Birth Control Pills and Fish Oil: Are There Interactions?

Fish oil supplements are recommended for many reasons. Fish oil is known to offer heart health benefits, such as triglyceride reduction. Since it also offers anti-inflammatory properties, it is also commonly recommended to patients with arthritis and even those who suffer from painful menstrual periods. Will taking fish oil in combination with birth control pills result in any type of interactions? Here’s what all women should know about taking fish oil supplements in combination with oral contraceptives.

Will Oral Contraceptives be Less Effective?

You might be wondering if your birth control pills will be less effective at preventing pregnancy if you use them in combination with fish oil supplements. The good news is that this type of interaction will not occur. According to Oregon State University Student Health Services, even taking your fish oil supplement at the same time as your birth control pills will not make your contraception any less effective.

Will Your Contraception Reduce Fish Oil Effectiveness?

Not much research has been done on the effects of hormonal contraception on fish oil supplement benefits and effectiveness. That being said, research has found that birth control pills might affect fish oil’s ability to lower triglycerides, according to WebMD. Keep in mind that these interactions have not been found to apply to all birth control pills. Interactions are believed to be due to the ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel found in Triphasil and the norethindrone found in Ortho-Novum 1/35 and Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, according to WebMD.

Should You Take Fish Oil Supplements and Birth Control Pills Together?

Due to the limited research in regards to interactions between fish oil supplements and oral contraceptives, it is still considered safe to continue taking them together. If you are taking fish oil supplements to lower your triglycerides and have concerns about interactions occurring, be sure to talk to your doctor about switching to an oral contraceptive that does not contain ethinyl estradiol, levonorgestrel, and norethindrone.

If you’re worried about fish oil supplements increasing your risk of pregnancy while you’re using birth control pills, the good news is that no research has found this to be true. While certain types of oral contraceptives may prevent fish oil from effectively lowering triglycerides, the interactions have not been well-researched. It is still considered safe to take fish oil supplements while you are using the pill. If you are using fish oil supplements because you have a history of heart disease, birth control pills may not be the safest method of contraception for you. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns that you may have.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only. Be sure to consult with a licensed healthcare professional if you are concerned about your health.

Oregon State University Student Health Services

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