Does Fish Oil Expire? [Detection and Side Effects]

does fish oil expire tablets imageTo fight inflammation and to lower the risk of heart disease, your body needs Omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA from fish oil, but does fish oil expire? EPA and DHA can sometimes be low in the body of your patient which can be supplemented by “Fish Oil.” However, fish oils can spoil, and your patient may become sick because of it. Let’s cover the side effects of expired fish oil and how to detect it.

Side Effects of Consuming Expired Fish Oil

Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids for keeping the heart healthy and inflammation free. Fish oil supplements are mainly used when someone is not able to add fish to his/her daily or weekly diet.

There are many side effects to consuming a spoiled fish oil capsule.

  1. Side effects may include heartburn, improper stools, and UTI symptoms.  It’s possible that fish oil capsules become rancid after expiration. The leading causes of fish oil supplements to go bad over time can be due to changes in light exposure and temperature. It is advised not to consume the pills which smell bad or appear slightly discolored. Using rancid fish oil pills can make your patient feel very sick over time.
  1. Fish oils are also most often recommended by physicians and doctors. For example, doctors and physicians may suggest a patient take a supplement after a severe heart condition or a heart-attack or when someone has high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. When it comes to these conditions, taking an expired fish oil supplement can be very harmful because the fish oil may be less effective. The quality of the supplement slowly fades after the expiration date. Factors such as time, temperature, air and light can cause the fish oil to spoil slowly, making it less and less useful as a supplement over time. Thereby consuming an expired fish oil supplement can have a harmful effect on your body.
  1. There are also several considerations as well. Even if fish oil supplements are not expired, they can go bad if stored improperly without care. Light passing through fish oil can affect its safety. Thereby purchasing a supplement that is packaged in such a way that light cannot pass through it will be the recommended option.  Storing the pills in your fridge or freezer can keep the supplements fresh and dry. Consuming the cold supplements can also minimize several adverse stomach aching symptoms like an acid reducer.
  1. According to Jigsaw Health, manufacturers of fish oil pills often place a conservative expiration date on their tablets. The main reason is that they take factors like improper storage, shelf life, and shipping time into their consideration. Some suggest fish oil supplements can still be effective when stored in good condition even after they have expired. Thereby, consuming expired fish oil supplements can be a risky decision, and when your supplements are significantly past their expiration date such as a year or two, the risk of experiencing severe side effects is higher.

Steps for detecting expired fish oil

These steps will help you detect expired fish oil easily. Make sure your patient is also aware of these steps, as well as the side effects of the expired supplements.

Step 1: Open the bottle or the container of the capsules and smell the bottle of fish oils. If you get a sour, rotten fish or a foul smell of odor, it indicates rancidity, which means fish oil is spoiled. Get rid of those capsules.

Step 2: Scan the fish oil capsule. The color of the pill must be clear with a light golden color, and the coating should be transparent and even. The surface should not be soft but must be springy. The murkiness of the oil or capsules, blemishes or a soft capsule signals that your fish oil is spoiled. Please do not use such pills.

Step 3: Look for the expiration date on your bottle. Throw away any fish oil capsules that are out of date or expired.

Step 4: Consume a capsule as you usually would do with a glass of water. If you experience unpleasant aftertaste, the pill is spoiled. A fish oil capsule in excellent condition will have little to no taste. Try avoiding supplements which have strong flavors because that may be masking rancid oil.

Step 5: Finally, purchase fish oil capsules or other forms of fish oil only from reputable, good quality suppliers. A research paper from Norwegian Study published in 2010 found that the majority of the oils tested were excellent, while 20 percent should probably have never been put on sale.

So, does fish oil expire?

Fish oil capsules are good supplements when your patient cannot add fish to his/her diet. Does fish oil expire? Yes, they do expire. Educating your patients about the side effects of consuming an expired capsule, and showing them how to detect it, can make them avoid numerous adverse effects on their health. Both the BioScan MSA and BioScan SRT can help make a decision regarding fish oil for your patients. Contact us to learn more on how BioScan can be integrated into your practice.


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