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Fish oil is an omega-3 fatty acid supplement that has been linked to a number of health benefits.

In fact, studies show that fish oil could help reduce inflammation, improve heart health, protect brain function, and promote proper growth and development (1).

What’s more, taking your fish oil supplement at certain times may help optimize its effectiveness and prevent certain side effects.

This article takes a closer look at when you should take fish oil.

You can take fish oil at any time of day, depending on when it works best for you.

This is because most research suggests that the potential benefits of fish oil supplements are not immediate, but instead associated with long-term use (2).

Studies show that taking fish oil over several weeks, months, or even years can increase levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood (3, 4).

However, adjusting the timing of supplementation can help prevent some of the side effects linked to fish oil.

Acid reflux, for instance, is one of the most common side effects associated with fish oil supplements.

While this could be due to the fat content of fish oil, the ingested oil floating on top of the stomach contents likely contributes to this side effect (5, 6, 7).

Splitting your fish oil into two smaller doses and taking it in the morning and at night is an effective strategy that can help prevent acid reflux and indigestion (7).

Summary

Because most of the benefits of fish oil are associated with long-term use, you can take it at any time of day. That said, splitting your supplement into two smaller doses in the morning and at night can reduce acid reflux.

Regardless when you take your fish oil supplement, it’s important to take it alongside a meal to maximize its absorption in the body.

In particular, taking fish oil with a good source of fat can increase the bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids and enhance their effectiveness (8, 9).

Furthermore, taking fish oil with food may reduce certain side effects associated with the supplement.

For example, consuming fish oil immediately before a meal can reduce the risk of acid reflux and indigestion (7).

Although more research is needed, some users also report that taking fish oil with food could prevent common other side effects, such as diarrhea, belching, and nausea.

Summary

Taking fish oil with food can increase the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids and reduce certain side effects, including acid reflux, diarrhea, belching, and nausea.

Finding a time that works for you and taking your fish oil supplement consistently is key to maximizing its potential benefits.

For some, taking it first thing in the morning with breakfast is the easiest way to ensure that you’re getting your daily dose.

Meanwhile, others may find that taking fish oil with lunch or just before bed works better for them.

For this reason, it’s best to find what works for you and establish a routine to optimize any potential health benefits.

Summary

Establishing a routine and taking your supplement consistently can maximize its potential health benefits.

Because the potential benefits of fish oil are associated with long-term use, taking fish oil consistently is more important than the time of day you take it.

However, taking fish oil with food can increase its absorption and prevent certain side effects.

Finding a time that works for you and taking fish oil regularly is the easiest way to optimize its effectiveness.

If you want to try fish oil to improve your overall health, you can find various products in stores and online.

Be sure to discuss any new supplement with your healthcare provider first, especially if you have an underlying medical condition.