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Ugh! Those burps from taking a fish oil supplement make me shiver!
I went years taking them over and over without realizing that there were alternatives.
Now I know how to stop fish oil burps (and you will do too, soon!), I’m not going back to a generic supplement (see below for alternatives).
Table of Contents
What are fish burps?
Just had a fish oil burp and need to know the fishy burps meaning?
Don’t worry, fish burps are a common side effect of taking fish oil supplements, even though it feels like the fish is trying to crawl back out of your throat!
When the fish oil is digested, it can produce a fishy smell and taste that comes back up through the throat and mouth. While it tastes really unpleasant (for you and those unfortunately in the vicinity), it doesn’t mean that something’s amiss.
But… it also isn’t necessarily “right”…
Why does fish oil make you burp?
“So, why do my burps taste like fish?”, you may be asking.
Well, when you take fish oil supplements, you’re ingesting a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are easily broken down and absorbed by the body.
But, those fish burps are usually the result of you taking a low-quality supplement. A poor-quality supplement will have a low-grade capsule, meaning it’s broken down too early as it passes through your body.
Ideally, the capsule is broken down inside your intestine. But, if you’re getting those delightful burps, it’s the stomach breaking down the capsule, rather than the intestines. The body recognizes this and tries to get it out of the body by the way of a burp.
How to stop fish oil burps
Burping up fish oil leaves an awful taste in the mouth; there’s no doubt about it. The good news is that there are a few ways on how to get rid of fish oil burps:
1. Try krill oil
While krill oil burps are still a thing (sorry!), krill oil is known to be more effective than fish oil in stopping that belch. The reason for this is because krill oil is more easily absorbed by the body and, thus, is less likely to be regurgitated.
In addition, krill oil contains a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of EPA and DHA), which are beneficial for reducing inflammation, maintaining heart health and preventing chronic disease.
2. Use burp-less fish oil
I also recommend that you grab yourself a bottle of fish oil that doesn’t cause burping.
In the burp-less fish oil vs regular fish oil debate, there are a few key differences between burp-less fish oil and regular fish oil.
For one, burp-less fish oil is designed to be virtually free of the unpleasant fishy aftertaste or burps that are common with regular fish oil supplements. This is thanks to a special enteric coating that allows the capsules to dissolve in the intestine rather than the stomach.
Burp-less fish oil is also lower in mercury and other toxins and is more easily absorbed by the body.
3. Enteric-coated option
To have fewer gas episodes, go for an enteric-coated supplement. These are specifically designed so the stomach can’t break down the coating and the capsule remains intact.
The intestine can break down the coating, however, so the oil content isn’t released until much later.
3. Swallow the capsule frozen
It sounds crazy, I know, but swallowing a pill when it’s frozen prevents the fish oil from coming into contact with your stomach acids. When you swallow a frozen capsule, it will thaw in your esophagus and shouldn’t cause any discomfort, but you still get the omega-3 oil benefit.
Preserve your supplements in the freezer, and take them out at meal times to stop that lovely fishy breath.
4. Consume at the beginning of a meal
Another tip to reduce the fishy burps is to take your omega-3 supplements with a meal. Doing so will reduce side effects, like those burps, but will also increase the absorption of the omega-3 fats.
5. Switch brands
Fish oil supplements that don’t taste fishy are a rare breed.
So, what can you do to negate that fish oil aftertaste?
One solution is to mix your usual dosage with fruit juice, OR, why not choose something like a lemon-mint omega-3 supplement?
Other ways to get omega 3 without fish taste
There are a few ways to get those essential omega-3s without a fishy taste:
- Go vegan: Instead of a strict fish-only route, taking an omega-3 that’s vegan is a good alternative.
- Dietary change: Ensure you get your nutritional fix naturally by eating foods high in omega-3, such as nuts and seeds.
- Cooking oils: You can also cook with oils that are high in omega-3, such as olive oil or canola oil.
Key takeaways on stopping fish burps
There’s no doubting the benefits of taking a fish oil supplement, but I know how hard it is to avoid that sometimes-rancid aftertaste and fish oil burps.
Even though they cause fish burps, and some of you are more prone to these than others, there are other options for you to explore.
When I find myself in need of a supplement, I try to change my diet accordingly to make up for that shortfall. But, I don’t like fish and my son has a nut allergy, so I go for an enteric-coated supplement.
What does fish oil taste like?
Fish oil has a distinct and sometimes unpleasant taste but is beneficial to human health. It is extracted from oily fish tissue, such as from herring, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel. However, the taste can be off-putting to some as it has a strong, fishy smell and a slightly bitter taste.
How to prevent heartburn from fish oil?
To prevent heartburn from fish oil, avoid taking it on an empty stomach. Instead, take it with a meal that is high in fat. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your stomach acid levels down. If that doesn’t work, try taking an antacid.
Why do my fish oil burps taste like mint?
The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements are metabolized and used by the body for various purposes. One by-product of this process is a compound called trimethylamine oxide (TMAO), which is responsible for the minty taste of fish oil burps because it is similar in structure to menthol.
Alternatively, it could be due to supplement brands adding mint or peppermint to the product. They do this to curb the overpowering fish taste of some oils.
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