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How to Prevent Heartburn from Fish Oil

Fish oil is the most commonly used dietary supplement and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is full of beneficial nutrients and has been shown to help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and some types of cancers. 

While fish oil has many benefits, one of the potential side effects of fish oil is heartburn. In this article we’ll go through some things you can do to help prevent heartburn caused by fish oil. 

Keep reading to find out more about:

  • Fish oil uses
  • Ways to prevent heartburn caused by fish oil
  • Remedies for heartburn caused by fish oil

Fish oil uses

Fish oil has long been used for a variety of health issues. 

Fish oil has long been used for many things and is one of the most used daily supplements on the market. It has been used to help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, lower cholesterol linked to cardiovascular disease, and nourishing skin and hair.

Fish oil has also been suggested to be a potential treatment for major depressive disorder and related mental health disorders. While more research is being done on the benefits in this area, the essential role that omega-3 fatty acids play in brain development lead researchers to believe that deficiency in omega-3 could be a factor in anxiety levels and mood related disorders like depression. 

Ways to prevent heartburn caused by fish oil

Adjustments to eating and sleeping habits can be incredibly helpful with preventing heartburn caused by fish oil supplements. 

There are many ways to prevent heartburn, whether it is caused by fish oil or something else. Here are some of the ways to prevent heartburn:

  • Adjust your eating habits
  • Adjust the type of supplement or daily dose
  • Sleep on an incline
fish oil capsules that are coated with enteric may help with fish oil related heartburn.
Fish oil supplements have many beneficial uses, but may cause mild heartburn. 

Eating habits to prevent heartburn

Heartburn is an extremely uncomfortable feeling that typically occurs after eating. Due to the fact that heartburn is often caused by either the foods that you are eating, or the way in which you are eating those foods, most of the prevention of heartburn involves changing your eating habits. 

The first adjustment you can make to prevent getting heartburn from fish oil is to take your supplement with food. Taking the fish oil supplement before you eat can allow the oil to mix with your food and may help to relieve acid reflux, which can cause heartburn. 

The second adjustment to make to your eating habits is to eat food slower or eat smaller meals more frequently in the day. When your stomach is very full or fills up very fast it can lead to more acid reflux in the esophagus leading in turn to heartburn and general discomfort. 

Whether you make a point to eat slower during your regular meals or practice “grazing” throughout the day, adjusting your eating habits can help with preventing heartburn caused by fish oil. 

Adjust the type of supplement or your dosage

Heartburn and acid reflux associated with fish oil and other omega-3 supplements are more common when these supplements are being taken in higher doses. Often lowering the dose that you take can greatly improve digestive issues such as heartburn. 

If lowering the dose that you take on a daily basis doesn’t improve the issues or does little to improve them, changing the type of supplement that you are taking can also be helpful with relieving and improving discomfort such as heartburn and acid reflux. If you are taking plain fish oil capsules, looking for enteric-coated fish oil capsules may be another option you want to look at. 

Enteric-coated capsules don’t dissolve until after passing through the stomach and reaching your small intestine. This delayed release of the fish oil allows you to get all the benefits of the supplement without the uncomfortable side effects of acid reflux and heartburn. 

Sleeping habits that may reduce heartburn

Believe it or not, your sleeping habits can greatly impact digestive related issues such as acid reflux and heartburn. Whether it’s eating too close to bed time or your sleeping position, making adjustments to your sleep habits can play a big part in reducing heartburn symptoms. 

Eating too close to when you go to bed can be one cause of heartburn symptoms. Gravity is helpful at keeping acid in your stomach and if you are laying down when your stomach is full, acid reflux is more likely to occur. While it may be tempting to have a late night snack or take an after-lunch nap, this is not recommended for anyone who struggles with digestive issues. 

Another thing that can help to prevent heartburn is sleeping on an incline. Whether this means setting your bed up on a slight incline or using a foam wedge to prop yourself up when you sleep, lying on an incline can help to keep acid reflux and related issues at bay. 

Ripe bananas can help with heartburn caused by fish oil
Ripe bananas can be helpful with reducing heartburn caused by fish oil. 

Remedies for heartburn caused by fish oil

When prevention of heartburn doesn’t work, here are some remedies that may help relieve discomfort.

While making changes to your sleeping and eating habits can help to prevent heartburn, there is always a chance that they won’t prevent it fully. Having some remedies for when heartburn and acid reflux does occur is a good idea for anyone who takes fish oil supplements. 

There are a few things you can do to help with heartburn, including:

  • Taking an antacid 
  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Eat a ripe banana

While some of these remedies, like chewing gum and eating a ripe banana may seem out there, there are studies that show both of these remedies may help with reducing heartburn discomfort.

For instance, chewing gum can help to increase saliva production, causing you to swallow more often. This helps to reduce the risk of acid reflux. Chewing gum that contains bicarbonate has been shown to be potentially helpful in neutralizing acid and preventing reflux

Eating a ripe banana, which is high in potassium, is an alkaline food. This means that it can help to neutralize acid and reduce the discomfort caused by acid reflux and heartburn. It’s important to make sure the banana is ripe, as unripe bananas are less alkaline and may actually trigger acid reflux in some people. 

Finally, taking an antacid tablet can be helpful for severe acid reflux. If you experience frequent acid reflux and heartburn and find little relief with the remedies we’ve provided, contact your doctor to discuss further options. If heartburn persists or symptoms worsen, it may be a sign of an underlying condition unrelated to the use of fish oil supplements.

You should consult a licensed health care professional before starting any supplement, dietary, or exercise program, especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

Author: Dr. Emil Hodzovic

Holding degrees in both medicine and Sports + Exercise Science from renowned research institution Cardiff University, Dr. Emil Hodzovic has the dual distinction of being a practicing clinician and respected authority in nutrition and supplementation.

During his parallel careers as a personal trainer and professional athlete, Dr. Emil recognized a critical flaw in the supplement space: too much emphasis on appearance and performance—and zero concern for making holistic health and happiness accessible to everyone.

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