When is the best time to take fish oil, in the morning or at night?
With a steady rise in the number of people using DHA/EPA and fish oil supplements like Omega XL, we’re seeing this question pop up again and again on health and fitness forums. We’ve also been asked it on our Omega XL review a number of times too, so we thought it was a good idea to answer it in detail here.
But first, what are fish oil supplements used for?
Fish oil supplements are taken for their DHA and EPA content. DHA and EPA are omega-3 fatty acids. They can both be made from the only essential omega-3 fatty acid: alpha lipoic acid. But because DHA and EPA have such important physiological roles – and because they are so difficult to obtain from food – people tend to supplement with EPA and DHA.
DHA is important for brain function; it makes up a significant portion of your brain’s gray matter. Lower rates of DHA synthesis has been observed in older people, which may partially explain age-related cognitive decline and brain atrophy.
EPA has been implicated in a wide range of physiological functions, from protecting the heart to lowering systemic inflammation. Studies have found that EPA consumption is positively correlated with better health outcomes across a number of measures.
This is why people use fish oil supplements.
Fish oil is one of the only natural sources of the omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
The only other source is the original source; algae. This is where the fish get their EPA/DHA from, which is how it ends up in their livers!
When people use fish oil, they could be looking for any one of a wide range of health benefits, including:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Enhanced cognition
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced joint pain
- Better digestion and gut health
Taking a fish oil supplement has been shown to produce all of these benefits. Of course, it doesn’t matter whether it’s fish oil or a DHA/EPA-rich omega 3 supplement made from algae (we actually think the latter is better).
But when should you take omega 3 for maximum benefits?
Does it matter if you take omega 3 in the morning or at night?
Let’s find out!
Best time to take fish oil: Morning or night?
It doesn’t really matter when you take fish oil; it is not that kind of supplement.
As explained above, fish oil provides omega 3 fatty acids which produce a range of health and performance benefits. These fatty acids do not have immediate, short-term effects; rather, your body uses them to better maintain vital structures and to keep inflammation to a minimum.
As such, you wont see the benefits of a fish oil supplement right away; rather, it will take some time for your body’s omega 3 levels to reach their optimal range.
So there is no best time to take fish oil in terms of maximizing results. Whether you take fish oil in the morning or at night doesn’t affect the end results.
However, what you should consider is that fish oil supplements work best when consumed with food, and when taken consistently.
The best time to take fish oil is therefore whenever you are likely to 1) remember to take it, and 2) be able to take it with food and water.
For almost all of you, this will mean taking your fish oil supplement with breakfast. Although the exact timing wont affect the end results, taking a fish oil supplement with breakfast means you are likely to do it at the same time every day (or every other day) and to take it with a decent amount of food. By contrast, taking it at night means you could forget, or you may not remember until right before going to sleep which means you wont take it with food (thus lowering absorption).
When is the best time to take fish oil – morning or night? While the time of day you take your fish oil supplements wont affect its efficacy, there are factors which will affect a fish oil supplement’s efficacy. You should always take a fish oil supplement with food, and you should try to take it at the same time every day to keep omega 3 levels elevated round the clock. For most people, this means the best time to take fish oil is in the morning with breakfast. This is a purely practical concern.