Categories: Heart HealthSleep

What’s the Best Time to Take Your Fish Oil Supplement?

By
Bo Martinsen, MD
April 23, 2019

Breakfast has long been the preferred time for taking medications, food supplements, and cod liver oil. And the psychology makes sense. At the start of each day, many of us like to take advantage of our renewed energy to focus on our health.

New research, however, has started linking medication efficacy to timing — and the findings make a compelling case for rescheduling our supplement routines too.

Consider Taking Your Medications and Supplements at Night

Several studies have now shown that aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs, as well as blood pressure and anti-reflux medications, may work better in the evening (1).

Scientists suggest that as we sleep, our body’s circadian rhythm influences our hormonal balance, as well as the body’s ability to absorb chemicals in medications and supplements.

Because many symptoms (especially related to acid reflux and heart disease) worsen over the course of the night, taking certain medications and supplements before bedtime may actually help to improve health conditions the following day.

What International Studies Have Discovered

Let’s look at the example of taking anti-reflux medication. The stomach typically produces two to three times more acid between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am than at any other point of the day. In addition, heartburn typically worsens while lying down, which intensifies uncomfortable side effects.

These factors could explain why one study found that 70% of people who took their anti-reflux medication later in the day experienced greater relief, compared to the 42% who took their medication in the morning.

It has also been well-documented that heart attacks and strokes occur more often in the early morning. This phenomenon could explain why a five-year study from Spain found that patients who took their blood pressure medicines at night had a 33% reduced risk of heart attack and strokes, compared to those who took their medications in the morning (1).

Skipping meals, or eating low-fat breakfasts, could explain why some omega-3 supplement users don’t get the full benefits of their products.


How a Low-Fat Meal Affects Absorption of Omega-3

For decades, many omega-3 users have also opted to take their supplements first thing in the morning. However, researchers point out that omega-3 fatty acids need to be consumed with food — and preferably of the high-fat variety — to be absorbed well (2).

Today, scientists suspect that the trend towards low-fat breakfasts, and skipping breakfast entirely, could explain why some supplement users don’t see sizable increases in their omega-3 index levels (3). What does that mean for consumers? If you don’t eat breakfast, or typically eat low-fat foods in the morning, then aim to take your daily omega-3 dose later in the day with a fuller meal.

Potential Benefits of Taking Omega3 Innovations Fish Oil at Night

At Omega3 Innovations, we are dedicated to helping our customers feel a difference using fresh, full-spectrum omega-3s. It all starts with our Omega Cure®. Omega Cure is an extremely nutrient-rich oil that delivers a fuller range of fatty acids than other omega-3 supplements. Because Omega Cure is so fresh, the oil also has no fishy taste or smell. This helps avoid the unpleasant after-flavors and discomfort some people report when taking regular omega-3 supplements.

While getting an effective dose of high quality fish oil makes a crucial difference in terms of seeing results, timing also matters. Besides the health issues mentioned above, here are two other reasons to consider taking your Omega Cure at night: Inflammation and sleep quality.

Arthritis and Joint Pain

If you have arthritis and joint pain, you likely experience more intense symptoms in the morning. One French study discovered that NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) were most effective when consumed four to eight hours before peak pain started (1).

Since omega-3 fatty acids work on the same biochemical pathways as NSAIDs, taking your fish oil supplement in the evening could make it easier to get out of bed in the morning with greater comfort.

Sleep Quality

In a pilot study from the UK, researchers found that children who supplemented with omega-3s increased their sleep time by an average of 58 minutes while reducing the number of wakeups during the night (4). Other studies similarly show that adequate omega-3 intake is important for good quality rest, improved relaxation (5) and a lowered risk of sleep apnea (6, 7).

For adults looking to support their sleep quality, there’s also Omega Restore. Omega Restore provides the same benefits as Omega Cure, but with added melatonin. Not only do omega-3 and melatonin work together to fight free radicals and oxidative stress, but they can also help to provide a more satisfying sleep pattern.

Consistency Is Key for Health Benefits

Over the last few years, we’ve suggested that our customers take their Omega Cure and Omega Restore vials in the evening before going to bed. So far, the feedback has been unequivocally positive. Not only have customers reported better sleep quality and more energy during the day, but many have also noticed positive impacts on eyes and joints, too.

That being said, any supplement or medication won’t make much of a difference if you don’t take it consistently. So for best results, find a time of day that works for you, and stick with it.

For More Restful Sleep and Energy

Experience the synergy of omega-3s plus melatonin.

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References:

1. Bateson, Lynne. When Is It the Best Time to Take Your Medication? The Daily Express. January 28, 2015.

2. Von Schacky, C. Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Cardiovascular Disease–An Uphill Battle. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids. Jan 2015; 92:41-7.

3. BASF Explores Why Omega-3s Are Not Yet Optimal. Nutra-Ingredients.com. May 15, 2018.

4. Montgomery, P et al. Fatty Acids and Sleep in UK Children: Subjective and Pilot Objective Sleep Results from the DOLAB Study–A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Sleep Research. August 2014; 23 (4): 364-88.

5. Yehuda, S et al. Mixture of Essential Fatty Acids Lowers Test Anxiety. Nutritional Neuroscience. August 2005; 8 (4): 265-7.

6. Scorza, FA et al. Sleep Apnea and Inflammation – Getting a Good Night’s Sleep with Omega-3 Supplementation. Frontiers in Neurology. December 2013; 4: 193.

7. Ladesich, JB et al. Membrane Level of Omega-3 Docosahexaenoic Acid Is Associated with Severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. August 15, 2011; 7 (4): 391-6.

Bo Martinsen, MD

Dr. Martinsen is an omega-3 specialist, innovator, and advocate for natural foods. As co-founder and CEO of Omega3 Innovations, he has created multiple patented technologies for medical devices designed to improve consumer compliance. He is also the creator of several medical food products that combine dose-effective ingredients of omega-3 fish oil with soluble fibers and other nutrients. Before Omega3 Innovations, Dr. Martinsen practiced medicine in Norway for 20 years. During his career, he also served as a medical consultant to large international corporations, focusing on stress management and synergistic medicine.

View Comments

  • Your article suggest taking omega 3 oil before bedtime. Can it be taken with a magnesium / calcium capsule supplement and a probiotic?

    • Good question, Marysoumya. Omega-3 works well with other vitamins and multi-vitamins, so there shouldn't be a problem with that combination.

    • Most research suggests it is best to take omega-3 products in conjunction with food for improved bioavailability and to avoid any queasiness resulting from taking oil on an empty stomach.

    • Hi Arman, You can take Omega Cure by itself (it has no fishy taste or smell), or add it to juice, yogurt and other cold food recipes.

  • Hi. The article says Omega 3 is best taken with a meal that has fats in it. So, for me that would mean dinner. But it also says take it before bed, but I eat dinner quite a few hours before bed and would not be eating a high fat meal of any kind before bed. So, which is it? Which would be best? Thanks.

    • Hi Maria, That's a good question. There are no scientific studies that we know of that specifically compare whether it's best to take your omega-3s with dinner or before going to bed, so any suggestion from us would just be an educated guess at this point. But for most people, even if they eat dinner a couple of hours before bed, they typically still have enough digestive enzymes and food in their stomach from dinner to absorb the omega-3 fatty acids well later in the evening before bedtime. This is different from taking your omega-3s on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

      One of our co-founders likes to take her Omega Restore with a little something (a bit of kefir, usually) before bedtime. But since every person is unique, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via phone if you would like to discuss further.

    • Hi Carolyn! For more information about the relationship between omega-3 supplements and blood thinning, we recommend reading this article. But also, why krill oil? Krill oil supplements typically deliver a pretty low omega-3 dose relative to other sources.

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