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Quality Fish Oil Supplements

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Quality Fish Oil Supplements


In the past I covered some of my most simple recommended list of supplements. On that list was a fish oil supplement. 


Why do we recommend a fish oil supplement though?


Scientific research has shown the health benefits of omega-3s to be vast and quite impactful, including:


--Relieving joint pain

--Lowering cholesterol

--Decreasing whole-body inflammation

--Increasing heart health

--Lowering blood pressure

--Preventing fatal clots that can lead to heart attack/stroke

--Improving alertness in children with ADHD

--Decreasing the chances of developing mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

--Contributing to normal quality of hair, skin and nails


The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 1–2 portions (~8 oz.) of fish per week. However, many of us don’t get these recommended amounts. Thus fish oil supplements are often recommended to help you get enough omega-3s.


Several different omega-3s exist, but the majority of scientific research focuses on three: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). When it comes to recommendations, the minimum for the general population is about 250 milligrams per day of EPA and DHA combined. However, the American Heart Association recommends 1 gram daily.


FINDING A QUALITY SUPPLEMENT


Take a look at your omega-3 supplement. First, always remember that it’s the omega-3s that count. When making your purchase, be sure to determine the amount of omega-3s per serving. 


Many doctors often recommend 1000 to 1200 mg of fish oil because that amount of fish oil contains the total amount of omega-3s the doctor wants you to consume. 1000 mg or 1200 mg of fish oil doesn’t equal 1000 or 1200 mg of omega-3s. A standard 1000 mg fish oil softgel provides around 300 mg of omega-3s (and even less of the important EPA and DHA). To meet the daily requirements, a minimum of two softgels would likely be necessary (with more being needed to meet higher recommended intakes.


It’s very important to read the “Supplement Facts” label to determine the amount of EPA and DHA in a fish oil/omega-3 supplement.


One additional test you can do  to determine if you are getting a high level of omega 3’s in a supplement is the freezer test. Low-Omega-3 fish oils will turn opaque like butter in the freezer. High-Omega-3 fish oil pills won’t.


KEEPING THE QUALITY


Over time, as your omega-3 supplement goes rancid (or oxidizes), the amount of EPA and DHA in the oil also decreases. In other words, if your fish oil supplement is rancid, you are likely getting less omega-3 than the labels suggests. Research suggests that rancid fish oil may actually be harmful to your health as well. 


An easy way to test rancidity is to open the bottle and smell the remaining fish oil capsules. A fishy, sour or otherwise off odor indicates rancidity. Cloudiness of the oil or capsules, splotchiness, or a soft capsule also indicate spoilage.


So what can you do to get the most out of your fish oil supplement?


Buy fish oil that you can store in the freezer or refrigerator. Low temperatures slow down the enzymatic time bomb that is ticking away.


Also, too often people take advantage of sales and stock up on supplements. However, while this may seem like an effective use of money, it’s likely that your supplements quality clock is ticking away. Thus, it may be better to buy limited amounts and stock up more frequently.


RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS


While I don’t have any affiliations, here are a few of the brands that I recommend for both being high quality and giving you the most bang for your buck.


**Vitacost Mega EFA

**Nordic Naturals

**Now Foods

**Barlean’s

**Carlson’s


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What questions do you have about fish oil supplements?

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