Updated: 9 hours ago
In part 1 and part 2 of this series, we discussed the importance of quality, healthy fats in the diet for brain function, healthy skin and nails, joint health, immune and hormonal health, etc. If you are someone who doesn't like seafood or doesn't include it due to a vegan diet, then you may want to think about supplementing.
It is very important to utilize a QUALITY product when it comes to omega 3 supplements. Here is some information to keep in mind when shopping for a product.
1. Fish Oil
Derived from the tissues of fatty fish, fish oil supplies a steady stream of both EPA and DHA. It’s one of the most readily available and is often relatively affordable, making it a popular supplement choice.
2. Cod Liver Oil
Not only does cod liver oil contain a concentrated amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of EPA and DHA, but it’s also rich in vitamin A and vitamin D, both of which support many aspects of brain health and overall wellbeing.
3. Krill Oil
Krill oil is produced from Atlantic krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean found primarily in the Southern Ocean. In addition to its omega-3 fatty acid content, krill oil also contains astaxanthin, a powerful carotenoid that can help promote a healthy response to oxidative stress.
4. Algae Oil
For those who don’t consume fish or seafood, algae oil can be a great alternative to help meet your daily omega-3 fatty acid needs. In fact, it stands out as one of the few plant-based sources of omega-3s that contains both EPA and DHA.
5. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil is one of the best omega-3 fish oil alternatives, especially for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet. It’s loaded with ALA and is available in convenient capsule or soft gel form, making it easier than ever to get your daily dose.
How to Choose an Omega-3 Supplement
When shopping for omega-3s, there are several factors to look for to ensure you get the best bang for your buck. Pay close attention to the form, type, dosage, freshness and purity of different supplements, which can help you to identify a product that is unrefined and full of healthy fats.
Here’s what to keep in mind while browsing the omega-3 supplement section:
Form: There are also several different omega-3 supplement forms, each of which varies in the way it is processed and produced. The processing method used is especially important, as it can alter the body’s ability to absorb and use each distinct type of omega-3 fatty acid. Although all types can supply a multitude of omega-3 benefits, certain types seem to be better absorbed in the body than others. Selecting a supplement that contains triglycerides, free fatty acids or phospholipids may help to support absorption.
Type: DHA and EPA are the active forms of omega-3 fatty acids in the body, and most supplements contain a good mix of the two to help deliver a wide array of benefits. ALA, on the other hand, is found in many plant-based supplements and some can be converted into DHA or EPA.
Serving size: Many supplements boast a high amount of total milligrams of omega-3s but actually contain a much smaller amount of EPA and DHA. Although there are no official guidelines for the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids, many organizations recommend getting at least 250-500 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA daily.
Freshness: Just like other foods, fish oil capsules can start to go rancid over time, diminishing many of the potential health-promoting properties. In addition to checking the expiration date, the easiest and most effective way to determine freshness is by simply breaking the capsule open and evaluating the taste and smell for rancidity.
Purity: When buying fish oil, it’s best to look for products that are certified by third-party programs, such as the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) or EuroFins. These organizations have strict standards for purity and can ensure that you get a high-quality product free of contaminants, toxins, heavy metals and oxidation.
Benefits of Certain Omega-3 Supplements
Support joint health and mobility
Promote healthy cognitive function and brain health
Support a healthy response to inflammation
Support cardiovascular health
Promote healthy aging by supporting smooth, healthy skin
Omega-3 benefits can also include supporting:
Healthy eye function
A healthy response to oxidative stress
A healthy immune system
A healthy hormone balance
How Much Omega-3 Per Day Should You Take?
Many people wonder: How much omega-3 fish oil per day is needed to support overall health?
The dosage recommendations can differ based on several factors, including age, gender and health status. It can also vary based on how much omega-6 per day you consume and how much omega-3s are already in the diet.
The suggested omega-3 dosage for the average adult is about 1,000 milligrams per day, but this dosage can vary based on a number of factors.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
According to studies, taking between 200–2,200 milligrams per day of omega-3 fatty acids could be effective for supporting brain and cognitive health in adults.
Multiple studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids, in conjunction with an overall healthy diet and lifestyle including regular exercise, can have a beneficial effect on weight management. Although the dosage can vary based on many different factors, some studies have found dosages of 600–3,000 milligrams per day to be most beneficial.
For pregnant women, it’s recommended to get at least 650 milligrams per day of combined EPA and DHA, of which at least 300 milligrams should be DHA.
To support heart health, supplementation with 2,000–4,000 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA has been shown to be helpful.
To support cognitive function and mental health issues, supplement recommendations can range from 1,000 mg all the way up to 9,000 mg (like for bipolar disorder), but please speak with your nutritionist before starting supplementation higher than 4,000 mg/day.
At the end of the day, fresh & whole food sources of omega 3s are always best (wild caught seafood, organ meats, seaweeds). However, if you decide to utilize supplemental forms of omega 3s - it is very important to choose the best quality options. Some recommended brands include: Nordic Naturals, Wiley's Finest, Designs for Health, Pure Encapsulations, Metagenics.
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