Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel contain high levels of two omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EFAs have been shown to have many health benefits, including supporting cardiovascular health and helping to maintain a healthy mood.†
Taking fish oil supplements, in liquid or pill form, is one of the best ways to obtain EFAs when you can’t eat two or more servings of fresh fish per week. To avoid fishy aftertaste, try splitting your dosage throughout the day, taking pills with a meal or using a flavored variety.
Here are five things to consider when choosing an omega 3 fish oil in any form so that you can nourish yourself wisely.
1. Read up: One of the first steps toward taking the right omega 3 fish oil supplement is learning how to decipher what, exactly, you will be taking. EPA and DHA are the two most common and vital omega-3s; to that end, you should look at the exact amount the supplement contains, which is generally expressed in milligrams.
2. Go with a reputable brand: According to U.S. News & World Report, “Fish oils are no different than any other laxly-regulated dietary supplement category, prone to inaccurate label claims and contamination.” Indeed, “recent testing of 30 leading fish oil products by an independent lab showed that the average omega-3 content varied by 24 percent compared to its label claim, though individual products ranged from having 50 percent less to 90 percent more than promised.” In other words, select fish oil pills that are labeled with the NSF International, US Pharmacopeia, Underwriters Laboratory or Consumer Lab seal, as these confirm the veracity of the label’s ingredients and ensure that the product doesn’t contain any potentially deleterious ingredients.
3. Select products that have been independently tested: Third-party certification on the supplement bottle—from, for example, BSCG Drug Free or USP Verified—confirm that the product has been independently tested for purity, freshness and ingredients. They also verify that the manufacturing and storage facilities comply with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements.
4. Look for enteric coating: Modern consumers are in luck, as omega-3s are now available in a number of formulas, from softgels to capsules and gummies. Should you go with a capsule, you may want to ensure they’re enveloped in an enteric coating—a polymer barrier that helps keep the capsule from disintegrating until it reaches your small intestine, thus preventing those abovementioned “fish burps” that can turn away even the most diligent and health-conscious among us.
5. Know that vegans can supplement with omega-3s, too: Happen to be a vegan? Do know that omega 3 supplements are available in fish oil-free forms. Vegan products, such as Deva Vegan Omega-3 DHA, is derived from microalgae and does not contain fish, shellfish, egg or dairy.
At Vitacost.com, your wellness comes first. That’s why we offer a wide selection of omega-3 supplements in a variety of forms—from trustworthy brands—to support you and your family.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
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†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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