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Fish Oil vs. Turmeric - Which One is Better?

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 13, 2022
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Fish oil and turmeric are popular supplements that bodybuilders and some athletes use for fighting muscle soreness and improving exercise performance.

I had a client ask me which is better, so I did a lot of research about these two. Here’s everything I’ve found.

Is Fish Oil Better Than Turmeric?

Top view close up image of fish oil

Fish oil and turmeric have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, but some information shows there's a difference between them.

In one study comparing the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of these two, both showed promising results.

However, research data suggest that fish oil relieved pain longer and reduced swelling better. [1]

Another research also showed that curcumin has poor absorption – it’s not easily absorbed into our body, which may decrease its effectiveness.

So, it could be said that fish oil provides better relief to muscle soreness compared to turmeric, though more studies are needed to compare the supplements’ performance.

Fish oil has Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), that our bodies cannot make and can only come from food.

DHA and EPA are said to prevent heart disease and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.

Turmeric, on the other hand, contains curcumin or Curcuma longa.

Curcumin is an active ingredient helping combat muscle pain and inflammation and helping fight damage in cells.

Fish Oil Supplements Benefits

Spilled fish oil supplements

Taking this supplementation provides tons of nutrition that may contribute to overall health.

Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on fish oil supplementation for its claimed results, such as protecting the heart, easing pain, improving mental health, and lengthening life.

- Howard LeWine, M.D., Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing 

Here are some of the benefits confirmed:

Reducing Muscle Soreness

The two Omega-3 fatty acids it contains, DHA and EPA, have anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve muscle swelling after a heavy workout and help lessen muscle damage.

Improving Workout Performance

It is said to increase endurance, speed up recovery, and decrease the risk of injury, improving your workout experience altogether.

Preventing Heart and Inflammatory Diseases

Omega-3 is known to keep our hearts healthy as it helps balance the healthy blood cholesterol levels in our body, so it may help patients with hypertension and prevent heart attack and stroke. It is also said to lessen chronic inflammation such as arthritis.

One study reports that participants who took fish oil supplementation showed improvements in their heart rate and increased production of good cholesterol.

Boosting Cognitive Function

DHA and EHA fatty acids help keep our brains healthy and boost our cognitive activity. It may also improve the symptoms and brain function of people who suffer from mental disorders and depression.

See our article on the best fish oil supplements out on the market.

Fish Oil Dosage & Side-Effects

A woman having a severe chest pain

As for the dosage, there is no absolute rule for the right dose of Omega-3s one can take. However, several studies recommend around 1000-5000mg daily.

Fish oil is generally safe to consume, but some mild side effects include bad breath, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches.

It's also not a good idea to take high doses since it may act as an anticoagulant – it slows down the blood-clotting process and may increase the risk of bleeding.

If you are taking any medication or treatment, it’s important to ask your doctor before using this supplement.

Turmeric Supplement Benefits

Turmerics with a wooden shovel

People use turmeric for many reasons, and here are some of them.

Reducing Swelling and Pain

Damaged muscles lead to soreness and pain. Curcumin appears to have strong anti-inflammatory properties that decrease soreness, speed up recovery, and improves overall athletic performance.

In a pilot study, curcumin showed a potential role of a significant reduction in pain, which may benefit patients with some form of joint problem such as osteoarthritis.

Fighting Oxidative Stress

Turmeric is also a natural antioxidant that helps fight off oxidative stress causing diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and aging. So, it helps in the prevention of diseases and improves health.

Improving Brain Function

Turmeric is also found to enhance the mood and memory of adults because it increases a particular hormone responsible for brain function. As a result, it may be effective for reversing brain-related conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

See our article on the best turmeric supplements out on the market.

Turmeric Dosage & Side-Effects

A woman holding a toilet paper and stomach

Unlike turmeric spices, turmeric supplements contain a higher dosage of curcumin.

Taking a dosage of 500–2,000 mg of turmeric supplement per day is considered safe. Also, including turmeric spices in your diet is recommended.

Although taking turmeric usually doesn’t have risks, consuming higher doses for the long-term is not suggested because it may have side effects, plus the references are limited.

Too much turmeric is said to cause an upset stomach, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. It may also thin your blood, resulting in easy bruising or bleeding.

Can You Take Turmeric and Fish Oil Together?

Although both supplements provide aid for muscle swelling, enhance workout experience, and boost health, it is not advised to take them together because both are anticoagulant supplements.

They slow down the blot-clot forming process, therefore increasing the risk of bleeding.

Also, researchers in one study in Australia have shown that combining these two do not make it more effective. Investigations with the combined effect of these two in humans are very limited.

Fish Oil vs. Curcumin: Which Will You Take?

Fish oil and turmeric gained interest among bodybuilders and athletes because of their promising results, such as relieving muscle pain and enhancing the workout experience.

They also have powerful properties to lessen the risks of diseases and boost health.

Yet, certain studies show that fish oil may better reduce inflammation and relieve pain, plus curcumin is poorly absorbed into the body.

Now that you know all the facts, please share your supplement of choice with us and let us know how it worked for you.


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