When choosing a essential fatty acid (Omega 3) supplement there are a few things to remember.
1. the actual over-all amount of fatty acid contained in the capsule isn't all that important.
2. always look at the DHA vs EPA ratios
3. make sure the fish source is stated specifically
4. make sure the fish oil is pharmaceutical grade, molecularily distilled, GMP certified, etc
ONE The actual over-all amount of fatty acid contained in the capsule isn't all that important:
What is important to remember is that companies will go great lengths to cram as much fish oil into a single capsule as possible. The figure 1000mg looks good on the label, but tells you nothing about amount & the availability of the actual vital components EPA/DHA to your body. The actual amount of fish oil isn't important, reason being is pointer number two.
TWO Always look at the DHA vs EPA ratios:
The fish oil quality is determined by a number of things, but vital is the actual ratio of active ingredients. The higher the EPA & DHA content the less work & nutrients ( including zinc, magnesium, selenium, vitamin B complex and vitamin C) are necessary to convert the remaining fish oil in the body into the usable EPA/DHA forms. For example in a supplement containing 600mg omega-3s about 240mg should be EPA & 270mg should be DHA, leaving only a minimal 90mg not in those forms.
Benefits to taking EPA & DHA are:
- DHA plays a very important role during fetal development, early infancy, and old age
- DHA is a building block of tissue in the brain & the eyes
- they lubricate the joints & relieve inflammation of the joints
- they are a source of energy
- they insulate the body against heat loss
- they prevent the skin from drying & flaking
- they cushion tissues and organs
- they are converted into prostaglandins, which regulate cell activity & healthy cardiovascular function.
THREE Make sure the fish source is stated specifically:
Salmon was for a long time one of the best sources of Omega 3. Unfortunately much of the salmon from which many supplements are sourced is farmed.
This presents the following problems:
- farm-raised fish are fatter, but provide less usable, good omega 3 fats than wild fish
- farm-raised fish are treated with antibiotics, while wild fish aren't
- farm-raised fish get exposed to more concentrated pesticides than wild fish
- farm-raised fish contain higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats than wild fish
These days it is best to check that the sources used are either wild harvested or cold water caught fish, ideally from the Icelandic/Norwegian/Arctic regions of the globe. The better sources specifically are wild harvested sockeye salmon, mackerel or wild harvested salmon, also herring, tuna, halibut & cod aren't bad sources.
FOUR Make sure the fish oil is pharmaceutical grade, molecularily distilled, GMP certified, etc:
Only the best will do. Make sure the oil is ultra-pure & contains marine-derived omega 3. Believe me these supplements may be pricier, but generally you take less capsules to get the same dosage as a cheaper brand & you are at least certain that the oil contained in the capsules is of good quality.
What to look for:
- good quality molecular distillation removal of virtually all impurities, the free fatty acids, coloured components & protein residues are siphoned off, while pesticides, mercury, heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins & other pollutants are removed to create pharmaceutical grade oil
- ensure they state that all processing is done under mild conditions, with minimum exposure to oxygen, in order to protect the omega 3s, which become unstable when exposed to oxygen, high temperatures, light plus alkaline or acidic substances.
- certification of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) procedures ensure consistent quality, so make sure the supplier is certified.
Please post any queries.
These are by no means all the things to consider when purchasing quality omega 3 supplements, but these four steps ensure that what you are paying for is actually worth it.
About The Author:
After eight years in the retail side of the health industry, much accumulation of knowledge and information I changed industries completely and gone back to my graphic design roots. I still wish to help inform people on natural alternatives, as well as help people when they are choosing to use natural alternatives to treat disorders, diseases and distresses.
(Read more posts by Charlie)
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