Fish oil supplements, also known as omega-3 fats, are one of the most popular supplements, with more people buying it than ever. This shouldn’t come as a surprise — with over 15,000 studies, fish oil is powerful for reducing the risk of heart disease, triglycerides, and maybe even helping with weight loss, among tons of other benefits.
But not all fish oil is created equal.
Let’s first get something straight.
- All fish oils are NOT created equal.
- You shouldn’t burp up fish after taking capsules (and, no putting them in the freezer isn’t the answer — they shouldn’t taste rancid in the first place).
- Quality fish oil should provide a high concentration of the “good stuff” EPA and DHA. These are two of of the three omega-3’s that are tied to most of the benefits of fish oil as a whole.
Quality fish oil products should be regularly tested for oxidation — in other words, is the fish oil spoiled or not. There are a handful of measures for oxidation. The question is how do you, as a consumer, look for oxidation in a product.
Ask … don’t ask the person running the supplement store you’re buying from … ask the company if they have 3rd party, independent lab tests to prove this to you. All companies have websites. Look up their contact information and call — if they don’t offer 3rd party testing that they are willing to share with you, I’d suggest finding another brand that does.
After all, I don’t think you want to be taking mercury, PCB’s and other toxic ingredients when you think you’re doing something good for your body. Do you?
Here is something else to look for when you’re picking and choosing among the dozens of products…
The EPA and DHA content. These are two acronyms for very long words that aren’t important for this piece … they are two of the three omega 3 fats. For other nerds like us, the third is ALA.
You get EPA and DHA from animal sources (e.g., fish and fish oil) and you get ALA from plant sources. There are a few exceptions to that rule … but few and far between.
When you are deciding on a fish oil product, you want to look past the number for Total Omega-3’s and instead add up the DHA and EPA. These two numbers need to add up to the dose you’re looking to take. And the EPA/DHA should make up at least 50% of the total number. At least.
What is the overall dose?
A MINIMUM of 500 mg EPA/DHA per day for general health. Considering omega-3 insufficiency is the second leading cause of preventable death (of factors related to diet), we are comfortable and confident in personally taking higher doses (1000-2000 mg/day).
If you have heart disease or family history of heart disease. 1000-2000 mg EPA/DHA
High triglycerides. 2000-4000 mg EPA/DHA.
Mohr Results Bottom Line. Call the company you’re looking into and ask for 3rd party tests. Next, the EPA and DHA in the product you’re taking should add up to you should be getting a MINIMUM of 500 mg EPA/DHA per day. Eat fish, yes, but supplementing with a high quality fish oil product, like Nordic Naturals (what we use), is a wise move as well.
Want to hear the truth on even more dietary supplements? Check out Dietary Supplement University and you won’t waste another dollar on useless dietary supplements in the confusing world of dietary supplements.
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