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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Does Fish Oil Break a Fast? 4 Benefits Included

Does Fish Oil Break a Fast? 4 Benefits Included

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 22, 2023
5 min read 1510 Views 0 Comments
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Fish oil is a natural, healthy fat found in fish and many other foods. It’s essential to human health and important for brain development, heart, and eye health. But does fish oil break a fast?

does fish oil break a fast

The amount of information available online about intermittent fasting is overwhelming. You may be confused when trying to find a clear-cut list of meals, supplements, and beverages that can sabotage your results and cause you to break your fast.

When it’s obvious that you shouldn’t eat anything while on intermittent fasting, it might get trickier with liquids and even more so with supplements.

Supplementing may be something you are considering if you want to try intermittent fasting, especially if you think you could be nutrient deficient. You might wonder if fish oil can spike sugar levels and break your fast. You may also be concerned about whether taking it on an empty stomach during a fast is safe.

This article will help you know if fish can raise your sugar level and break a fast and does fish oil break a fast? We answer this question discuss the benefits.

Does Fish Oil Break a Fast?

If your goal is weight loss, fish oil supplements, in low doses, won’t break a fast. This is because it only has pure fats with no digestible carbs, very few calories (about 10 calories per gram and 45 calories per teaspoon), and no digestible carbs or proteins.

The minimal calories that the fish oil offers have little to no effect on your body’s capacity to break down its own fat stores, and fat does not trigger insulin release.

However, fish oil will almost certainly break a fast if your intermittent fasting goal is to boost gut health. Fish oil is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that needs to be absorbed and processed. This means that your gut rest will be stimulated after consuming fish oil, breaking a fast.

Therefore, if your goal is to improve your gut health, you might want to limit your fish oil consumption to your eating window.

Why Is Fish Oil Important?

Omega-3s, which are best obtained in fish oil, are a common deficiency in most people’s diets. Omega-3s are important for brain, heart, and eye health. Omega-3s will also support your cognitive health. Additionally, consuming omega-3s will lower your risk of developing anxiety and depression.

If you’re fasting for the first time, you may experience hunger and irritability. These are common side effects of intermittent fasting for many people. However, studies show omega-3 fatty acids might improve mood and reduce irritation.

Therefore, consuming Omega 3s will make it simpler to complete your fasting window without being agitated and help prevent deficiency while fasting.

Will Fish Oil Spike Insulin?

Fish oil supplements won’t trigger insulin response or affect your blood glucose levels. The supplement is available in two forms: pure oil and capsules. The main component is fat. Pure fats do not cause an increase in insulin. This means that your body will remain in a fat-burning state.

Research has also shown that those who live with obesity, PCOS, and gestational diabetes may benefit from omega-3s by reducing their insulin resistance.

In another study of persons with PCOS, those who took omega-3 experienced a substantial 8.4% drop in insulin levels compared to those who took a placebo.

In a similar study, children and teenagers with obesity who were supplemented with fish oil considerably decreased their insulin resistance and triglyceride levels.

While additional research is required, fish oil has been shown to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Can I Take Fish Oil on an Empty Stomach?

You can take fish oil on an empty stomach, but for best results, it’s better consumed with a meal to maximize absorption. However, some people may get a little nauseous.  If you decide to consume Omega-3s on an empty stomach, you might want to lower the dose if you start to feel nauseous.

Taking your supplement within your eating window may be a great idea. In this case, the 20:4, 16:8, OMAD, and other types of intermittent fasting can make it simple to schedule your Omega-3 intake.

The body will absorb all essential fatty acids in omega-3 if taken with a meal containing fat because more fat-digesting enzymes will be available. Additionally, it might aid capsule digestion and lessen side effects like indigestion or heartburn.

4 Benefits of Fish Oil for Fasting

If you don’t consume a lot of oily fish on your normal eating days, taking fish oil can provide enough omega-3s. Here are 4 main health benefits.

#1 Helps to maintain joint health

Your skeletal system is impacted by two major diseases – osteoporosis and arthritis. Studies show that omega-3s can strengthen your bones by increasing the amount of calcium they contain, which should lower your risk of osteoporosis. 

Additionally, omega-3s may be used to treat arthritis. Supplementing with omega-3 has been reported to relieve joint pain and improve grip strength in patients.

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, fish oil supplements may help to reduce joint swelling, discomfort, and morning stiffness. However, the amount of EPA and DHA needed for this anti-inflammatory action is yet unknown, necessitating additional research. ​

#2 Improves heart health

Experts believe that omega-3s can be beneficial in promoting heart health. They have been shown to assist raise “good” HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides levels and blood pressure, stopping plaque buildup in arteries, and prevent artery hardening.

#3 Raises good cholesterol levels

Omega-3s increases the size of LDL particles and raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol levels in the body. This is beneficial since atherosclerosis increases the risk of angina and heart attacks and is linked to smaller LDL particles.

#4 Has anti-inflammatory properties

The two forms of omega-3s, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), obtained from fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies, and mackerel are known to help reduce inflammation and generally improve inflammatory conditions in the body.

Your immune system uses inflammation to treat wounds and fight infection. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is linked to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, depression, and heart disease. Reducing inflammation can aid in treating these diseases’ symptoms.

A Word From Nutritionist

Fish oil benefits everyone, and no matter which weight loss diet you try, taking fish oil will help ensure you’re not lacking in this essential fatty acid for general good health.

Omega-3 won’t break a fast, whether your intermittent fasting is for health reasons or weight loss, and it’s safe to consume even on an empty stomach. Omega-3 won’t alter your ketosis either because it is pure oil.

However, it is important to keep in mind that fish oil absorbs best when consumed with meals. Although you can consume it while on fasting periods, you may wish to wait until your eating window so that you can benefit from better absorption.

You can also take the omega-3s with apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar cannot break a fast.  It has 0.1 carbs per tablespoon.

You can also take vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin D,  and B-complex with omega-3s. Vitamin D has minimal dosage that cannot break a fast. Vitamin C an B are water solubles which cannot break a fast as well.

Always consult your family doctor before starting any supplementation to get specific advice or warnings based on your health situation. Omega 3 supplements can thin your blood and raise the risk of bleeding when taken at high levels.


Since the potential benefits of taking fish oil are linked to long-term use, taking it regularly, even when intermittent fasting, is more crucial than taking it at specific times of the day.

Fish oils won’t break a fast if your intermittent fasting goal is weight loss, but if you’re fasting for gut health, your fast may be affected. Taking fish oil with food can boost absorption and reduce some adverse effects. The simplest way to maximize fish oil’s effectiveness during intermittent fasting is to take it during your eating windows and at a time that works for you.

Omega-3s have a positive effect on the heart, joints, and bones. They also help to lower your blood pressure and reduce irritability, especially if you get irritated when you’re hungry during your fasting window.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 22, 2023
5 min read 1510 Views 0 Comments

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