Fish oil supplements are more popular than ever. With an astounding average of 800mg of omega-3 fatty acids per serving, is it any surprise why?
We all need omega-3s to thrive, yet few people get as much as they need from their daily diet alone. In fact, recent research from Harvard University found that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is one of the top 10 causes of death in America. This means that 96,000 Americans die highly preventable deaths each year, partly because they didn’t take enough fish oil supplements.
If that fast fact has you leaning in, listen up — because not all fish oil supplements are equal. There are is huge variation in ingredients, freshness, purity, and even omega-3 content in the fish oil on the market, and not even health care practitioners always know the difference. It’s essential to investigate the efficacy and quality of your supplements before diving in — with minimal regulation in the supplement market, many products are mislabeled, unregulated and even made from harmful ingredients.
What to Look for In Fish Oil Supplements
When you look through fish oil supplements, there are five factors to consider when making your choice: freshness, nutrient content, purity, potency, and bioavailability.
- Freshness: When overly exposed to oxygen, omega-3s can turn rancid. That makes it even more important to check freshness — specifically how old the oils you chose are. Consider sustainable sources (eg. Tuna oil).
- Nutrient Content: While all fish oils contain EPA and DHA, special fish oils can also contain fat soluble vitamins for an extra nutritional boost.
- Purity: Check each able to see if the fish oil in question meets international standards for heavy metals, dioxins and other ocean-bound contaminants.
- Potency: Check the label for specifics on the levels of omega-3s present to ensure you’re getting what you really need to stay healthy.
- Bioavailability: Nutrient content hardly matters if your body can’t take advantage of them. Make sure that the fatty acids in your supplements have a natural balance to ensure your body can properly absorb them.
The Fatty Acids You Need
There are two main omega-3s that make up majority of fish oil: EPAs and DHAs. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega-3 found in coldwater fish like cod, herring, tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines. In the same way, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a main structural component of the human brain and can come from the diet through fish oil, algae and even breast milk.
Both EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids — you can’t live without them, and the only way your body can get them is through food. These fatty acids are important for maintaining a healthy heart, and play an important role in the functioning of your nervous system while contributing to better moods, muscle growth, and good sleep. While both acids are essential, your body can transform EPA into DHA when necessary, making the former the most important in maintaining good health.
To ensure you’re getting the correct essential omega-3s, check the label on your fish oil supplements. The label will separate the types of omega-3’s by name.
Invest in high quality fish oil supplements and you’ll get the omega-3s you need to stay healthy. Make sure you do your research before you buy and know exactly what you’re taking. You’ll be well on your way to getting sufficient EPA and DHA — both critical building blocks to your short- and long-term health and well-being.
We prefer a Tuna Oil due to freshness, sustainability, and quality. Ask the front desk about our tuna oil options and where you may be able to purchase it.