Fish oil supplements have become increasingly popular in recent years. These supplements may be in the form of liquid fish oil in a bottle, or in gel capsules. The shelf life varies for each brand of fish oil and depends on the way it is packaged and stored. Storing fish oil at colder temperatures helps to prevent it from turning rancid.
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Fish oil is rich in both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). According to the National Institutes of Health, there is evidence that fish oil reduces the risk of heart attack and strokes as well as lowering blood pressure, among other benefits.
The temperature at which fish oil is stored determines how long it will keep before turning rancid. In an experiment, fish oil that was stored at a temperature of 39 Fahrenheit remained viable for 90 days while fish oil kept at 0 Fahrenheit remained fresh for 120 days. At colder temperatures fish oil will keep for longer, but it will eventually turn rancid and lose its beneficial attributes. Based on this information, fish oil can be kept in a refrigerator for up to three months. Home refrigerators have temperatures between 34 to 39 Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that any fish oil you buy may already have spent some time in the store. Different brands of fish oil may contain preservatives that extend the shelf life. Read the labels on the bottle of fish oil for specific storage instructions.
Taken in high doses, fish oil supplements may increase the risk of bleeding and can cause diarrhoea. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not strictly regulate food supplements and there is no telling how pure or fresh the fish oil you are taking may be. When fish oil goes rancid, it changes into oxidised fats, which can be harmful.
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