Fish oil supplements provide polyunsaturated fatty acids known as omega3s, which are essential to human health. But, not every fish oil supplement provides the same amount of omega3s. The label does not always reflect the amount that is in each capsule. Consumers can easily become confused.
This article should help clear up some of that confusion. Think of it is a shopping guide. It should help you find the safest and most effective fish oil supplements on the market. Either the label or the information on the manufacturer’s website should answer these questions.
What is the Omega3 Content?
The typical fish oil supplement contains 1000mg of oil in a gelatin capsule. The percent of omega3s that is present varies greatly, depending upon the species of fish that the oils are derived from and even the season of the year, during which the catch was made.
The manufacturer should list the minimum amount that will be present in each capsule. The better ones provide at least 500mg of omega3 fatty acids per capsule. You need to look at the label carefully, because some manufacturers list the amount that is provided by 2 capsules, a commonly recommended dosage.
What is the DHA Content?
Of all of the omega3s, we know the most about DHA. A fish oil supplement should provide a minimum of 260mg of DHA per capsule or 520mg per daily dose.
Studies have shown that DHA lowers triglycerides more effectively than EPA, the other well known omega3. It has a high degree of anti-inflammatory activity and is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain.
Fish oil supplements that provide a high dose of DHA can help relieve depression, improve ADHD and possibly protect the brain from age-related Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies concerning that are currently being conducted in Canada.
What Are the Company’s Standards for Purity and Freshness?
A fish oil supplement may contain mercury and cancer-causing PCBs. There are no world-wide regulations concerning the amount of contaminants that may be present in a capsule. The better companies voluntarily adhere to the standards set by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the International Fish Oil Standards or their own higher standards.
Manufacturers that adhere to the highest standards have their each batch of fish oil supplements tested for impurities and publish that information on their websites. Freshness can be measured by measuring the amount of oxidation that has occurred. Oils with a high degree of oxidation will cause fishy tasting burps and increase your intake of free radicals, a cause of cellular aging.
What is the Anti-inflammatory Activity?
A fish oil supplement that contains a combination of natural triglycerides and concentrated esters has more anti-inflammatory activity, according to recent studies. So, if you are hoping to reduce pain and stiffness in your joints or simply reduce the effects that chronic inflammation has on the cells of our bodies, you want to look for that winning combination.
The best fish oil supplements provide numerous health benefits to the heart, brain and all of the systems of the body. Now, you know how to do your comparative shopping.