 Adequate Intake (AI)|
|1~3 years old||700mg|
|4~8 years old||900mg|
|9~13 years old (female)||1000mg|
|9~13 years old (male)||1200mg|
* Infants aged 0 to 12 months can obtain sufficient Omega-3 from breastfeeding.
Based on the Omega-3 content of different fish oil products available on the market, you can calculate how many capsules you need to take per day:
For example: A breastfeeding mother purchased a commercially available fish oil capsule containing 1000mg of fish oil, with an Omega-3 concentration of 30%. How many capsules does she need to take?
Answer: Each fish oil capsule contains 1000mg * 30% = 300mg of Omega-3. For a breastfeeding mother, it’s recommended to consume 1300mg of Omega-3 per day. So, she would need to take 1300mg / 300mg = 5 capsules (rounded up, as you can’t consume half a capsule of fish oil).
Of course, if you choose fish oil with a higher Omega-3 concentration, you would need to take fewer capsules per day.
Is eating fish enough to supplement Omega-3 adequately?
Is consuming fish sufficient to meet the daily requirement of Omega-3 fatty acids? How can you determine whether you need to supplement with additional fish oil health products?
The “Food and Nutrition Database” provided by Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration can be used to access detailed nutrient information for different types of fish . Here are the contents of several common fish species for your reference:
|Content per 100g (mg)||EPA (20:5)||DHA (22:6)||Omega-3 (EPA+DHA)|
|Tilapia (Taiwan Sea Bream)||0||38||38|
|Catfish (wood lice)||0||99||99|
|Sliced Red Salmon||183||687||870|
|Kabayaki Eel Fillet||671||1194||1865|
*Omega-3 is roughly calculated as the sum of the numbers of EPA+DHA
Calculating the daily amount required based on different fish species:
For example: Let’s say there is a breastfeeding mother who wants to consume milkfish to meet her required Omega-3 intake. How much fish does she need to eat?
Answer: For a breastfeeding mother, it is recommended to consume 1300mg of Omega-3 per day. Milkfish contains approximately 200mg of Omega-3 per 100g. Therefore, she would need to eat about 650g of milkfish per day to meet the requirement (1300mg / 200mg * 100g = 650g).
Of course, if the chosen fish species has a higher concentration of Omega-3, the weight of fish required to be consumed daily would be less.
If it’s not feasible to consume enough fish to meet the requirement, considering supplementing with fish oil health products might be a suitable option.
Precautions and Side Effects of Taking Fish Oil
- The recommended daily intake of Omega-3 from fish oil should not exceed 3 grams.
- Possible side effects of fish oil may include: fishy burps, increased odor in sweat, dizziness, headache, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, gastrointestinal discomfort (loose stools, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, heartburn, nausea, vomiting).
- Consuming large amounts of fish oil can inhibit blood clotting and prolong clotting time, potentially increasing the risk of bleeding. It is advised to avoid taking fish oil alongside medications that affect blood clotting. Individuals with impaired clotting function, pregnant women before delivery, those planning surgery, and those undergoing treatments that affect clotting should avoid fish oil consumption.
- Fish oil has blood pressure-lowering effects, so when taking antihypertensive medications, it’s important to be cautious about the dosage to prevent excessively low blood pressure.
- Currently, it’s uncertain whether individuals allergic to fish and seafood can safely consume fish oil supplements.
- Fish oil is not recommended to be taken together with dietary fiber, as it can be bound and excreted directly from the body.
- Fish oil is not recommended to be taken together with calcium supplements, as it may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort.
Before starting to supplement with any health product, carefully read the product label for instructions on usage, storage, precautions, or warning statements. This will help prevent improper use of the product and unnecessary risks.