Fish oil is the best known source of omega-3 fatty acids, but all fish oil supplements are not the same. Selecting the wrong supplement
could mean that you get little or none of the health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids. What's worse is that some fish oil
supplements contain contaminants that can endanger your health.
In order to choose the best fish oil dietary supplements, there are several things that you, the consumer should consider. First, there
are basic considerations that apply to all dietary supplements, not just fish oil supplements.
You should ask:
What are the health benefits?
The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are well documented.
The brain needs adequate levels of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in order to maintain and rebuild cells. Fish is often referred to as "brain food".
Scientific studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids found in some fish support optimum brain function. Increasing your intake of
omega-3 fatty acids may improve your memory and your ability to focus on the task at hand, whether it be taking a test, writing a novel or
driving your vehicle.
People suffering from conditions, such as depression, multiple sclerosis, attention deficit disorder and similar problems have shown
improvement after increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids. In the studies that support these statements, the participants were given
some of the purest and best fish oil dietary supplements.
The heart needs EPA (eicospentaenoic acid) in order to maintain proper circulation. The best fish oil dietary supplements contain both
EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends fish oil dietary supplements for people who have suffered a
heart attack. It is believed that fish oil supplements may help prevent certain types of heart disease.
The joints function better when there are adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. In research studies, people suffering
from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis noticed improvement in flexibility, a reduction in pain, reduced morning stiffness and less dependence on over
the counter or prescription pain medications.
Fish oil supplements can improve the moisture content and elasticity of the skin. They can improve the appearance, texture and strength
of a person's hair. Omega-3 fatty acids serve specific functions in every system of the human body. To learn more
about the health benefits, click on the links below. You will be taken to a page devoted specifically to that portion of the
Skin & Immune System
Heart & Circulatory System
Brain & Nervous System
There are also specific benefits for certain health problems. To learn more about those, click on the links below. You will be
taken to a page that includes links to scientific research, as well as an overview of the results of those studies.
Type II Diabetes
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Are there any side effects?
The best fish oil dietary supplements are odorless and tasteless. Capsules are easy to swallow. The oils are carefully
examined for impurities, before they are encapsulated.
You should choose a fish oil supplement that is manufactured by a reputable company that sells a variety of health supplements and is not new
to omega-3 supplement manufacturing. Experienced manufacturers know how to choose the source fish and how to properly remove contaminants. They have
testing conducted by independant laboratories and post the results of those evaluations online. To view an example of a certificate of
analysis, click here.
The only side effect that you might experience is the same kind of burp you would get after eating a fresh piece of salmon. However,
burping or repeating should not be excessive. The manufacturer should offer a money-back guarantee, even on opened bottles, should you
experience this problem.
What are the ingredients?
Not all omega-3 supplements are derived from fish oil. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids do not contain EPA and DHA.
Flax seed supplements contain only ALA or alpha-linolenic acid. ALA does not provide any health benefits. In fact, there
is reason to believe that excessive consumption of ALA could cause health problems.
Some marine algae supplements provide DHA. Although they do not provide EPA, it is the best choice for vegans. The product featured at
the top left is a good choice for vegans. If you are interested in a vegan alternative, you can click on the link
DEVA Vegan Vitamins Vegan DHA (Algae) 200mg Vegan Softgels, 90-Count Bottle
Some fish oil supplements contain artificial flavorings and fragrances. This technique is often used to mask the taste and odor of
rancid or spoiled fish oil. The manufacturer should collect and freeze the oil when it is first harvested in order to avoid spoilage,
but most do not.
Rancid oils contain free radicals, which are one of the causes of cellular aging. So, it is very important to avoid products that may
contain rancid oils. Excessive burping is usually caused by consumption of oils that are not fresh. As mentioned above, the
manufacturer should offer a money back guarantee if you experience excessive burping.
Natural mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) and rosemary extract may be included to further extend shelf life and protect freshness. They are
Other information that should be on the ingredients label includes:
- the total amount of omega-3s (just because the label says 1000mg capsules does not mean you are getting 1000mg of omega3s...the best fish
oil dietary supplements provide at least 500mg of total omega-3s for every 1000mg capsule)
- the total DHA content (should be at least 280mg, for the reasons why click here)
- the total EPA content
- the total amount of omega-6s (should be as low as possible, click here to learn why)
Astaxanthin and lycopene may be added to boost the benefits to the skin and possibly reverse wrinkling. Click here to learn more about
What type of fish and what part of the fish is the oil derived from?
If the manufacturer does not list the type of fish, do not buy that brand of fish oil supplement. Some manufacturers use whatever is
cheapest, with little concern for safety. Many fish have been contaminated by pollutants. They contain high levels of mercury
and PCB's (poisonous pollutants created by industry).
Fish caught in the Atlantic Ocean are the least safe. Specifically you should avoid Codfish, (which means cod liver oil), Atlantic
salmon, shark, and Atlantic halibut. You should also choose a fish oil that is derived form the flesh of the fish, not the liver, because
the liver is the dumping ground for every toxin that the fish has ever been exposed to.
The best source fish, according to everything that we have read, is the New Zealand Hoki fish.
It is becoming an increasingly popular choice for fish sticks and filets, because of the lack of toxins found in the water in which it
swims. Located off the southern coast of Australia, the ocean waters surrounding the island country of New Zealand are considered the
cleanest in the world.
Is the fish oil molecularly distilled?
Molecular distillation has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are to remove toxins and increase the omega-3
content. The disadvantages have to do with an X factor, which we have only recently become aware of. If you visited this site in
years past, you would have seen no mention of it.
In a study conducted in 2009, scientists compared the anti-inflammatory activity of 1000mg of concentrated molecularly distilled tuna oil to
that of regular brands, which typically contain about 300-400mg of total omega-3s. The concentrated tuna oil provided 850mg of omega-3s per
The results were as expected. The concentrated tuna oil had more anti-inflammatory activity than the regular supplement.
Then the scientists mixed 500mg of the concentrated tuna oil with 500mg of natural triglycerides derived from the New Zealand hoki fish.
This decreased the omega-3 concentration to 500mg total. The results were unexpected.
Something in the natural triglycerides caused a 250% increase in anti-inflammatory activity!
Because there is nothing else that we can call it, we call it the X factor. Something about molecular distillation reduces the
anti-inflammatory activity. This cannot be attributed to the total omega-3 content, because the concentration is lower in the natural
But, in order to include natural triglycerides in a dietary supplement, they must be carefully tested for impurities. So, if you
cannot find a manufacturer that fully discloses the testing conducted to insure purity, always choose one that has been
The Bottom Line:
- Omega 3 fatty acids provide numerous health benefits to people of all ages.
- The best known source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil.
- The best fish oil dietary supplements come from fish that swim in clean ocean waters, contain no additives and have been thoroughly
tested to ensure safety and purity.
Click here to learn more about our preferred product, what we consider the best fish oil dietary supplement in the world. To read about my personal experiences, click here.