There is an awful lot of information out there on the benefits of essential fatty acids on your health – particularly with respect to omega-3 fatty acids. Although we all know that much of the omega-3 fatty acids are found in highest concentrations in fish and, to a lesser extent, flaxseeds and certain nuts, it is sometimes just not possible to consume the amount of fish that the Japanese do in a modern Western environment.
Buying an Omega-3 supplement is usually the most efficient way to get your daily dose of this essential fatty acid. Omega-3 has been shown to help with heart health, manage cholesterol levels, alleviate inflammation in joints, maintain skin health and even combat depression and anxiety. However, there are a few things that one should keep in mind when shopping around for an omega-3 supplement.
EPA and DHA
Not all omega-3 fatty acids are made equal, and the form of omega-3 that is most researched for its health benefits is in the form of EPA and DHA. These two forms are specifically found in fish, and for those who are vegetarian, looking for DHA extracted from algae is also quite possible.
Make sure that you are looking at the labels to ensure that you are getting the appropriate dosage per serving. Many of the omega-3 supplements out there use ‘’filler oils’’ in addition to the EPA and DHA concentration in order to make it look as though there is more per capsule. For example, a product may say that it contains 1000mg fish oil per serving, but only 200mg is EPA and DHA and the other 800mg is fish oil. You want to ensure that you are receiving the 1000mg of EPA/DHA per day, as is the researched amount for wellness and health.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the amount of toxins and heavy metals that are now being found in disturbingly high levels in ocean products, like fish, fish oil and algae. Make sure that when buying an omega-3 supplement, you do your research on the source of the fish that they are using for the oil. Speak to a trusted health care practitioner or naturopath in order to find brands that have the most research done on them.
There are quite a few omega-3 supplements that have combined omega-6 and omega-9 to their capsules. Stay away from these. Omega-6 needs to actually be reduced in our diets as they are high in refined and fatty foods, grains and animal products and omega-9 can be easily incorporated into the diet through the use of olive oil. If you want to gain the most health benefits from essential fatty acid intake, concentrate on increasing DHA/EPA and consider buying a strictly omega-3 fatty acid supplement
Please remember that supplements should not be used to replace a healthy diet and improper use of nutritional supplements can have adverse effects. If you are on blood-thinning medication, do consult a health care practitioner as high doses of omega-3 fish oils do have a blood thinning effect as well. Eat well, exercise regularly and consider buying omega-3 supplements to maintain health and wellness.