Taking too much fish oil may cause an upset stomach or more serious problems, such as internal bleeding. The effects of an overdose will vary depending on how much was taken and whether it was taken with other substances. If an overdose occurs, treatment will most likely involve supportive care (treating the symptoms that occur as a result of the overdose).
Can You Overdose on Fish Oil?
Fish oil is a popular dietary supplement used for a variety of purposes. It is not known exactly what to expect from a fish oil overdose, but it is likely that the effects will vary depending on the fish oil dosage and whether it was taken with any medications, alcohol, or street drugs.
If you happen to overdose on fish oil, seek immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of a Fish Oil Overdose
A fish oil overdose is likely to cause any of the usual fish oil side effects, but perhaps more severely. In particular, stomach upset can be expected. An overdose could also increase the risk of bleeding, including dangerous internal bleeding (such as gastrointestinal bleeding or bleeding in the brain).
A fish oil overdose in children is not likely, as the capsules are usually quite large (probably too large for most children to swallow), and the oil does not taste pleasant if the capsules are opened. However, because anything is possible, make sure to keep your fish oil supplements out of the reach of children. Many people store their supplements in the freezer, as this can help prevent a fishy aftertaste. Make sure that children old enough to get into the freezer understand not to take the supplements.
What Are the Treatment Options?
It is not known how best to treat this type of overdose. Therefore, treatment (if necessary) will consist of supportive care. This type of care consists of treating the symptoms that occur as a result of the overdose. For instance, if an overdose caused bleeding, then supportive treatment would include providing medications or procedures to stop the bleeding.
It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you believe that you may have overdosed on fish oil.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed December 1, 2008.
Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ; American Heart Association. Nutrition Committee. Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease.
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