Choosing a Fish Oil That Will Help, Not Hurt You I BrainMD Health
How to Choose an Omega-3 Supplement
Did you know fat is a MUST in the human diet—and should be about 20-35% of your daily calorie intake ? Of course, some fats are healthier than others. Today we’ll look at some of the best fats for wellness: Omega-3 fatty acids.
What is an Omega-3 Supplement?
Your body needs Omega-3 fatty acids to function, but the body cannot make Omega-3 fatty acids on its own. In general, we need to get Omega-3 fatty acids from food. You can also take an Omega-3 supplement as a reliable way to get these good fats into your routine. Omega-3 supplements are typically in the form of softgels, capsules, gummies, or liquids.
As you’re researching supplements, you’ll probably notice there are several types of Omega-3s . Here are three main ones (we’ll get into more details below!):
Benefits of Omega-3s
So, what is Omega-3 good for? Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, are found to have a number of critical benefits.
1. Heart Support
Omega-3s have been linked to significant benefits for heart and blood vessel health . These include reducing triglycerides in the blood and slowing the buildup of plaque on artery walls.
2. Brain Support
Researchers have studied the benefits of Omega-3s for brain health across age groups—including in young adults, pregnant mothers, and older adults. In general, DHA and EPA intake has been linked to improved cognitive function and brain health support .
3. Joint Support
Omega-3s have been researched for helping with joint health support .*
4. Eye Support
The retina of the eye is partly made up of Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA. Researchers have suggested that taking Omega-3s can help support eye health .
5. Pregnancy & Lactation Support
For women who are expecting a baby or breastfeeding, Omega-3 fatty acids help support baby’s visual and cognitive development. The important fatty acids a mother consumes help to form the functional tissue of her baby’s brain. Omega-3s from mom pass to her baby both during pregnancy and during lactation.
Where Do Omega-3s Come From?
Beneficial Omega-3s have two main sources —from plants and from the sea.
1. Plant Omegas
ALA is a plant-derived Omega-3 found in oils of certain nuts and seeds, such as flaxseed oil and canola oil.
2. Marine Omegas
EPA and DHA are found in marine animals, such as fish or krill (tiny crustaceans that are food for penguins and whales). However, these sea animals actually do not synthesize their own Omega-3 (similar to us humans!). They get it from their own diet. The original sources of marine Omega-3s are microalgae.
You may be wondering, which is the best Omega-3? One thing to keep in mind is that DHA and EPA are more researched for their health benefits . When you consume ALA, the body can convert it to DHA and EPA, but the conversion rate is relatively limited. So, you may want to go directly for DHA and EPA.
Can Vegans Take Omega-3 Supplements?
The short answer: yes! There are definitely Omega-3 supplements for vegans . To get the equivalent good fats that you’d get from fish, vegans can opt for Omega-3 straight from the microalgae that are the potent, original source of EPA and DHA. Just be sure to read labels to make sure the product is 100% vegan—like our Vegan Omega-3 Complex .
How Much Omega-3 Should You Take?
Omega-3s do not have a recommended intake or assigned % Daily Value like some vitamins or minerals. Nutrition experts recommend eating smart by choosing more unsaturated “good” fat options in your day (see foods with Omega-3 listed below to help). Limit or avoid saturated fat and trans fats, which are linked to heart disease. Furthermore, the American Heart Association suggests having 2 servings of fatty fish per week to ensure you’re getting those critical Omega-3s. Microalgae oil is another way to get the same Omega-3s that we treasure in fish. Talk to your healthcare professional about how to choose the right omega-3 supplement for you.
Which Foods Have Omega-3s?
Wondering which plants, which fish, or which nuts have Omega-3s your body needs? Grab your shopping list and we’ll break it down!
Some common foods that provide dietary ALA :
Flaxseeds (ground) or flaxseed oil
Some common foods that provide dietary DHA and EPA :
Shellfish (shrimp, crab, clam, oyster)
Choosing a Quality Omega-3 Supplement
Our family of Omega-3 products has something for everyone. We source the finest quality ingredients on earth and formulate products your body can really absorb. Ask yourself the following questions to pinpoint the perfect Omegas for you!
Want clinically studied whole fish oil with 17 Omegas, including essential DHA & EPA? Then Wholemega Fish Oil is perfect. This 2-gram daily dose of extra-virgin Wild Salmon oil is the equivalent of eating 3 servings of Salmon per week. (It also comes in easy-to-swallow Tiny Caps™.)
Want that same heart-healthy fish oil in an easy one-daily maintenance dose? Check out our Omega-3 Complex.
How about a purely vegan option, with naturally concentrated DHA & EPA from fermented microalgae ? Our Vegan Omega-3 complex is for you. It’s a one-daily dose and delivers more of these key Omegas per gram than our fish oil!
Are you pregnant or planning to be? Moms-to-be can get prenatal DHA and EPA in a tiny, easy-to-swallow size with Wholemega Fish Oil for Moms. Or go straight for the naturally concentrated source of those Omegas with Prenatal Vegan Omega-3 Complex, formulated with potent microalgae oil.
New Chapter is here to help keep your wellness goals going strong, including getting excellent quality good fats like DHA and EPA into your day. We’re here to do wellness well, so you can do you!
Review of Fish Oil and Omega-3 Supplements by ConsumerLab.com
Trace levels of PCBs were found in every product (as PCBs are ubiquitous in water), but two supplements exceeded contaminations limits for PCBs. Mercury was not detected in any of the products. (While it is best to avoid supplements with excess contaminants, raw or cooked fish may contain far more PCBs, as well as mercury, than fish oil supplements.)
Four supplements (including one of the contaminated products) contained 20% to 30% less than the claimed amounts of EPA, DHA or other omega-3 fatty acids.
An enteric-coated softgel (intended to reduce "fish burp") released its fish oil too early.
One softgel product contained spoiled fish oil.
Three products contained two to three times the claimed amounts of EPA or other fatty acids, and one supplement incorrectly claimed to contain 1 mg of fat but contained 1,000 mg (1 gram) of fat.
Super Pure Omega 3 Dogs/Cats
21st Century Omega-3 Fish Oil
Astamega-3 Omega-3 Krill Oil CardioSupport
Barlean's Organic Oils Fresh Catch Fish Oil
Carlson Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
Carlson Super Omega-3 Gems Fish Oil Conc.
Coromega omega-3 squeeze
CVS Pharmacy Natural Fish Oil Concentrate
Deva Non-Fish Vegan Omega-3 DHA
Doctor's Best -- Best DHA 500 from Calamari
Dr. Mercola Krill Oil
Finest Natural (Walgreens) Fish Oil
Garden of Life Oceans 3
GNC Fish Oil 1000
GNC TriFlex Complete Vitapak TriFlex
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil + Krill
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil + Phytosterols
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil + Resveratrol
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil + Vitamin D-3
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil Sport
GNC Triple Strength Omega Complex
GNC Ultra Omega Krill Oil
I.Q. Essentials (Purity Products) Kid's Omega-3 Fish Oil
Jamieson Omega-3 Select
Jarrow Formulas Krill Oil
Julian Whitaker, M.D. O-3 Essentials
Kirkland (Costco) Signature Natural Omega-3 Fish Oil
Life Extension Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA
L'il Critters Omega-3 DHA Gummy Fish
Metagenics EPA-DHA 720
Natrol DHA 500 Super Strength
Natural Factors RxOmega-3 Factors
Nature Made One Per Day Fish Oil
Nature's Bounty Fish Oil
Nature's Way Fisol
Nordic Calamari Higher Potency Omega-3
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
NOW Neptune Krill Oil
Nutrilite OceanEssentials omega-3
Omega-Caps for Cats and Small Dogs
Omega Smart (Renew Life) Ultimate Fish Oils
One A Day Women's Prenatal with DHA
Petco Healthy Skin & Coat Omega-3 for Dogs
Puritan's Pride Premium Omega-3 Fish Oil
Schiff MegaRed 100% Pure Omega-3 Krill Oil
Simply Right (Sam's Club) Enteric Fish Oil
Source Naturals Arctic Pure Krill Oil
Sundown Naturals Fish Oil
Swanson EFA's 100% Pure Krill Oil
Swanson EFA's Super EPA
USANA Optimizers BiOmega
Vitacost Mega EFA Omega-3 EPA & DHA
Vitamin Shoppe Omega 3 Fish Oil 800/500
Vitamin World Omega-3 Fish Oil
Whole Foods Omega-3 Cold Water Fish Oil
Xtendlife Omega 3/DHA Fish Oil Premium
The quality of fish oil / omega-3 supplements varies across brands, according to recent tests by which independently reports on the quality of health products. Analyses of 35 products selected and purchased by showed problems with the quality or labeling of 11, or 31.4%, of the products. uncovered the following problems:The tested supplements include those with fish oil, krill oil, algal oil (from algae) and/or, calamari (squid) oil. Results are published in a new report on which provides results for the 35 selected products as well as 28 products which passed the same testing through voluntary certification program. The review covers products for general use and those marketed specifically for pregnant women and children. It also includes pet supplements for use by dogs and found that good quality fish oil could be had for as little as 1 cent per 100 mg of EPA and DHA (a typical daily dose is 300 mg to 500 mg). Krill oil was much more expensive -- the lowest cost being 19 cents per 100 mg of EPA and DHA. Calamari oil and algal oil tended to be priced between the two other oils. cautioned that some "krill oil" supplements are actually blends of fish and krill oils and their labeling is misleading. Some products also claim to provide a certain percentage of the Daily Value (DV) for EPA and DHA — but no Daily Value has actually been established for omega-3 fatty acids.The new report is available online to members at . In addition to quality ratings of supplements, the report includes extensive clinical information about the use of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer, eye disease, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, and in pregnancy. It also provides expert tips on how to buy and use fish oil and other marine oil supplements, and information about dosage, potential side effects, and drug interactions.The following is a list of products covered in the report:
Choosing a Fish Oil That Will Help, Not Hurt You I BrainMD Health
How To Choose Fish Oil That Will Help, Not Hurt You
What Does Fish Oil Do & Why is it So Important?
Recently, it was determined that, after vitamin and mineral supplements, fish oil was the most popular complementary health product used by adults in the United States.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 18 million people spent more than $1.3 billion on fish oil in the year 2012, the most recent year for which they have statistics.
What Does Fish Oil Do?
Most people know that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are good for their health and are likely aware about the benefits to circulatory health. But not as many people may know that omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health.
Fish oils, are oily fats found in fish, particularly cold water fish, and in marine oils from other sea life such as krill. These oils are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, one type of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) that are crucially essential for health.
Are Fish Oil Supplements Good for You?
In your diet, you will come across omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Both are important for your overall health, and and you should find the right fish oil ratio for each one.
The two most studied omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are essential for our health and well-being—our bodies need them for a diverse range of essential life functions. Though the body can make them from smaller omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA are practically like vitamins in that the conversion efficiency is very poor. Though every cell in our body needs them, the only practical way to ensure we get the amounts of EPA and DHA that we need is through foods or supplements.
Unfortunately, surveys indicate most people get far too little omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. The research consistently indicates that most Americans are not getting the EPA and DHA in their tissues that they likely require for optimum brain and body health, with some studies demonstrating that as many as 90% of adults have suboptimal levels.
Many turn to fish oil supplements to help correct this deficiency. However, what they don’t realize (and this includes many health care practitioners) is that not all fish oils are created alike.
How Do I Choose the Best Fish Oil?
While the desired omega-3 fatty acids reside in the fatty tissue of fish, so do environmental contaminants. Therefore, oil derived from these tissues often contains high levels of these contaminants. This is why it’s dangerous to consume fish caught in ocean zones that are contaminated.
Fish (especially longer-lived species, and higher-level predators that consume other fish) will “bioaccumulate” heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead that originated from industrial sources and reached the watery environments in which they feed. These contaminants often end up in the fish oil derived from these fish.
Adverse effects to humans from ingesting heavy metals can include brain damage including memory loss, blindness, deafness, loss of coordination, irreversible liver and kidney damage, even death.
In addition to heavy metals, there are also other toxic compounds that bioaccumulate in fish.
Some of the most toxic chemicals known to science, including hundreds of different PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), PBBs (polybrominated biphenyls), dioxins and furans, can bioaccumulate in fish and have been linked to problems with the functioning of the brain, liver, immune system, endocrine and reproductive systems, and essentially all the organs.
The PCBs, which have been extensively studied, besides causing the organ problems listed above, when bioaccumulated in humans even at very low levels can cause brain and other nervous system disorders, muscle spasms, skin problems, and chronic bronchitis.
So, when looking for a fish oil supplement, it is critical that you find a product that has been highly purified.
Sourced from short-lived fish species (anchovies, sardines, and mackerel) that are pelagic (don’t feed on the bottom and therefore pick up less contaminants), the fish oil in BrainMD’s Omega-3 Power undergoes the most advanced purification process in the supplement industry.
Fish Oil to Help Memory & Heart
The ultra-high quality fish oil that goes into BrainMD’s Omega-3 Power is produced in a facility that is licensed to make both pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. This facility is recognized by the FDA and certified for its cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) by the rigorous USP (United States Pharmacopeia), NSF and other agencies.
To ensure purity, BrainMD’s Omega-3 Power is tested to ensure lack of rancidity and for 450 potential environmental contaminants, including mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and other heavy metals; PCBs, PBBs, dioxins, furans; and a diverse range of other organic pollutants.
Fish Oil Reviews
Here’s what our customers are saying:
“The only fish oil I found that I can take because you take the care to purify it so well. Thank you so much!” by Carol
“I think this product is great! I’ve compared the EPA and DHA amounts to other fish oils and this one has more than most that are out on the market.” by Steph
“Effective & high quality! I’ve tried other omega-3 supplements & they’ve never quite settled well & didn’t do much for my mood or energy. I feel a difference with these! Definitely worth the price.” by Elizabeth