Can Fish Oil Cause Constipation? August 8, 2016

Do you get constipated every time you take fish oil? Or do you take fish oil to help with constipation? Well, there seems to be some kind of paradoxical association between fish oil and constipation. While most sources quote that fish oil is beneficial to those suffering from constipation, a contradictory opinion is also existent.

So, wondering what exactly is the truth? This post can give you clarity. Go ahead and read.

What Is Fish Oil?

Extracted from the fatty tissues of oily fish, fish oil contains various beneficial chemicals like DHA, EPA and most importantly, omega 3 fatty acids. The fish do not produce omega 3 fatty acids on their own. They consume a lot of algae or smaller fishes that contain this beneficial fatty acid. So, fishes higher up in the food chain accumulate larger amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which is why large predatory fishes like swordfish, tilefish and shark are tapped as fish oil sources. However, this biomagnification is also responsible for the pooling of toxic materials collected from various fishes.

Fish Oil And Constipation – The Myth

There are several instances of people asking in online forums whether fish oil causes constipation. They claim that after taking fish oil supplements they have had difficulty in passing stool. This claim is also ratified by several articles found online. However, it is a myth because scientific studies have shown that fish oil relieves constipation. The only possible explanation behind these claims is that they were ingesting some other supplements or foods that could be causing constipation.

How It Helps

Does fish oil help with constipation? Fish oil is often suggested to pregnant women and anyone, in general, suffering from constipation. This is because the oil helps in lubrication. The omega 3 fatty acids also help in reducing inflammation that can be caused due to prolonged constipation. Thus, all problems related to constipation are also addressed if you take fish oil supplements.

[ Read: 3 Best Juices To Treat Constipation ]

Other Benefits

Apart from relief from constipation, fish oil also treats several other symptoms. Other benefits include:

  1. Fish oil can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. A low-fat diet, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, is considered to be beneficial for those who are at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer.
  2. Fish oil helps pregnant women to deal with post-partum depression. The oil contains DHA and doctors often prescribe DHA-rich foods to such women.
  3. The omega 3 fatty acids present in fish oil have shown to improve memory, especially in young adults.
  4. Regular intake of fish oil is linked to lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, there is some confusion about this benefit because a recent study concluded that fish oil acts only as well as a placebo.
  5. Developing fetuses are benefitted from omega 3 fatty acids. When pregnant women take fish oil, it leads to better motor and cognitive development in their babies.
  6. Age related vision loss is often reversed or inhibited by fish oil consumption.

Caution

Although the benefits are aplenty, fish oil is not devoid of side effects. With increasing pollution in the oceans, many small fishes and algae ingest toxic materials that are not only harmful to them and the rest of the food chain, but are also non-biodegradable. This means that when such organisms are eaten by predators, they are passed on to the latter.

By consuming a number of toxin-infested fishes, these predators accumulate lots of toxins. As a result, these toxins are passed into fish oil and consequently to those who take this supplement.

The bottom line is, fish oil, when consumed in moderation, can indeed help ease symptoms often associated with constipation. However, like most other things, over-consumption of even this healthy oil can lead to myriad side effects.

Have you ever considered fish oil for constipation? If yes, how has it helped you? Do comment in the box given below.

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