Can fish oil trigger swelling?

Once swelling occurs after taking fish oil supplements, it is best to consult a doctor. It is important to note that swelling is the main sign of an allergic reaction that can potentially progress to anaphylaxis.

A reaction is likely to occur if fish oil supplements are taken especially if diagnosed with fish allergy. Even though fish oil does not include any fish proteins, the fish protein by-products might instigate an allergic reaction. When a doctor is consulted, a diagnosis can be given, and the suitable treatment can be started.

Close look on fish oil allergy


The swelling that affects the lips, face, tongue or throat can be troublesome.

Using any dietary supplement can trigger an allergic reaction. It is important to note that fish oil supplements might instigate a reaction if the individual is allergic to fish. Upon ingesting the supplement, the immune system mistakes it is a threat and generates antibodies that releases chemicals to fight it off. These chemicals including histamine triggers irritation and swelling of the soft tissues all over the body.

What are the indications?

The respiratory system is generally affected, and the following symptoms might arise:

  • Sinus headache
  • Sinus congestion
  • Wheezing
  • Head pressure
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness

Most of these symptoms will not progress to further complications but if the individual becomes dizzy, lightheaded and unable to breathe, call for emergency assistance right away.

The swelling that affects the lips, face, tongue or throat can be troublesome. These symptoms are linked to a severe reaction or anaphylaxis. A feeling of a lump in the throat might be an indication that the throat is swollen.

The skin might also swell which leads to the formation of hives or an itchy rash. Hives is a form of skin rash characterized by welts on the body that are reddened and itchy.


In case the swelling is due to an allergic reaction to fish, the doctor will suggest avoidance of fish oil supplements. Alternative supplements can be taken instead that do not include any fish such as flax oil supplements.

When treating the condition, the individual might be referred to an allergist who performs the RAST skin test. This test utilizes a small trace of the fish protein that are injected beneath the skin to check if there is a reaction to the suspected allergen.


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