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pharmaceutical grade fish oil

Fish Oil: With Food or Empty Stomach?

written by Vin Kutty

comments 117 comments

fish oil empty stomach full stomach

Should you eat fish oil pills with meals or on an empty stomach? Which is better?

Quick quiz:

Which of these foods help increase fish oil absorption?

  1. Fat-free yogurt and glass of orange juice
  2. Breakfast cereal with skim milk
  3. Scrambled eggs and bacon
  4. Fruit cup with granola

The answer is: scrambled eggs and bacon.


Eating fish oil supplements with meals that contain fat is preferable for absorption. More of the Omega-3 gets into your ‘system’ and more stays there over time when you eat your fish oil pills with food.

Some foods helps absorption better than others.

The fat present in your food trigger the release of Omega-3 digesting enzymes, which help get Omega-3 into cells, where they go to work.*

‘Waitaminit!’ you say, ‘It’s eating fat that got me into all this trouble in the first place! Now you tell me to eat more fat so the fish oil can get absorbed? You’re nuts!

Umm, may be, I am a little nuts.

But it’s hard to argue with facts. And the facts say, no, it’s not the fats that got you into trouble. It’s the juices, sodas, donuts, beer, bagel, chips, whole wheat bread and pasta. What’s nuts is that most doctors won’t tell you this!

Besides, you don’t have to eat any of that scary fats like trans fat or Omega-6-rich oils like corn oil or soy bean (vegetable) oils or canola oil. If you’re afraid of fats, just stick with olive oil. And pour it on generously.

Olive oil is a fat that most people, even nutritionists and doctors, can agree on. So go ahead, be generous with olive oil.

Don’t be afraid of fat – not all fats are bad for you.

The right kind of fat (and fewer donuts) would have kept you out of trouble.

The oils in your foods will help the fish oil get absorbed better, especially EPA Omega-3, the primary component in OmegaVia. EPA absorption is dependent on the amount of oils and fats. DHA is a tiny bit less so.

While all this applies to most fish oil, OmegaVia products, fortunately, is in a form (called rTG form Omega-3) that does not require fat to be properly absorbed.

What About Different Types of Fish Oil?

Occasionally, you’ll hear fish oil marketers say ‘Ours is the best because it is the best absorbed triglyceride form.’ They are partially correct.

Ethyl ester form of fish oil need to be taken with foods. Triglcyeride (rTG), phospholipid, monoglyceride form do not require you to eat foods to aid absorption.*

Just keep it simple: find an Ultra-concentrated fish oil pill with the most Omega-3 you can afford and eat with with a healthy, fatty meal. And you’re done.


Oh, in case science nerds are preparing to shoot me hate mail, yes, EPA and DHA Omega-3 are also absorbed preduodenally and via the portal vein to the liver. And these absorption routes are not mutually exclusive. So there! Whew!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



Join the conversation

  1. If consuming a fatty meal helps the absorption of the Omega-3 fatty acids, then why wouldn’t you recommend using the fish pills with 70% built in fish fat?

    • Hi Brennan – great question!

      You need a LOT of fat to help improve Omega-3 absorption. Like as much fat as in a few eggs or a steak or a tablespoon of olive oil. The little bit of non-Omega-3 fat in a 30% Omega-3 fish oil pill will not help that much. You’re still much better off taking a more concentrated fish oil on an empty stomach than a low-concentrate fish oil.

  2. Hi Mari – your doctor said ‘fish oil’ but meant ‘Omega-3. You need 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day. If you buy regular fish oil, 3000 mg of fish oil would only give you about 1200 mg of Omega-3. Get a ultra concentrated fish oil product and take it with meals. Did you doctor tell you stop drinking soda and juice? If not, he/she should have. I’d go one step beyond that and say remove all processed foods and most grains as well from your diet.

    • You shouldn’t be telling people how much fish oil they need per day. It depends on how much someone weighs and technically there isn’t really a recommended dose per day.

  3. I have been crushing your enteric coated capsules in my mouth while chewing on food because I have problems swallowing the capsules. I have had no GI problems and no problems tolerating the oil.

    Does consuming the fish oil this way rather than swallowing the capsules whole cause the fish oil to be destroyed or weakened by stomach juices? Will the oil be absorbed in the intestine as well as if the capsule are taken whole?

    • Hi Edward – the oil will be absorbed without any issues. Enteric coated pills are absorbed in the intestines. In you case, the oil will be absorbed in both the stomach and the intestines. I see no issues.

      You may be interested in OmegaVia Mini that we’re introducing in July/August 2013 – these are tiny pills with even more concentrated levels of EPA. Stay tuned.

  4. I’ve been reading about enteric coated fish oils some say its better absorbed others say not, also is it better to spread out dosages or take them all at once

    • Hi Terry – we get this question often. Here is some info that we posted on after a customer posted a related question there:

      (yes, OK to take it all at once, as long as it is with a meal)

      There is quite a bit of confusion about enteric coating and fish oils. We’ll try to quickly address some of them.

      Is enteric coating necessary for fish oils? No.

      Virtually everyone can digest fats and Omega-3 fatty acids easily, even those who have burping issues. The main reason why fish oil supplements are enteric coated is:

      To prevent odor, burping and reflux. Just because you burp it up does not mean you are not getting the benefits of Omega-3 – you are. The burping and odor become an inconvenience and socially awkward, so people stop taking the supplements. This is the #1 complaint people have about fish oil and this safe and natural technology eliminates the problem.

      Omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed well in both the stomach and upper intestines. Preventing the absorption of Omega-3 in the stomach by enteric coating does not mean that the Omega-3 is not absorbed in the intestines. Enteric coating dissolves and the contents of the capsule are exposed to the intestines within 10 to 15 minutes of exiting the stomach and reaching the duodenum in the upper intestine. It is normal for Omega-3 to be absorbed in the upper intestines, as this is where most of the enzymatic digestion takes place. The enzyme needed for Omega-3 digestion is called pancreatic lipase. There is some fatty acid absorption in the stomach but most of the it occurs in the small intestines because that’s where pancreatic lipase is secreted into.

      Comparing alcohol, sugar and fatty acid absorption makes the point a little clearer: if you drink a shot of tequila, the alcohol will be absorbed in the lining of your mouth, throat and stomach. Even if you spit out the tequila, a lot of it will be absorbed. That’s why alcohol levels in blood peaks so quickly and you feel it.

      It takes about an hour or two for glucose since a lot of it is absorbed in the stomach. This is why diabetics do post-prandial blood glucose measure an hour or two after meals.

      Not so with fatty acids. If you eat some salmon, it could take 5 to 6 hours before your blood Omega-3 levels peak. Why the big delay compared to alcohol? That’s because fatty acids are not absorbed in the mouth and only a little of it is absorbed in the stomach. The stomach is important for protein digestion, but not as important for fatty acids. Omega-3s start their absorption in the stomach, but since Omega-3s require an enzyme that is mostly found in the upper intestines, the salmon has to get to the intestines before most of it is absorbed. This process takes time – that’s why blood levels of Omega-3 peaks so long after consumption. If Omega-3s are only absorbed in the stomach, you would see a peak in blood levels much sooner than 5 to 6 hours. It only takes about 45 minutes to get to peak alcohol levels.

      The point is, using enteric coating on fish oil supplements does not inhibit absorption and may actually aid in absorption by delivering Omega-3s to where pancreatic lipase enzymes are present. This may be why the studies conducted on inflammatory conditions showed better outcomes with enteric coating.

      We hope this answers some of your questions.

  5. Hi Vin,

    I usually take my O-3 in the morning with whole grain Cheerios which has 2 gr total fat/cup and unsweetened coconut milk with 5 gr total fat/cup. Is this enough to help with 1,000mg O-3 absorption ?

    Also, my husband sometimes forgets to take his O-3 with dinner. How long after a meal is it still OK to take O-3 so there’s still enough fat from the meal in the system for absorption ? What about taking O-3 right before a meal ? Example, he takes a pill but then couldn’t eat for another 15, 30 minutes. Will this be considered taking O-3 on an empty stomach ?



    • Hi DPK – I’m having a hard time remembering your questions because my brain came to a screeching halt at ‘whole grain cheerios’! 🙂

      But, yes, 7 grams of fats will help with Omega-3 absorption. More would be better. May be toss the grain and try two eggs instead.

      You can still take the pill an hour or so after the meal. If you forget, no big deal – just take it with the next meal. 30 mins before a meal is probably too early because these pills often break up in 10-15 minutes after entering your stomach.

  6. Vin,

    I knew you would be shaking your head at the whole grain Cheerios 🙂 I do eat eggs, just not everyday.

    I’d like your thoughts on Ceylon cinnamon, not Cassia because of the high level of Coumarin, to lower high blood pressure. Does it work and by what mechanism ?



    • I don’t know. Have not read much on cinnamon and blood pressure. Cutting back on grains will help a whole lot more…that I know.

  7. Hi Vin,

    Great blog! I have a couple of questions about EPA.

    I’m 36 years old and have been taking a concentrated form (1 gram Omega 3, of which EPA = 400mg and DHA = 100mg) that I get from my local pharmacy — it’s their own brand, made by a private supplements label called Reliance). It’s molecularly distilled and I feel more calm and focused then ever, and can concentrate for hours on end, which is totally new for me. It’s changed my life completely.

    The dosage I was originally taking was 2 gel capsules, twice a day (so 1,600 mg EPA total per day) but I’ve recently upped it to 2 capsules three times a day (so 2,400 mg EPA total per day) as I’ve seen a lot on this blog and elsewhere about 4 grams per day being optimum. So I have a few questions…

    1. How much is too much? Should I increase to 4 grams a day for optimum benefits?

    2. I can literally feel it wear off when I miss a dose or two. How long does EPA stay in the brain / bloodstream? How long does it take to be absorbed? Should I be taking it 3 times a day rather than twice a day?

    3. I’m taking my doses with fatty meals, mostly containing lots of olive oil. Are there any other tips for better absorption?

    4. The brand I use says it’s molecularly distilled. Is that enough to guarantee low toxins and PCBs?

    Many thanks!

    • Hi Dave – great questions.

      4 grams is not optimum. Optimum would be 1 or 2 grams. If you optimize your diet, you may not even need Omega-3 supplementation. T

      EPA stays in your body for a few days. DHA sticks around in the brain for a couple of years. EPA absorption does not take long, as little as 4-6 hours. It does not make much difference if you take it once a day or twice, as long as you are taking it with meals, you are OK.

      No way to know if your product has toxins, unless you can view a third-party lab test results, like IFOS Consumer Report.

  8. Thanks Vin, really helpful reply.

    So just to clarify.. Optimum dose is 1 or 2 grams of Omega3 fish oil in total? (My capsules contain 1g oil of which 600mg is EPA/DHA.) Or 1-2g of EPA max per day?

    I tried the OmegaVia EPA 500 as I know it’s a highly purified product and therefore safer for long term use, but for some reason it didn’t work quite as well for me. Any suggestions why? I wondered whether it might be to do with the enteric coating, or the absence of even a small amount of DHA. Or perhaps the excess fish oil in my current supplement helps absorption? Happy to give it another go if I can figure out what I was doing wrong. Maybe extra olive oil with each dose!

    You’re right, by the way. Krill oil was not effective at all for me. I don’t buy the whole “lower doses for phospholipids” theory.

    My diet is excellent (raw kale, broccoli, whole grains, quinoa, Alaskan salmon, avocados, nuts, fruit juices, etc.) I also take a daily B-complex, zinc picolinate, magnesium and D3. Things have improved VASTLY over the past 6 months. It’s extraordinary. Any other tips? My main issues have been mood and behavior.


    • Hi Dave – optimum dose is 1 to 2 grams of Omega-3. Not 1 to 2 grams of fish oil. Notice the difference. Keep your EPA under 2 grams. If you find that you need more to notice an effect, then I’d look at your diet. You’re probably too high in Omega-6, sugar and refined flour – the three villains of modern diet.

      Not sure why EPA 500 did not work for you. It can’t be the lack of DHA because DHA that you take today will stick around for a couple of years and if you had been taking an EPA + DHA supplement before trying EPA 500, you had plenty of DHA. Enteric coating only prevents the pill from dissolving in the stomach. That won’t matter because virtually all Omega-3 gets absorbed in the small intestines and not the stomach. If you took EPA 500 with meals, it should be absorbed well. A teaspoon of olive oil (or simply eating a meal with lots of fat) helps.

      Your diet contains some excellent foods, but it is not what I would consider excellent. I would completely nix the whole grains – there is nothing healthy about whole grains that you can’t get from vegetables. I’d add some seaweed to counter the mild goitrogenic effects of kale and broccoli, especially if that’s a big part of your diet. Wild salmon, avocados and nuts are fantastic. I’d nix the fruit juices too – repalce it with dark colored berries. If you’re not a pescatarian, think about incorporating pastured egg yolks and (gasp!) liver from grass-fed lamb or beef. Consider adding more starchy tubers like potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro etc. These feed your probiotics and they play a huge role in mood balance. Focus on fixing and healing the gut – that’s where more happy mood chemicals are secreted. Gluten in wheat and poor probiotic status makes it very hard to be happy and balanced as your body was meant to be. Consider taking Bob Red Mill Unmodified Potato starch – half teaspoon a day at first and over a month or so, work up to 1 or 2 tablespoons – this will feed your gut flora.

  9. Gosh, this is so helpful Vin. Thank you.

    I’ll give the OmegaVia EPA 500 another go when I finish my current bottle and will make sure I’m taking it with enough olive oil / healthy fats.

    I didn’t realise the whole grains weren’t so great. I’ve been sticking to low GI grains like rye, barley, brown/wild rice, oats, but will switch to vegetables if you think that’s better. I was also steering clear of potatoes because I was afraid of an insulin spike from the high GI, though I did read somewhere that (ironically) sweet potatoes have a lower GI. Doesn’t the starch in potatoes convert to sugar too quickly?

    I currently take a probiotic and enzyme supplement and eat lots of live organic yogurt. Is this good?

    What’s so special about the egg yolk? I make fresh mayonnaise regularly (recipe = 1 raw organic egg yolk, 1 clove of garlic and lots of extra virgin olive oil).

    I drink pure pomegranate juice (not from concentrate) and fresh grapefruit juice for the Vitamin C. Are you saying I should switch to something like cranberry for the Vit C instead? What’s in the “dark berries” and is grapefruit too sweet? I’ll miss that one!

    I eat toasted seaweed snacks, but not sure if the iodine content is as high as with raw seaweed. Should I consider am iodine supplement? What else is good for thyroid support? Chromium perhaps?

    Last question… I eat lots of raw / sprouted pumpkin seeds. Are they high in Omega 6?

    Thanks again! Really appreciate it.

    • Hi Dave – yes, grains, whole or not, come with a lot of baggage. Gluten is the tip of the iceberg. If you have insulin resistance, prediabetes or diabetes, then grains will push you over the edge and likely potato will as well. Sweet potatoes are better. Between potatoes and grains, I’d go with potatoes ANY DAY!

      Probiotic supplements are OK, but it’s what you EAT (soluble fiber from veggies, fruits, nuts and beans) that determines how much they thrive in your gut. Homemade yogurt is OK if you tolerate dairy. Look for a blog coming up in a week or so on this website.

      Egg yolks and liver are nature’s multivitamins. Both are at the top of my list of most nutrient dense foods. Actually they are a lot more! Eggs have a lot of nutrients that you’ll never see in multivitamins. Aim for 1 egg yolk per day.

      Eat pomegranates and grapefruits. Skip the juice – juices are just sodas with a halo. You’ll get just as much or more C plus a whole lot more nutrients and less of a sugar spike. Dark berries have a lot of antioxidants, polyphenols, anthocyanins yet they are low in sugar.

      If you eat seaweed snack, that’s great, a little more may be in order. If you decide to supplement, go with LifeExtension’s Sea Iodine.

      Yes, all nuts and seeds are high in Omega-6, but if you sprout them, the omega ratios change quickly. Sprouted grains and seeds are OK.

  10. Wow, sounds like I thought I was eating a more perfect diet than I was. Gonna need to make some changes. I’ll have an egg yolk a day and start buying sprouted pumpkin seeds instead of fresh. Am sad to see the grapefruit juice go! If I squeeze it myself will that make any difference?

    Last few questions just so I’m clear, then I’ll put the diet to the test…

    1. Are there ANY gluten-free grains that are ok for me? I like cereal in the mornings but could stick to steel cut oats for breakfast and wild quinoa for slow-burn energy to see me through the day. Otherwise it’s just beans and vegetables from dawn till dusk. 😉

    2. Will Slippery Elm and L-Glutamine help repair my gut?

    3. What teas do you recommend? I have an excellent apothecary near me and have been experimenting with ginkgo, passionflower, hawthorn, peppermint, rhodiola, holy basil, lemon balm, etc.

    4. For dessert, am I ok with a little (85% cocoa) raw chocolate?

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    • Hi Dave –

      Juices of any kind are just coca-cola with a halo.

      As far as gluten free grains, you can try small quantities of white rice if you are not pre-diabetic or insulin resistance (most of us, sadly, are!)

      Slippery elm and glutamine could help, but you will need to stop the harm being done to your gut with gluten and fructose from the juices. Gut will not heal overnight – it is a somewhat slow process. Effect of gluten sticks around for a couple of months.

      Teas – I’m a bit out of my element here, but green tea of any kind early in the day should be fine. Not sure about others.

      Yes, 85% cocoa chocolate is fine, but don’t take it late in the day or evenings since there is theobromine and some caffeine in it.

  11. i’m taking omega-3 500mg DHA, i take them with empty stomach or a little food such as slice of bread, when i take those, my head feel light and my brain stimulated like i’m drinking a coffee, and also, less fatigue and sleepy as usual, and i’m less yawn compared before i take them, it helps me wake up earlier in the morning and my anxiety also wears off a bit, it is also overcome my bad mood, is it normal? could you explain it?

    • Hi Zakir – I think your symptoms are probably unrelated to your supplement use. To be safe, get a doctor’s opinion.

  12. Greetings Vin!

    I’ve learned so much about omega 3 from your blog. I appreciate your non biased approach. Thanks for sharing your knowledge .

    I wanted to ask, in reference to better absorption, is it ok to take omega 3 with coconut oil (versus olive oil)?

    Also what is the ratio quantity? How much oil do I need to take with the omega 3? Or can I just eat a meal prepared with coconut/olive oil.

    Again, thanks so much for all the great info on omega 3!!

    • Hi Sunshine – yes, of course, coconut oil is great and you can certainly take it with fish oil. There is no ratio required – just take the Omega-3 with a meal. Keep it simple.

  13. Hi, great article. I’m new to this omega 3 and starting to read many articles including yours. I’m wondering how much olive oil (in Milliliters maybe?) i have to take when i take omega 3 supplement?

    thanks and more power.

    • Hi Ronald – if you take your Omega-3 with a meal, you won’t need to measure specific amount of olive oil. This approach does not make sense to me. But if you must, a teaspoon of olive oil together with the fish oil will help.

  14. I’m just getting into the fish oil supplementation and found this site (which is the best out there) and want to find a good bang for the buck olive oil to add to my diet. When I go to the store the selection and origin of oils is overwhelming. Please advise your preferred brand and type of olive oil, and also if you sell one I’ll buy it. I don’t mind spending the money as long as its well spent. Thank you.

    • Hi Mike – I use Bertolli Extra Light olive oil. I’m getting the product analyzed to see exactly what’s in it. It seems to be good…

  15. Thanks Vin, so you don’t use the extra virgin oil? I was under the impression it was the best. Also is there a benefit to the Extra Light?

    • Hi Mike – nothing wrong with extra virgin olive oil. Actually it’s very healthy and can be used with salads. I find it too strong to cook with and it does not hold up to heat very well. The ‘extra light’ oils have less flavor and hold up to heat a little better.

  16. Hi, Vin.
    I’ve been taking Omega-3 with 400mg of EPA and 300mg of DHA daily (or the other way around) after eating a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. I’ve been reading the comments and responses and noticed a lot of your responses to not eat any more grains because there’s not enough fat in there to help absorb the Omega-3 into our system. Do I only increase the fat when I take Omega-3 or do I need to increase the fat in all my meals each day? Sorry, I’m just a little confused. Thanks!

    • Hi Gabe – you have completely misunderstood me. I tell people to avoid grains (including oats) because they increase blood glucose and insulin, causing an increase in triglcyerides and driving fat storage and obesity. That grains contains some ‘anti-nutrients’ and are absent in healthy fats is secondary. I think increasing the amount of healthy fats and protein in all your meals, regardless of whether you’re taking Omega-3 or not, and decreasing grains is a good start.

  17. “nothing wrong with extra virgin olive oil. Actually it’s very healthy and can be used with salads. I find it too strong to cook with and it does not hold up to heat very well. The ‘extra light’ oils have less flavor and hold up to heat a little better.”
    Vin, I don’t fry anything, I want to top already prepared foods with olive oil. If you think this is a good idea please advise on which type to use.

    • Hi Mike – if you’re not frying, then any kind of olive oil will do. Try any of the extra virgin olive oils – I don’t have specific brand recommendations yet.

  18. I appreciate your article.
    This information is helpful enough, but
    can you leave some titles of the exact studies
    (that found omega 3 was absorbed 8 times better along with other fats
    than it was in the absence of them) ?

  19. can i take o3 fish oil capsules after 10 min of meal.because with meal i do not like to drink water .could u please tell me about this.can i take it with hot milk .

  20. I suffer from high cholesterol LDL 4.81 and low HDL at 1.39. I am 58 years old. I recently had a minor stroke (TIA).
    My question is what should I eat with oily fish such as Salmon?
    And what should I avoid eating with oily fish?

    • Hi Karl – eat lots of non-starchy vegetables, some meats, eggs, nuts and a little bit of fruit. DO NOT drink any beverage with calories or anything sweet. DO NOT eat anything with sugar or flour. In other words, eat things that were alive a couple of days ago. This is harder than it sounds, but this is the way the human body was meant to be fed.

  21. Hi Mike – six days of using Tylenol does a lot of bad things like wipe out most of your body’s glutathione, which is the body’s key detoxifying agent, but I am not aware of it raising triglycerides that much.

    If you’re on a deadline for lowering triglycerides, then I’d do two things:
    1) Get rid of all wheat, grains, flour, refined carbs, juices, sodas
    20 Take 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day.

    You have about a month – let me know how you do.

    • Hi,Thanks very much..I want to lower it because i cannot see how it got so high..i.have been eating healthy and dont get it.Stress?? Who knows..just had beef for the first time in over a month,vegtables,salad and water with a 1,500 MG triple strength fish oil pill and 250 mg Niacin.. Going for a 30 minute walk now.Thank You,

      • Hi Mike – while you eat a lot of good stuff, you still eat bread, drink juice, chips and opt for low-fat mayo etc. These are all considered healthy things to do, but it is not. These cause TG to spike. Stress causes a LOT of other problems, but increasing TG is not one of them. Goes back to your diet. Plain and simple.

  22. I cut out all breads,potatoes,chips,rice and sugars..only thing i yreat myself now with is a small chunk.of 70% Cocoa dark chocolate..heres my plan.

    Breakfast-A Banana or yogurt with Niacin 250 Mg and 1,500 Fish oil

    lunch choices are an apple with sliced almonds or sunflower seeds ect
    Tuna out of the can with nothing added or sardines in xtra virgin.olive oil.

    Dinner-Beef,turkey,chicken with a side of vegtable mix of brocolli,spinich,asparagus spears ect or Salmon in a tossed salad.

    funny how.the body works..And BTW i love your research..your a genius and thanks for all this fantastic info Vin.

    • Hi Mike – here is a better meal plan:

      Breakfast: scrambled eggs or spinach omelet, half a cup of berries, a few nuts (macadamias, walnuts, almonds). Notice banana and yogurt is gone…unless it’s full-fat and sugar-free greek yogurt.
      Lunch: Tuna/sardines in olive oil. Veggies – broccoli, carrots, spinach…or an avocado. A couple of squares of dark chocolate. Notice apple is gone. Stick to dark berries for fruits.
      Dinner: yours is fine.

      Snacks: get yourself some nuts or EPIC bars. I never get on a plane without a couple of EPIC bars.

      When I ate ‘healthy whole grains,’ my triglyceride was an ominous 666. Now it’s close to 100.

  23. Hi Jerrica – there are lots and lots of information on this website about triglycerides. Use the search bar on top to search for it, start with these two articles: (and both of you need to watch the video at the end)

    My triglyceride was close to 700 when I was in my 30s. It’s close to 100 now.

  24. I got a bit confused. O-3 is best taken with a meal high in fat and yet you also talk about taking it on an empty stomach in one of your answers. Is taking O3 on an empty stomach effective? Or is it best taken with food. I used to take mine with a smoothie but there’s not much fat in there.

    Lastly you keep mentioning cutting grains. Do you mean all grains or only gluten containing grains. A link to the article would be helpful 🙂

    • Hi Lawrie – Omega-3, regardless of type, is always better with a meal. Preferably one that contains some fat.

      By cutting grains, I mean most grains, especially wheat and foods made with wheat flour.

      • Thanks for the fast reply.
        PS I enjoy the blend of facts with a conversational tone and humor. Your articles are great to read

  25. Hi Vin..I thought you mentioned whole grains made with wheat flour as a 1st ingredient is okay?? I eat 12 whole grain tuna sandwiches qi
    th nothing but lettuce,tomatoe,chopped onion and a squirt of lemon juice..only have been drinking water for a year..My TG levels went from 530 to 210 in 6 months now.Plus i excersiced,long walks and lost 26 pounds in 4 months..

    Breakfast i was only eating a company called morning star

    dinner was salad and salmon,chicken and veggies and or whole grain rice.

    Snacks were either walnuts,dates or a couple squares of Dk Chocolate 90% ..

    • Hi Mike – if I said that whole grains are OK, I mis-typed! Please send me the link where you saw this. If I’m thinking clearly, I would NEVER, EVER tell anyone to eat whole grains or that it is OK. Whole grains contain NOTHING essential that you cannot find in veggies, fruits, nuts and tubers. Absolutely nothing. Having said that, I occasionally eat some white rice, but no other grains. I’m not advocating a strict low-carb diet for everyone…just diabetics and those with very high triglycerides. Congrats on the all the big changes and successes.

      PS: pass on the Morningstar soy stuff. It isn’t food. It is an artificial product.

  26. I thank everyone for posting your concerns bc doing so gave me a lot of info for myself and others to share it with. A lot of info confirmed research id done on my own that your doctor dont tell you about. Thanks again everyone this was so helpful.

  27. Hi and thnx for the informations

    I’m taking 10ml of fish oil which 2.5 gramms are omega 3s ethyl ester and more specific(EPA 1518-DHA 1012).Recommended use of the suplemment is one tblsp with a meal.

    You suggest a high fat meal to enchance the absorption but im concerned about using olive oil and egg yolks cause theyre high in omega 6 and from what i have read here they antagonize its other.

    So my questions are three:
    1st. Should i use raw olive oil with my egg salad?(3 whole eggs and raw shredded cabbage).

    2nd. Second should i ditch the cabbage completly and eat just the eggs plus 1 tblsp of olive oil and the fish oil?

    3rd. What sources of carbs do you recommend beside grains (which im going to eliminate next week) because im doing cardio and without carbs i feel sluggish.

    • Hi Fury – Olive oil is not high in Omega-6. It is perfectly safe to consume. It is perfectly fine to addition to your egg salad. Do not avoid vegetables of any kind. The best sources of carbs are: roots, tubers, vegetables, and fruits. DO NOT go low on carbs unless you are diabetic.

      • Thnx a lot for the response you kinda relieved me because i was anxious that i might wont get any benefit from the fish oil.

      • I would also like to add that grains are the cause of epidemic obesity and a lot of degenerative disorders.From my personal experience when i cut grains and dairy within a day or two my perforance increase and i loose weight.My shoulders look rounder and bigger and my overall body looks firmer.That cannot be coincidence cause those foods somehow mess our testosterone levels.So im gonna eliminate them or try have them only on a cheat day.

  28. Hi,

    I heard from doctors and people that taking omega-3 is good, i started taking omega-3 which contains 300 MG of EPA/ DHA 1 pill and also Omega-369 1 pill at dinner time. I observed that I couldnt sleep for 6 hours, after taking these omega 3 and omega 369, I am just wondering, should i take with after noon meal or night dinner. I eat dinner more than after noon meal.

    • Hi Raj – Omega-3s usually do not disrupt sleep patters, but you could always take it in the morning and see what happens. Stop taking the 3-6-9. You already get too much Omega-6 in your diet and Omega-9 is non-essential. Focus on just the Omega-3. Selling 3-6-9 combo is a marketing trick.

  29. HI Vin, my question is, can one take a daily dose of 647mg EPA/253mg DHA ( combined in 1 capsule form) with breakfast and then take 1 or 2 Tablespoon of Flaxseed oil with lunch – usually I mix it in with cottage cheese. Are these levels safe to take on a daily basis? I worry because I just read somewhere that it could cause bleeding? Appreciate your time!

    • Hi Abid – as long as it is taken 10 or 15 minutes before or after a meal, it makes no difference. Better to avoid taking it on an empty stomach hours before or after a meal.

  30. i’m taking fish oil pills while dieting and exercising to lose weight fast and i’m only 17 how many pill should i take? and what food should i avoid eating at all?

    • Hi Maryjoe – fish oil pills will not help much with losing weight. Dieting and exercising will help. If you want to lose weight, avoid sodas, juices, sugar, candy, and all processed foods that are made with flour. Focus on veggies, seafood, meats, eggs, fruits, and nuts. Besides the nuts, everything you eat should have been living during the last week or two.

  31. I am taking 2 table spoon of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar with fresh lime juice on empty stomach everyday and for break fast taking organic rolled oats with 2 table spoon of Flex Seeds…please advice isit safe or will this increase my triglycerides levels. Thank You

    • Hi Kumar – the apple cider vinegar and lime juice won’t increase triglycerides (and their benefits are somewhat questionable) but the oats will.

  32. Hey,i’m new to this.what does ‘take fish oil pills with meals’ mena? Does it mean that i have to eat my meal with the pills ? For an example,i eat a slice of bread and then just swallow the pills without water ? Can i take the pills with water ? I have been doing that for 2 days. Can you explain to me ? I don’t understand

    • Hi Sofia – I assume you read the article above. It means that you should take your fish oil pills just before or right after breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It means do not take on an empty stomach. Yes, take with a full glass of water.

  33. Hi, I am confused and couldn’t get an answer. Can I mix the fish oil into hot porridge to feed my toddler? Or not over than any heat temperature? He is very refused to the fishy taste. Thanks.

    • Hi Jean – getting kids to take Omega-3 is difficult because most fish oils are slightly rancid and the odor/taste is off-putting. Your best bet is to find a product that is specifically designed for children. But if you want to try mixing it with porridge, that should be fine. A little heat is OK.

    • Jean, have you tried SISU brand -Kids’ Omega 3 Bursts? My son never cared for the fishy tastes either, but for some reason loves these & asks if he can have more (not kidding, lol). However – Vin – maybe you could speak to this brand (whether it would be of choice or not), firstly? 😉

      • SISU brand is fine for kids. But they are not really ‘kids’ products but rather flavored softgels. Good kids products look and taste like candy but have a solid dose of Omega-3. Gummies are everywhere but dont have enough Omega-3 to make much of a difference in your kids’ health.

  34. Can i eat one capsule of fishoil daily? And can i eat fishoil capsules only in winters? And after eating fishoil after how much time can i drink milk? … thanks 😊

  35. I’m taking O3 after dinner nd sodium ascorbate before breakfast..& plan to take vit A and E..and also planning to hv vit.D asap.
    My question is can i take these stuffs daily? Can u gave idea about it in proper taking.. By the way my BVits. is coming one of this day.
    My last question is, is Alaska life Natural is safe products and not cheating the ingredients? Coz i’m.planning to order vit.e.. Tnx so.much

    • Hi Nikki – there is no harm in taking these ingredients daily, provided the amounts are within daily recommended levels. I am not familiar with the brand of product you mention.

  36. Hi Karyn – Aspirin and Omega-3 are two of the most studies substances in health science. Both are proven entities. Taking aspirin TOGETHER with Omega-3 has been shown to produce more potent anti-inflammatory (proresolving) molecules than when either is taken alone. Low-dose aspirin has been shown to improve heart health and so has Omega-3. Saying the benefits are due to blood-thinning is selling both short. It may have little to do with blood thinning and more with their anti-inflammatory properties. Having said that, there is some blood-thinning with aspirin. Blood-thinning from Omega-3 is either very minimal or only occurs at very high doses. Should you take both together? That’s a decision for your doctor, as aspirin is not a nutritional supplement and I cannot give you advice on medicines.

    As for risk from too much Omega-3, well, that depends on how much is too much. If you take 3000 mg per day, you should be fine. But most people can feel noticeable benefits with 1000 to 2000 mg daily. If you need a lot more than that, then it is time to revisit your diet and see why your inflammation is so high. If you have to take 5000 plus mg daily, you may have issues with oxidative load, especially if you are taking partially rancid fish oils.

  37. Hi
    I am 56 yrs, diabetic since 23 yrs. Taking med for blood pressure also. Now triglycerides is 300. What diet plan you recommend?

    • Hi Anil – you need to work with a dietitian in your area to address dietary issues. I can only provide rough, general directions here with one or two sentences. To you, I’d say: triglycerides are largely a result of a high starch and high grain consumption, combined with inadequate physical activity.

  38. I started Omega-3 today. Just want to know if I can take this capsule in the middle of a meal with water and after the meal, can I take hot milk?

  39. Hi,
    I currently have Usana & Amway fish oil capsules, which are typically for adults. I would like to start giving them to my 3-yr old child (on the autism spectrum) but am unsure if the dosage is safe. Should I give the full capsule dosage or half? And how often per day?
    Please advise.

    • Hi Joan – check with your kid’s pediatrician first. 3-year-olds can usually handle 300 to 500 mg Omega-3 per day without any issues. If you skip a day or two, no worries.

  40. Hi Asif – as long as you are taking the Vascepa as directed – with meals, twice a day – then I don’t see any issues with absorption. But since this is a prescription medication, check with your pharmacist.

    • Hi Ray – it is best to take EPA with some food. Eating triggers the release of digestive enzymes that help digest EPA. Even if taken on an empty stomach, all Omega-3 are very well digested and absorbed. There is really no need to aid in absorption.

    • Hi Jesnnie – any meal is fine, but as long as the meal has some small amount of fat, it lets the body know that it needs to secrete some fat-digesting enzymes. This helps digest the Omega-3 fats. OmegaVia oil is a form of Omega-3 that is equally well absorbed on an empty stomach or any type of meal. However, most other fish oils need to be taken with some food.

  41. What is your take on sprouted grains like Ezekiel bread is made from. No flour. I know we should eat a certain way but I like the taste of food and enjoy eating it. I can’t just eat to live. But I still want to make good choices within the food I enjoy. I so love my one piece of Ezekiel toast with avocado and 2 pasture raised eggs and some raw cheese for breakfast.

    I have had stomach surgery and Can’t take your fish oil capsules with food or I can’t eat but a few bites of food. What is the maximum amount of time after eating when I can take the fish oil caps and still get the benifit of my fat meal to help the fish oil?

    Also you mention you occasional eat some white rice, isn’t brown rice better if you are going to have some rice?

    • Hi granny6 – sprouted grains are OK if you absolutely must. There is nothing in grains that you can’t get from vegetables. And vegetables, especially root vegetables ought to be our key source of starch, not grains. But if you really crave it, a little treat here and there is probably fine, just enough to keep you from feeling deprived.

      If you’ve had stomach surgery (gastric bypass, I assume), then taking enteric coated fish oil pills probably not a good idea due to its reliance on a full intestinal length. So, you’ll need to try a liquid Omega-3 in small doses.

      White rice vs brown rice. If white rice is cigarette, brown rice is filtered cigarette. There is a little more fiber in brown rice, but it’s just as bad when it comes to the end result. Like you, I sometimes eat stuff I ought not to. It’s a slippery slope and I quickly notice it around my middle.

  42. Hi Vin,
    I actually had my stomach stapled not gastric bypass. This was around 30 years ago. Back then you qualified if you were 50 lbs overweight now I believe you need to be 100 lbs and they no longer offer stomach stapling just a bypass or gastric band. So, I have my full intestinal length. I’m assuming it’s ok for me to take Omegavia.

    I’m sorry but I’m just not an eat to live person like I should be. I try to eat organic as much a possible and I eat grass fed meat and dairy and some raw dairy that I could find. I don’t skimp on my food budget in order to get better quality of what I’m eating. I’d rather skimp somewhere else. I go to the farmers market year round and I shop on line for some raw items I can’t find local and I go to several different grocery stores just to get the better versions of organic and grass fed or raw items.

    I take several supplements including your brand of vitamin K2 and Omegavia and Now brand vitamin A that you have recommended on this site.

    I love the taste of certain foods and so I like to have some of them occasionally. As I said, I’m someone who just can’t eat to live. I am hypothyroid so I have to be careful not to eat too much crucificrous veggies and for some reason spinach is hard for me to eat very much of because of the stomach stapling. There are a few foods I can’t eat but a bite or two of as well. Meat is hard for me, I can’t seem to have much at one time.

    But I understand why people should eat to live. I wish I was one of them but I’m not. I’ve tried but I always cave in at some point and can’t do it anymore. I believe that’s why weight loss diets don’t work. Most people can’t stay on them long term and once they go off they gain all the lost weight back and then some. I’ve maintained my weight for many many years now. I usually just fluctuate within 3 lbs. I weight myself daily even though experts say not to do that but for me it keeps me in check.

    Because I can’t eat a lot of any foods, I take supplements to try to help pick up the slack in lack of nutrients. I would be happy to hear any advice that you may have of additional supplements you may think would help me besides the products I listed.

    • Hi Granny6 – if you looking to support healthy thyroid, try taking snacking on seaweed (they’re all the rage, I hear) or take algae-based iodine supplements. Eat an occasional Brazil nut – the selenium content in them is also important for proper thyroid levels.

  43. I do take a prescription medication for hypothyroidism. Is desiccated thyroid called Armour. That is the only prescription medication I take. I’m actually on what some might call a high dose of 4 grains. For me, it’s probably the only prescription medication I’d take. I personally feel most percription meds don’t fix the problem and just address the symptoms along with so many side effects and used long term can cause damage to organs. Others my disagree but that’s how I feel for myself. I’d rather use supplements and use my diet and use natural alternive treatment of any illnesss/disease. I love your advice on fish oil and other needed supplements.

  44. Hi Vin,
    Since you thought I had a gastric bypass you didn’t answer my question about fish oil Capsules. I have the full length of my full intestine length. What is the maximum amount of time after eating that I can I take Omegavia capsules and still get the benefit of the fat in my meal to help the fish oil?

    Thank you

    • Hi Granny6 – sorry about that. I think it’d be best if you took it within an hour of a meal. Preferable within a half hour.

  45. How I have enjoyed reading this tonight. You have been so very helpful to me concerning Omega 3 and Virgin Olive Oil. I’ve just started taking Omega 3 (1150 mg) three days ago, so I stopped taking my 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil. Now, I will return to 1/2 tsp. of olive oil per day. (I take 1 Omega 3 with breakfast and 1 with dinner.) I like to take a good multiple vitamin daily as I know I don’t eat as well as desired due to some allergies (NUTS). However, my multiple vitamin contains 50 mg. of magnesium oxide and after taking it daily for several days, I get “loose bowels.” Please tell me when/how I can best fit this multiple vitamin into my schedule. Also, should I take the low dosage cinnamon capsule that I have, and if so, when? (I am “so called pre-diabetic: I’ve been managing it somewhat with exercise and diet, but I now know that I need to cut out the cereals. Help!!! Thanks so much. Sandra

    • Hi Sandra – most people will not experience digestive distress with just 50 mg of Magnesium oxide. It usually takes more, but our bodies are unique. This is what I dont like about Magnesium oxide. It is poorly absorbed. There is not enough of it in multi vitamins. And when you DO take enough, it messes with your gut. You may want to read this piece: I suggest you take a gentler form of Magnesium. Our sister company makes one that’s gentler and better absorbed than magnesium oxide:

      Cinnamon is not a cure or preventive for pre-diabetics. There is some promising science, but with pre/diabetes, it’s best to combine medication from your doctor along with a sugar-free and grain-free diet (that is mostly veggies and meats) along with LOTS of exercise.

  46. i understand that it is best for people to take pills like fish oil and vit d with fatty meals but what happens if you take it on an empty stomach? as much i would love to have enough time to cook and eat breakfast every morning, this isn’t the case so i just take fish oil without food but with water. does this mean it’s not absorbing or not absorbing well? does it process in the body differently?

    • Hi J – fish oil will still be absorbed do everything it is supposed to do, even if you take it on an empty stomach, but possibly a little less, depending on the type of oil.

  47. Hi Vin – Thanks for the article. I take high-strength fish oil every day, in the morning, for a mood disorder. Fish oil has changed my life. 3g in the morning, 3g at night, 90% of it EPA & DHA. For the last few years, I have deliberately taken it with higher-fat meals, and it makes such a difference when doing so. My doctors noticed my cholesterol was higher than normal. I explained the fish oil & higher fat and they said, ‘not to worry, you’re still young’.

    So I want to take it at breakfast with the highest amount of fat, so most of it ‘gets in’ to keep me balanced throughout the day, but not to jeopardise my health via high cholesterol levels. Studies show upwards of 30/40g fat, which is a lot. What foods do you most recommend? Eggs? Olive oil? Avocados? Salmon? Cheese? I usually take it with cheese – which has the most impact in my experience – but I want to know the best balance for both absorption & healthy-ness. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, M

    • Hi Messer – first, I’m glad you’re having a positive experience with Omega-3. If you’re taking ultra concentrated Omega-3, chances are that virtually all of it will be absorbed. The body is very good at absorbing Omega-3 and you don’t need to worry much about deliberately adding more fat to your meals to help aid absorption. Simply take the Omegas with your meal…if it has some fat, then fine. I would not go out of my way to add a certain amount of fat in fear that the Omegas might not otherwise absorb well.

      All the foods you mention are very nutrient dense…continue to eat them, along with a high veggie diet. If your doctor is worried about cholesterol, perhaps consume more olive oil instead of saturated fats.

  48. If I take omega 3 capsules after dinner is it alright to drink whole milk afterwards? And how much time should I wait to drink the milk after taking omega 3 capsules?

  49. I use fish oil in liquid form 800MG EPA / 500MG DHA..

    However i am concerned about the sweat odours it costs as i live in a humid country.

    will mixing the liquid oil with food and eat it as part of the fodo be better or taking the oil orally straight is better for absorption?

    • Hi Mike – the issue of sweat odor may be an individual response. It is possible that if you change brands or to a different dosage, you may experience some odor relief. You may be able to take a more concentrated form of fish oil, so you need less oil but get the same amount of Omegas.

      As for taking fish oil with food, yes, that is always better.

  50. Vin, you’re a wealth of knowledge and personal ‘health-hacking’ experience. I myself have been on a variable, cyclic ketogenic diet (5 days animal-based, egg-heavy keto followed by 2 days with white rice/higher carb dinners, still low-carb in the morning as I feel best) with high-fat fish like wild-caught sardines and salmon most mornings with my big pot of hot black coffee. I wake up and crave the fish and oil since my body runs better and better on fat and I no longer have digestive problems like I did when I ate prebiotic plant fiber and other plant carb products. Now, I know heat destroys EPA+DHA to some extent, but if I drink my big 30oz very-hot pot of French press coffee at the same time as my daily fish, should I be concerned about absorption? You said Omega 3s are absorbed in the small intestine, so I’m just checking. I also take a good enzyme called MassZymes during this meal and my second big meal. Thanks!

    • Hi Lia – drinking hot coffee with your fish or fish oil will not hurt absorption or health benefits.

      I’m glad keto works for you. It did not work for me at all – it does not work for everyone. I tried full-on keto from 2009-10. It was a disaster. My thyroid levels plummeted and I could barely get up from bed. Developed insomnia. And probably starved by gut microbiome, which are essential for health and which require plant fibers and polyphenol. That your gut did not do well with prebiotic fiber tells me that there may be gut issues you need to address. The problem is not the prebiotic – it may be your gut. Please work with an Integrative Medicine MD to get this looked at. Even people who do well on keto need soluble fiber and polyphenols for maintaining gut health. Polyphenols are less likely to cause GI issues, so look into Curcumin, Green tea, blueberries extract, cocoa, etc.

  51. Hi Vin,

    If I had my gallbladder removed, should I still take omega-3 supplements with food, or should I take them on an empty stomach? For me, a high fat meal will not trigger the release of digestive enzymes, because I don’t have a gallbladder to store/release the enzymes.


    • Hi Brian – what you need is an Omega-3 supplement that is in the ‘free fatty acid’ form. This is because free fatty acid do not require digestive enzymes. But there’s a catch – Omega-3 supplememts in the free fatty acid form are not available and if they were, it would be ridiculously expensive and prone to rancidity. The rancidity part is what kept us from launching a free fatty acid form of OmegaVia.

      However there are a couple of options for you: first is a monoglyceride form Omega-3 (a little easier to digest than triglyceride form like OmegaVia and far easier to digest than ethyl ester form of Omega-3 commonly found on and most drug stores). Myoxcience makes a good (but expensive) one:

      Your other option is an Omega-3 drug called Epanova. It is a free fatty acid Omega-3. But you’ll need to talk to your doctor about it and determine if that is right for you:

      Hope this helps.

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