Fish oil supplements.

By May 3, 2015 July 26th, 2017 Nutrition

Omega-3 fats help promote cardiovascular and brain health, but the key to their effectiveness is an essential fat known as eicosapentaenoic acid, more easily pronounced by its acronym, EPA.

Essential fat imbalance in the body can trigger chronic inflammation, pain and risk of chronic illness. The most common cause of this imbalance is inadequate consumption of EPA-containing omega-3 fats, coupled with overconsumption of omega-6 fats. It’s been estimated that more than 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from this fat imbalance.

EPA is produced in the bodies of wild cold-water fish and crustaceans, and to a much lesser extent, mammals including humans. For this reason, wild cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines and anchovies, are the best sources of EPA. (Farm-raised fish contain little if any EPA.)

However, most people consume too little EPA because sufficient amounts of safe, fresh, cold-water fish are not typically included in the diet. Another issue with adding freshwater and ocean fish to the diet is that these fish are increasingly contaminated by pollutants, posing toxin risks to those who eat them regularly.

Taking an EPA fish oil supplement is the most effective solution to this problem. However, choosing the right supplement is essential.

The best fish oils are:

  •      Made from cold-water fish.
  •      Molecularly distilled to minimize the amount of omega-6 oils.
  •      Tested to be free from heavy-metal contamination.
  •      Produced without oxidized oils.

When buying oil-based dietary supplements, read the labels and make sure the oil has been tested for oxidation, as well as heavy metals and other potential toxins found in the oceans.

Some people prefer taking flaxseed oil as an omega-3 supplement. But flaxseed oil does not contain EPA. Since humans are very inefficient at converting EPA from flax, it is not a first choice among EPA supplements. In addition, flax oil is extremely susceptible to oxidation when exposed to air or heat, so it is best to purchase it in capsules or refrigerate it in liquid form. Avoid refrigerating any encapsulated dietary oil supplements, as the cold environment may cause air leakage, leading to oxidation and lowered potency.

7 Comments

  • Mircea Andrei Ghinea says:

    hello!

    if somehow the body can not convert omega-3 into EPA does it mean that the omega-3 is for nothing there in the system/body, we don’t use it? so all we need is EPA?

    you say for getting good quality EPA we have to take it from wild cold-water fish and crustaceans. but.. most of the people on this planet do not have access to such foods (as far as i know). does it mean they are unhealthy by default? then next solution is dietary supplements.. so supporting pharmacy industry..
    for me something doesn’t sound right, like we are supposed to be unhealthy if not taking EPA from wild cold-water fish and crustaceans or dietary supplements.

    i remember that i read the fish take omega-3 from the algae. so we can eat algae too, right?
    also that the leafy greens contain omega-3.

    but still not clear to me what do we actually need: just EPA, or omega-3, or both?

    thank you!
    regards,
    Mircea

    • Mircea:

      Thank you for your comment.

      We need both Omega-3 and EPA (in fact, EPA is one kind of Omega-3), and yes, we can get EPA from algae.

      People that don’t get EPA aren’t unhealthy by default, but it means that they are at a greater risk for various chronic illnesses. Remember that it’s just difficult to synthesize EPA from flax—we can synthesize EPA from other kinds of Omega-3 (ALA), but we can get more EPA from fish oil than our bodies could ever synthesize from ALA.

      So, as long as you eat sources of ALA, which are found in a wide variety of foods, you’re good. However, for various reasons, it’s more difficult for ALA from vegetarian sources to be synthesized into EPA (unless, of course, the EPA is already present, like in seaweed).

  • James says:

    Hi Ivan

    I take fish oil as pure oil and not in capsule form as the oil is better value. Is the oil better than the capsules? 10ml has about 800mg EPA.
    Thanks

  • Tim says:

    I’ve heard that taking fish oil supplements could cause prostate cancer. Is this still the verdict, or have newer studies disproved that theory?

  • Roxana says:

    What brand of fish oil supplements do you recommend?

Leave a Reply