Fish oil and other omega-3 supplements like algae oil pills are taken daily by many people looking for a boost in their cardiovascular health, brain health, and more.*
But taking dietary supplements isn’t always as easy as simply popping a pill. For the best results, you generally want to incorporate them into a consistent, everyday routine. In addition, some supplements like omega-3 pills can cause stomach discomfort when taken incorrectly.
So it begs the question: when is the best time of day to take fish oil? Let’s explore some of the most current recommendations for the best times of day to be taking your omega-3 supplements.
Pairing Omega 3 With Food
The purpose of taking dietary supplements is to meet your intake of certain nutrients that you may not be getting from food alone. Taking fish oil or omega-3 supplements pills boosts your daily intake of omega-3s, an essential type of dietary fat that can support anti-inflammatory responses and boost your heart health*.
Omega-3s are a type of fatty acid, so fish oil pills are fatty by nature. This is important to note because the high levels of fat in each capsule can make them hard for your body to digest and absorb when taken on their own. Some people even experience gastrointestinal distress like nausea when they take their fish oil pills without pairing them with anything else.
So when it comes to your fish oil intake, you’ll want to make sure that you’re pairing the supplement with a meal for the best absorption. More specifically, the meal that you pair your fish oil pill with should have a decent amount of healthy dietary fat so that you can more easily absorb the capsule and all of the health benefits that come along with it.
Some examples of healthy plant-based fats you can pair with your fish oil supplement include coconut oil, olive oils, nuts, and seeds.
When Is The Best Time To Take Fish Oil: Morning Or Night?
Another important consideration to explore when you begin your supplement regimen is what time of day to take your fish oil. Is the best time of day for these supplements in the morning, at night, or somewhere in between?
The answer: technically, it doesn’t matter whether you choose to have your fish oil first thing in the morning or later on in the day. However, there are a couple of advantages for each.
Many people are in the habit of taking their medications and pills first thing in the morning. This is often the most sensible choice for most people since it can be seamlessly integrated into other morning-time health and wellness rituals, and it’s often easier to remember.
However, taking your omega-3 supplement at night comes with certain benefits of its own. Remember, research has found that omega-3 supplements are most effective when paired with the intake of high-fat foods. Because so many people skip breakfast or choose lighter, low-fat breakfast options, this means that taking their fish oil pills along with that light morning fare might not be the best option for optimal nutrient absorption and minimal side effects.
So this is a good reason you might choose to take your pill later on in the day with dinner or a nighttime snack. We tend to eat more dietary fat later on in the day than at breakfast time, so timing your pill to coincide with these heavier meals might mean less uncomfortable side effects and more nutrient absorption.
If you do want to stick with having your fish oil pills early in the morning, you can always opt to add higher-fat ingredients to your breakfast like avocado or nut butter.
Should I Split Up My Dosage Of Fish Oil Pills?
No matter what time of day they choose to take their pills, some people find that taking their full daily dose of fish oil all at once still comes with unpleasant side effects like acid reflux and indigestion - otherwise known as “fishy burps.”
This is generally caused by the nature of fish oil itself. Since fish oil is a fatty substance, it doesn’t mix well with the water in our stomach, so it can lead to those burps and stomach discomfort.
So because fish oil pills can sometimes be hard to digest, some people choose to divide their daily omega-3 supplements into two or more doses. This can absolutely help minimize the gastrointestinal discomfort that comes from one full, big dose of fish oil all at once.
Your ability to split your dose might depend on the dosage of omega-3s you should be taking every day or the brands of fish oil supplements you purchase. Most fish oil pills should be swallowed whole, not punctured or cut in half, so the best circumstance under which you decide to split up your dose would be if you had two or more pills to take. Be sure to check in with your doctor to ensure that you’re taking the correct amount of fish oil for your own health needs.
If you decide to split up your fish oil dose, you still want to ensure that you are getting enough dietary fat with each of the meals that you eat with your supplement so that your body can properly absorb both doses.
When It Comes To Fish Oil, Stay Consistent
Regardless of whether you decide to take your omega-3 supplements early in the morning with breakfast, a couple of hours before heading to bed, or somewhere in between, the most important thing to remember is that you need to be consistent if you want to see the results.
The omega-3s from fish oil and other supplements don’t start working as soon as you take them. Just like you want to be eating a consistently healthy diet to get all of your key nutrients day after day, you also want to be taking your omega-3 supplements every day to yield any meaningful changes to your health.
For the best results, you can set an alarm or reminder for yourself. This will help you stay consistent with your omega-3 intake and give your cardiovascular system and brain all the tools it needs to fight inflammation and improve your health.* If you do end up missing a dose, you can simply take your pill as soon as you remember.
Key Takeaways On When To Take Fish Oil
The omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are best absorbed when paired with meals containing a decent amount of dietary fat.
Taking fish oil first thing in the morning is a seamless way to incorporate your omega-3 intake into your daily ritual, but taking it at night may make more sense depending on the kinds of meals you eat throughout the day.
If you experience gastrointestinal discomfort and fishy burps from taking your fish oil pills, you can divide your dose up as long as you pair each with enough dietary fat for proper absorption.
Be sure to consult with your doctor beforehand to ensure that you’re finding the best supplement ritual for your body’s own needs.