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Does Omega XL taste fishy?

Omega XL is a popular dietary supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are touted for their anti-inflammatory properties. However, one common complaint about fish oil supplements like Omega XL is that they can leave an unpleasant “fishy” aftertaste. In this article, we’ll take an objective look at whether Omega XL tastes fishy and provide some tips to mask any fishy flavors.

What is Omega XL?

Omega XL is a supplement made by a company called Great HealthWorks. It contains several ingredients including some key omega-3 fatty acids:

Ingredient Quantity per serving
Omega-3 Fatty Acids 300mg
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) 150mg
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) 30mg

EPA and DHA are types of omega-3 fatty acids that come from fish and seafood. They have been extensively researched for their health benefits related to heart health, brain function, inflammation, and more.

The other primary ingredient in Omega XL is a patented blend of oils extracted from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel called PCSO-524®. This mussel oil also contains omega-3s and other lipids that have antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties according to some studies.

How is Omega XL taken?

The recommended dosage of Omega XL is 2 softgels twice daily with food. The softgels provide a total of 600mg omega-3 fatty acids per day at this dosage.

Some Omega XL supplements come in an enteric coated form. This special coating prevents the fish oils from being fully released until the softgels pass through the stomach into the intestines. The coating helps reduce “fish burps” and aftertaste.

Does Omega XL taste fishy?

Now let’s get to the big question…does Omega XL leave a fishy aftertaste when you take it?

The simple answer is that Omega XL does have the potential to cause fishy burps or taste in your mouth, but there are a few caveats.

First, the intensity of the fishy taste can vary between different users. Some people experience no fishy taste or smell at all with Omega XL, while a small percentage find it quite unpleasant. People’s sensitivity to compounds like omega-3s that contribute to a fishy taste differs.

Second, the type of Omega XL supplement you take affects taste. Those containing enteric coatings tend to have less aftertaste than uncoated softgels. The coating prevents breakdown in the mouth and stomach.

Finally, taking Omega XL with meals seems to minimize any fishy repeating. The food helps mask any potential tastes. Taking the supplement on an empty stomach leaves you more likely to experience fishy burps.

So in summary – Omega XL may sometimes cause fishy taste or burps, but the severity depends on the individual and how you take it. Using an enteric coated form with food is your best bet to limit fishiness.

What causes the fishy taste of omega-3 supplements?

The fishy taste and smell that can come with Omega XL and other omega-3 supplements originates from the oxidization of the polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Oxidization occurs when the fatty acids are exposed to oxygen, heat, or light. This causes them to denature and decompose, producing volatile compounds with a characteristic fishy odor.

Two omega-3 fatty acids in particular – EPA and DHA – are prone to rapid oxidization and are primarily responsible for the fishy taste. Even small amounts of oxidized EPA and DHA are enough to give fish oil supplements a rancid flavor.

Manufacturing methods that minimize omega-3 oxidization like nitrogen flushing can help reduce the potential for fishy tastes. Using antioxidant ingredients is another strategy.

Tips to prevent and mask fishy taste

If you find Omega XL or other fish oil supplements too fishy, all hope is not lost. Here are some tips to prevent or mask any unpleasant fishy aftertastes:

Take with meals

Consuming omega-3 supplements with food, especially protein and carbohydrate-rich meals, can significantly reduce repeating fishy burps. The food helps absorb any fishy odors. Aim to take supplements during or immediately after larger meals if possible.

Freeze softgels

Storing softgel supplements in the freezer can slow oxidization and prevent fishy tastes from developing. Simply keep your bottle of Omega XL or other supplement in the freezer and take out a few softgels at a time.

Use enteric coated softgels

Enteric coatings like those found on some Omega XL products can minimize fish burps by preventing breakdown in the stomach. This allows absorption further down in the intestines. Ask your doctor about getting an Rx for prescription enteric coated omega-3s if needed.

Try a lemon juice rinse

Some people find swishing and spitting lemon juice or another citrus juice helps temporarily override any lingering fishy aftertastes. The tart citric acid cuts through the unpleasant taste. You can rinse with lemon juice before and after taking supplements.

Use a mint or berry lozenge

Sucking on a powerful flavored lozenge like mint or berry for a few minutes after you swallow your fish oil can mask fishy burps as they arise. Menthol and other strong flavors help overwhelm the fishy notes.

Drink plenty of water

Chugging 8 ounces of water immediately after taking omega-3 supplements can help dilute any fishy repeating. Be sure to stay well hydrated in general when taking fish oil.

The bottom line on Omega XL taste

While Omega XL does have the potential to cause some fishy aftertaste due to its omega-3 content, the severity depends on several factors. Taking enteric coated softgels with meals and storing supplements properly can help minimize unpleasant fishiness.

If you do experience fishy burps or taste with Omega XL, try some of tips above like rinsing your mouth with citrus juice or sucking on mints. Drinking extra water may also help dilute the taste.

With a few precautions, most people should be able to take Omega XL without too much fishy flavor. But speak to your doctor if side effects persist or you have concerns about taking omega-3 supplements.

There are also omega-3 alternatives available like krill oil or algal oil supplements that provide EPA and DHA from non-fish sources. While more expensive, these tend to be free of any fishy repeating issues.

In most cases, Omega XL’s benefits for heart health and inflammation outweigh any minor taste issues. Don’t give up on taking omega-3s because of fishy burps – just take a few simple steps to make supplementation more pleasant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a non-fishy version of Omega XL?

There is no completely taste-free version of Omega XL, since the fishy taste comes from its omega-3 fatty acid content. However, taking enteric coated softgels can help minimize any unpleasant aftertaste. There are also no fish options for omega-3 supplements such as krill or algal oils.

What do Omega XL softgels look like?

Omega XL softgels are oval shaped gel capsules that contain a golden-colored oil inside. They have a smooth glossy exterior and measure about 23mm long and 10mm wide. The enteric coated version has a brownish-red exterior while the regular softgels are clear.

How long does the fishy taste last with Omega XL?

For most people, any fishy aftertaste from Omega XL dissipates within several hours at most. Taking the supplements with food helps speed up the process. The taste tends to be most noticeable in the first 1-2 hours after taking a dose.

Is there a vegan alternative to Omega XL?

Since Omega XL is derived from fish and mussel sources, there is no truly vegan form of this specific supplement. However, there are vegan omega-3 supplements made from algae that provide comparable DHA and EPA. Brands like Ovega-3 or Neuromins provide plant-based omega-3 options without fish or fishy taste.

Can you take too much Omega XL?

It’s generally recommended not to exceed 3000 mg combined EPA and DHA omega-3s per day from all supplements. Taking more than the recommended 2 softgels twice daily dose of Omega XL could lead to side effects like blood thinning. Stick to manufacturer dosage guidelines unless advised differently by your doctor.


Omega XL can sometimes result in fishy tasting burps or aftertaste due to its omega-3 fatty acid content. However, the intensity varies between individuals and can be minimized by taking enteric coated softgels with food. Simple tricks like drinking water, using mints, or rinsing with citrus juice can help mask any lingering fishiness. While not completely taste-free, Omega XL provides valuable anti-inflammatory omega-3s that are worth the tradeoff for many people. Discuss any concerns with your doctor and don’t give up on fish oil supplements too quickly. With a few mitigation strategies, Omega XL can be taken pleasantly by most people.