Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 2, 2021

Fish oil supplements provide overall health benefits, but there’s something fishy about it that turns off people from taking them – the dreaded fishy taste or burps. It may just cause you to shy away from conversations.

I spent time researching whether there are ways to get rid of the aftertaste and burps.

The good thing is there are! So, before you cast aside your fish oil capsule bottle, try these tips to reduce the fish oil aftertaste.

Ways To Get Rid Of the Fish Oil Taste

persons picking up one capsule from a handful of fish oil

Here are some tips to prevent the off-putting fishy aftertaste.

1. Take the Fish Oil Capsules Frozen

Taking fish oil capsules frozen or cold helps slow the breakdown of the fish oil in the stomach until they are absorbed in the small intestines. So, keep your fish oil bottles stored in the freezer.

Also, putting the fish oil bottle in the freezer does not reduce the availability of the essential fatty acids and may slow down the process of fish oil from going rancid.

2. Consume Fish Oil Supplements With Food

old couple eating together

Another trick you can do is swallow the fish oil capsule with your meal.

The supplement will mix with the foods and help buffer the odor and prevent awful burps.

The food traps the fish oil, helps dissolve the capsule, and allows your body to absorb it quickly.

Additionally, the food also helps keep the fish oil inside your small intestine for a longer time and increases the amount of Omega 3 it can absorb.

So, start a meal, take the capsules, and eat more to sort of “trap” the fish oils and mix it with other foods.

3. Divide the Dosage

Dividing the dosage of fish oil supplements into smaller doses may help reduce the fish oil burps: your stomach has less to process when you take fish oil in smaller amounts at a time, reducing the aftertaste.

Also, try to take a small dose before taking on a higher amount. If you consume large amounts of fish oil, it may cause an upset stomach or heartburn.

4. Try a Different Brand

woman showing a capsule on her hand

If you still get the fishy taste after trying all the above, then trying other pharmaceutical-grade brands may do.

You can get quality fish oil from these brands as they contain the highest concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA essential fatty acids.

Also, manufacturers that maintain strict standards on oxidation provide quality ones, too.

Generally, when a fish oil supplement tastes better, you may get more Omega 3 fatty acids in lesser amounts.

Therefore, look for a fish oil supplement in the market that will provide a 2000-4000mg daily dose of DHA and EPA.

How to test the fish oil’s quality: break open the fish oil capsule; if its odor is like rotting fish, it’s a sign that it’s rancid.

Related: How to Choose Fish Oil? (According To a Dietitian)

5. Look For Enteric-Coated Fish Oil

Fish oil supplements with enteric coating help keep the capsules from breaking down in the stomach until they reach further down the small intestines.

In addition, the enteric coating helps to ensure the capsules do not taste fishy, thus reducing the fish oil burps because they are not digested in the stomach.

So, better look for manufacturers that produce fish oil capsules with enteric coating.

What Causes Fishy Tasting Burps?

woman smelling her breath with her hands

Fishy burps happen when the capsules dissolve sooner than they should have, like in the stomach. When capsules begin to release their contents, it causes you to burp.

Burping is not necessarily bad nor harmful, and some folks are more prone to burping than others.

There are two possible factors for fishy burps: capsule casing and the Omega 3 fish oil quality.

There are additives in a few capsule casings that may cause bloating, upset stomach, or bad gas that may lead to dreaded burps.

Look for casing options designed to be easier on the gut.

”Ingesting high-quality fish oil saves you money, gives you optimal nutrition, and provides you the highest benefits for your health.” – Warren Maginn, Clinical Nutritionist and Founder of Warren Maggin Functional Clinical Nutrition

And low-quality Omega 3 fish oil can make matters worse: releasing fishier burps sooner than the stomach does the digestive work. So, stick to better oils to stop burps.

How Does a Fish Oil Supplement Taste?

person drinking a fish oil capsule

Fresh fish oil, like fresh seafood, is not supposed to have a fishy taste or smell. If it starts to smell otherwise,  it is beginning to oxidize and go rancid.

The rancid oil is likely toxic to your body.

When Omega 3 fats oxidizes, EPA and DHA levels decrease, and free radicals also increase.

When your body has too many radicals, it results in inflammation and other illnesses.

To test if the oil has gone rancid: break open the capsule and smell the oil.

Or check the oxidation levels or peroxide value to measure its rancidity level — the lower the number, the fresher the oil.

How Do You Avoid Rancid Fish Oil?

Some tips to protect the oil from getting rancid are to reduce its exposure to oxygen, heat, and light and add antioxidants such as Vitamin E [1].

Say Goodbye to the Fishy Aftertaste

Taking fish oil does have plenty of benefits, such as reducing inflammation and preventing heart disease.

It provides a high concentration of essential Omega 3 fatty acids for our overall health. But the fishy burps and aftertaste shove people off from taking it.

Gratefully, there are ways to eliminate this off-putting taste and odor.

Don’t forget to tell us if you’ve tried any of the tips above and how they worked for you.


Reference:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23105601

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