Natural Health Products

Non-traditional solutions to help boost your health and wellness.

Fish oil

General Information

Fatty acids can be classified into saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fatty acids are considered to be unhealthy, and the unsaturated fatty acids (e.g., DHA, EPA, and ALA) are considered to be healthy. The healthier, unsaturated fatty acids can be found in fish oils.

Common Name(s)
fish oil, fish oil fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, cod liver oil, salmon oil, tuna fish oil
Scientific Name(s)
Fish oil
How is this product usually used?

Fish oils can be obtained from eating fish or by taking supplements.

The minimum and maximum dose ranges for various age groups are listed in the table below. Adults include pregnant and breast-feeding people.


EPA+DHA (mg/day)




1-8 years



9-11 years




12-13 years



14-17 years




18 years



19 years and older



What is this product used for?

Fish oils containing ALA, DHA, and EPA have been commonly used for:

  • Promoting overall health
  • Promoting healthy mood balance
  • Promoting heart health (e.g., to reduce heart attacks)
  • Lowering triglycerides (a type of fat found in the body)
  • Reducing symptoms such as pain and stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis (used together with regular therapy)
  • Supporting brain and cognitive function (e.g., for Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Supporting development of eyes and nerves in children

Fish oil may be used for other purposes, like the management of menstrual symptoms, heart failure, and high blood pressure.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Fish oils have shown to reduce triglyceride levels, however, they’re not as effective as prescription medications. It should not replace medications if you have high triglycerides. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if this supplement is right for you before starting it.

The use of fish oils for other conditions has not been supported by research.

The most common side effects of fish oils include abdominal pain, belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea. Large doses of fish oil can increase your risk of bleeds, and irregular heart rate or rhythm, as well as suppress your immune system.

Fish oil may interact with the following:

  • antihypertensive medications (e.g., amlodipine, furosemide, ramipril)
  • contraceptives (e.g., estrogen, progesterone)
  • cyclosporine
  • orlistat
  • sirolimus
  • tacrolimus
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E

Fish oil should be avoided in those who:

  • have a family history of cancerous polyps (e.g., familial adenomatous polyposis)
  • have a seafood allergy
  • have a suppressed immune system caused by a condition (e.g., HIV) or medications (immunosuppressants)
  • have an implanted defibrillator
  • have bipolar disorder
  • have diabetes
  • have liver scarring (cirrhosis)

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

  1. Health Canada. Drugs & Health Products. Monograph – Fish Oil.
  2. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database – Fish Oil.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.