Fish Oil

Fish Oil Supplements & Weight Loss: What the Science Says

Omega 3-6-9 vs Omega-3: Why You Should Stop Taking Omega 3-6-9 Supplements

We all want to be healthy and make sure we are getting the correct nutrients. However, it's also important to get the best value for the money we invest in our supplements.

Omega-3-6-9 supplements are often found alongside Omega-3 at most health food stores and pharmacies, but are you confused by the difference between Omega-3-6-9 and Omega-3 supplements?

As the name suggests, 3-6-9 supplements are a combination of Omega 3, 6 and 9, mixed together to form an "ideal ratio" or "complete spectrum" of omega fats.

As a consumer, this may sound appealing – why buy only the one when you can get all three fatty acids for a similar price? But all is not what it seems. Here are four reasons why these mixed supplements are best avoided.

But first... what are Omegas -3 -6 & -9?

Omegas 3, 6 and 9 are fatty acids that are essential to our diets. An imbalance may contribute to an array of chronic diseases and illnesses. So let's clear up the facts on this mix before we dispel any myths.

Omegas 3, 6 and 9 are also known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA) and oleic acid (OA) respectively.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These are polyunsaturated fats, a kind of fat your body cannot make by itself. The term "polyunsaturated" refers to the chemical structure, where "poly" means many and "unsaturated" refers to the double bonds.

These fats are a crucial part of our cell membranes, and serve many important functions such as improving heart health, eye health, brain health, infant brain development, reducing inflammation, and decreasing liver fats. (1)

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-6 fats (linoleic acid) are also polyunsaturated fatty acids, but the last double bond is six carbons from the omega end of the molecule.

Linoleic acid helps to lower "bad" cholesterol levels, raise "good" cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and reduce cancer risk, alongside a range of other health benefits. (2)

Omega-9 Fatty Acids

Omega-9 fatty acids (oleic acid) are monounsaturated, which means they only have one double bond, which is located nine carbons from the omega end of the fatty acid molecule.

They aren't technically essential as the body can produce Omega-9s, but consuming foods rich in this fatty acid has a range of health benefits.

Research has shown this monounsaturated fatty acid helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes, as they help eliminate plaque build up in the arteries. (3)

4 Reasons to Avoid Omega 3-6-9 Supplements

1. You're Probably Already Getting Enough Omega-6 Fats

Omega-6 is an essential fat and nutrient in the diet. However, it's so common that very few people are actually deficient in it. The modern diet contains plenty of Omega-6 fats, and even people on vegetarian and vegan diets can easily get more than enough.

This fat is abundant in a variety of foods, including vegetable oils, nuts, cereals, bread, dairy, eggs and meat. Rather than deficiency, we're eating far too much Omega-6, which brings us on to the second reason to avoid 3-6-9 supplements...

2. Too Much Omega-6 Is Bad For You

If Omega-6 fatty acids are essential, then surely having lots of it is good, right? Not quite.

The human body is designed to handle a ratio of 1:1 Omega-3 fats to Omega-6 fats. However, the reality is that the average person has a ratio of closer to 1:20, meaning that we're eating up to 20 times the Omega-6 fats that the human body has evolved to process.

Linoleic acid (Omega-6) in large amounts has an inflammatory effect within the body, which isn't a good thing. Inflammatory responses within the body have been linked to a variety of common diseases (4), including:

Cardiovascular disease


Type-2 diabetes


Irritable bowel syndrome

Rheumatoid arthritis

Certain forms of cancer

Omega-3 vs Omega-6: what's the difference?

Unlike Omega-6, Omega-3 fats have an anti-inflammatory response and help counteract the effects of cellular inflammation and defend against diseases.

However, Omega-3 and Omega-6 are very similar in chemical structure and compete for the same digestive enzymes.

This means that if we're eating 20 times more Omega-6 fats than -3, the Omega-3 fats are overwhelmed, and the anti-inflammatory benefits are lost.

So, the question is - why would we want to increase our already high Omega-6 levels by taking a mixed 3-6-9 supplement? Our money is better spent trying to rebalance the ratio and get closer to 1:1.

The best way to do this is by increasing our intake of Omega-3 fats only, whilst also decreasing the amount of Omega-6 fats we eat.

3. You Don't Need Omega-9 Fatty Acids In A Supplement

Omegas-3 and -6 are considered "essential" fatty acids because our bodies cannot make them and must, therefore, be consumed as part of our diets.

Omega-9 is not an essential fatty acid, as our bodies can make it from other nutrients. Furthermore, this fatty acid is easily found in many food sources such as olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado and soy.

So, if Omega-9 is made by the body and is common in food, what's the point of taking a supplement? Usually, Omega-9 in a supplement is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

4. There's Not Enough Useful Omega-3

In 3-6-9 supplements, the Omega-3 fats are the most useful. They are harder to get than both Omega 6 and 9, particularly for those who don't have much oily fish in their diet.

Unfortunately, 3-6-9 supplements are often crammed with the cheaper Omega 6 and 9 oils and only very little Omega-3. Not only that, but the Omega-3 is usually in the form of ALA from seeds, which is the least useful type.

It's not very useful because the human body cannot use ALA directly. It needs to be converted into the more useful forms of DHA and EPA, which are responsible for most of the awesome health benefits of Omega-3.

So, next time you're in your local health food store, check the label of a 3-6-9 supplement. You'll probably find that the bulk of the content is made up of Omega-6, Omega-9 and Omega-3 ALA. There will be little to no DHA, which is the super useful form that we really need (we need a minimum of 250 mg of Omega-3 DHA/EPA per day).

The better option would be to take a high-quality algae-based Omega-3 supplement like Omvits Omega-3.

How Can Vegans & Vegetarians Get Omega-3-6-9?

If you're already eating a varied and balanced plant-based or vegan diet, you are most likely consuming enough Omega 6 and 9 already.

You will get these fatty acids from foods such as hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, soya spread and almost any type of vegetable oil.

Omega-6 is also common in many of the processed foods we eat, so you don’t need to worry about not getting enough.

However, as with meat-eaters, vegans are probably missing Omega-3 fats from their diets which are far more difficult to get than Omega-6 or -9.

The three most important Omega-3 fats are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). (5) This is where it gets a little complicated for vegans or vegetarians…

Why Vegans & Vegetarians May Struggle To Get DHA

A plant-based diet is usually high in ALA because seeds, nuts, and oils are high in ALA.

Unfortunately, these foods contain almost no EPA or DHA, which is where most of the benefits come from. In fact, only oily fish and other types of seafood contain significant amounts of EPA and DHA.

Your body can convert some ALA into EPA and DHA, but research has shown that this is very limited and that vegans and vegetarians generally have lower levels of EPA and DHA than those following a diet with lots of oily fish. (5)

However, that doesn't mean that oily fish is the only way to get Omega-3 DHA. In fact, Omega-3 is originally created by algae in the ocean, which the fish and small crustaceans feed on. It's by feeding on this algae that fish themselves get Omega-3.

This is great news for anyone that doesn't eat much oily fish, as it means that they can get their Omega-3 directly from the algae source.

The easiest and most convenient way to add clean, plant-based DHA to your diet is by taking an algae-based Omega-3 supplement.


Most people would benefit from increasing their marine Omega-3 intake (in the form of DHA) and lowering their consumption of Omega-6 by consuming fewer processed foods and vegetable oils.

This would go a long way towards bringing their omega fats back into a healthy balance instead of taking Omega-3-6-9 supplements.

If you don't eat much oily fish, increasing your intake of high-quality Omega-3s can be a challenge. This is where Omvits algae-based supplement is a great convenient option to bring your polyunsaturated fatty acids back to a healthy balance.


11 Myths About Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, fish oil is now the most commonly used non-vitamin, non-mineral supplement in the USA (1). But just as omega-3 fish oil has grown in popularity, so has the misinformation and confusion surrounding this powerful nutrient.

Let’s clear up 11 common myths about omega-3 fish oil supplements, focusing particularly on dose, source, and freshness.

Myth #1: All Omega-3 Sources Are Equally Beneficial

From salmon to flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, popular health websites and magazines often claim that there are plenty of ways to get these essential fatty acids.

But not all of these omega-3 sources provide the same value.

When we talk about omega-3, we’re talking about a family of fatty acids. Of the foods we commonly eat, only fatty fish (and breast milk for babies) contain the full range of the omega-3 family, including the best-known EPA and DHA molecules.

Plant sources, in contrast, contain only one type of omega-3: ALA.

Relying exclusively on ALA-based foods for your omega-3s has several problems. First, almost every omega-3 clinical study to date has focused on EPA and DHA from fish and fish oil. In other words, there just isn’t a lot of science showing that ALA has the same benefits as EPA and DHA.

Second, for a long time, it was believed that people had the ability to synthesize EPA and DHA from ALA-based foods. More recent research, however, shows that the conversion rate of ALA into EPA and DHA is so low that it’s inconsequential for most people (2). This is why eating fatty fish or taking a quality fish oil supplement is far superior in delivering the benefits of omega-3s.

VIDEO: MYTH – Fish is the Best Source of Omega-3 EPA & DHA

Myth #2: Eating Fish Is the Best Way to Get Your Omega-3s

Eating fatty fish is a wonderful way to increase your omega-3 intake. But today, there is a clear discrepancy between this often-heard recommendation and reality: Studies show that an estimated 95% of Americans do not get enough omega-3s from their diets (3).

BLOG: Are You Getting Enough Omega-3s? New Research Says Probably Not…

There are many factors that contribute to why so few Americans get enough omega-3s. Many people say they don’t eat fish because they follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, are unsure of how to prepare it, feel like they can’t afford it, or don’t care for the taste or texture.

But even for the people who eat seafood regularly, it can be challenging to get enough omega-3s from diet alone. Some of the most popular seafood options — like shrimp or tilapia — contain almost no omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, other factors — like whether the fish was farm raised or wild caught, the season, and the cooking method — can all significantly impact the omega-3 content as well.

Be Aware of the Fish You Eat

Let’s take the example of eating salmon for dinner. With a wild caught salmon, the amount of omega-3s can vary somewhat depending on the season and the type of salmon. However, you would still expect a wild-caught salmon to contain a substantial amount of omega-3s. If the salmon is farm raised, however, its nutritional value can vary tremendously depending on the provider. For instance, the BBC reported in 2016 that over a five-year period, the omega-3 levels in farmed salmon shrank by 50% because the industry was cutting down on costs (4).

In other words, consumers eating farmed fish now have to eat twice as much fish to get the same amount of omega-3s provided just a few years before!

This is all to say, if you are like most Americans, you probably need to consider omega-3 supplements. If think you might already be consuming a sufficient amount of these fatty acids, consider taking an omega-3 index test to find out if you are right.

Not all meals involving fish contain a meaningful amount of omega-3s.

VIDEO: The Omega-3 Index Test Has Been Evaluated by FDA

Myth #3: Getting a Little Omega-3 Is Better Than Nothing

Studies show that omega-3s have a dose dependent effect. This means that the benefits associated with these fatty acids depend on the amount consumed.

Research also shows that you often need to reach – and maintain – a certain threshold dose to get results. For instance, a 2018 meta-analysis looking at anxiety found significant clinical benefits when patients consumed omega-3 doses greater than 2000 mg EPA/DHA daily. But the researchers did not find significant benefits at doses below that mark (5).

Similarly, in reviews looking at the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s, researchers have found that it typically takes more than 2000 mg of EPA/DHA to demonstrate effects at the cellular level (6). For other health areas, like lowering triglyceride levels, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancers, the omega-3 doses used in successful clinical trials frequently go even higher (7, 8).

The reason we need a sufficient amount of omega-3s makes more sense when you understand how these fatty acids work in the body. In our cells, the omega-3 molecules compete for the same enzymes as the omega-6 molecules to carry out their beneficial actions. Historically, humans evolved on a diet that delivered about the same amount of omega-3s and omega-6s. But because today’s processed foods are saturated with pro-inflammatory omega-6s, most Americans get 20 times or more omega-6s than omega-3s (9). This significant imbalance means the omega-6 molecules always win the enzymes, resulting in chronic inflammation.

To correct the imbalance, most people need to consume a substantial amount of EPA/DHA for the omega-3s to have any possibility of competing with the omega-6 molecules. That’s why if you are first going to invest in quality fish oil supplements, it’s important to get an effective omega-3 dose every day. Otherwise, it’s likely you will never feel much of a difference.

BLOG: New Research Shows Omega-6 is Good for You

Myth #4: Fish Oil Is Supposed to Smell and Taste Fishy

Just like truly fresh seafood, fresh fish oil has no fishy taste or smell. If it does, it has started to oxidize and go rancid.

Besides tasting and smelling bad, rancid fish oil is likely toxic. In animal studies, consuming rancid oil has been linked with organ damage and atherosclerosis (10). Other researchers have found that oxidized fatty acids have a pro-inflammatory and mutagenic effect (11), and may even increase certain risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (12).

To determine whether your omega-3 supplement is rancid, break open the capsule to taste and smell the oil inside. You can also measure an oil’s rancidity level by looking at its oxidation values.

If you don’t know the oxidation values of your omega-3 supplement, break open your capsules to taste and smell what’s inside. Truly fresh fish oil should taste and smell like fresh fish — meaning, not fishy at all.

Myth #5: You Can Prevent Fishy Burps by Freezing Fish Oil Capsules

Foul-tasting fish oil burps are a typical symptom of rancid fish oil. But while freezing your fish oil capsules may help mask fishy flavors and slow digestion in the stomach, it doesn’t solve the rancidity problem if the oil has already gone bad.

Regardless of whether or not your fish oil capsules make you burp, break them open when you first buy them. Taste and smell the oil inside to check whether the oil is still fresh. Only if the oil passes the test should you put your fish oil in the freezer to guard against future oxidation.

VIDEO: Why You Can Trust the Omega-3 Index Score from OmegaQuant

Myth #6: Expiration Dates Indicate Freshness

If you leave milk on the counter for a day or two, it’ll go bad, no matter the expiration date. The same rules apply to fish oil.

If fresh fish oil is stored airtight in the freezer, it can easily hold for up to a year. But once an oil has been exposed to oxygen, it will quickly oxidize, giving off the familiar smell and taste of fish in the process. It is worth mentioning that gelatin capsules do not provide a complete oxygen barrier, so an oil will typically continue to oxidize after it has been encapsulated.

Clinical studies show that most fish oils have oxidized long before their stated expiration date (10, 13). Therefore, the best way to assess the quality of your fish oil supplement is to use your sense of smell and taste – the same way you’d assess any other perishable food.

Are you absorbing enough nutrients from your diet or supplementation? get tested

Myth #7: If Your Fish Oil Meets Industry Standards, It’s Fine

It is true that the omega-3 industry has set limits for how oxidized an oil can be. But consumers should know that these numbers are set by the manufacturers themselves.

The peroxide value (PV) of truly fresh oil is typically below 2.0 mEq/kg (14). As the peroxide value increases, so does the intensity of the fishy taste and smell.

Despite this fact, the omega-3 industry sets its cut-off limit at 5.0 mEq/kg – considerably higher than what most consumers would be able to tolerate! Furthermore, just because an omega-3 oil has a peroxide value of below 5 mEq/kg at the time of production, that does not ensure the oil’s peroxide value is still below that level by the time it reaches the consumer, often months or years later.

BLOG: 6 Reasons to Assess Your Nutritional Status with an Omega-3 Index Test

It’s absolutely possible to manufacture fresh fish oil with PV values close to that of fresh fish. But for that to be true, the manufacturer needs to uphold strict standards from the time the fish is caught to when the bottles arrive at the consumer’s home.

In the world of fish oil, peroxide values indicate an oil’s freshness level. Generally speaking, the lower the peroxide value, the fresher the oil is.

Myth #8: Concentrated Fish Oils Are Better

Concentrated omega-3 oils are popular because they deliver higher amounts of EPA/DHA per serving. But concentrated fish oils can be problematic too.

To create concentrated omega-3 oils, the manufacturer has to change the oil’s natural fatty acid balance, stripping the oil of its full spectrum omega-3 content. Studies show this can negatively impact the bioavailability of the oil (15). Additionally, certain types of concentrated omega-3s called ethyl esters are not considered safe for pregnant women or infants due to their synthetic chemical structure (16).

Natural liquid fish oils allow people to get the same EPA/DHA dose found in concentrated fish oils – in just a few teaspoons. And with truly fresh liquid fish oil, consumers typically have an easy time drinking the oil straight.

Myth #9: If Your Fish Oil Turns Cloudy in the Freezer, It’s a Sign of Poor Quality

This myth was created by a group of marketers interested in selling a highly concentrated omega-3 product. Any natural oil that contains a spectrum of different types of fats will turn cloudy when it is cooled. If you were to stick a bottle extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in the refrigerator or freezer, it would do the same.

A natural, full-spectrum fish oil typically contains at most 30% EPA/DHA. The rest of the oil is made up a cocktail of other beneficial fats: Other types of omega-3s, omega-7s, omega-9s, the kinds of monounsaturated fats you get in extra virgin olive oil, and saturated fats like you find in avocados. With their different chemical structures, these fats look and behave differently when cooled. That is why the composition will not appear uniform when you freeze or refrigerate the oil.

VIDEO: MYTH-One Pill A Day Gives You All the Omega-3s You Need

Myth #10: EPA- and DHA-Only Supplements Are Healthier

In the scientific community, there’s a natural desire to understand the unique roles of EPA and DHA in the body. For instance, studies show that EPA seems to be especially effective for lowering inflammation, whereas DHA seems to be more important for brain function.

Isolating different omega-3 fatty acids is certainly helpful from a research perspective. But offering either EPA-only or DHA-only supplements to consumers ignores the fact that these nutrients never appear alone in nature. As further research shows us, these nutrients have unique effects and work synergistically (17, 18).

We do not yet fully know the long-term consequences of supplementing with chemically modified EPA- or DHA-alone supplements. But we do know that people have been drinking full-spectrum fish oils and cod liver oils for medicinal reasons dating back to the ancient Greeks.

EPA and DHA work like a team in the cell. That’s why we need both of them (and the other members of the omega-3 family) for optimal health.

Myth #11: Fish Oil Benefits Are Too Good to Be True

If a nutrient gets credited with helping improve chronic pain and dry eyes, depression, cognitive function and more, it’s got to be too good to be true, right?

The reason omega-3s are researched for a broad range of health issues is because these nutrients are critical for the proper functioning of every cell in our body. They enhance the fluidity and permeability of the cell membrane; they influence cell signaling and gene expression; they help control the body’s inflammation response; and more research is coming out showing how these fatty acids support the microbiome and endocannabinoid system.

VIDEO: MYTH-Recent Omega-3 Research Shows Omega-3s Don’t Work

It’s estimated that omega-3s are involved in more than 10% of all cellular metabolic actions. No wonder high quality fish oil can produce such varied, widespread effects in the body.



Dr. Martinsen is an omega-3 specialist, innovator, and advocate for natural foods. As co-founder and CEO of Omega3 Innovations, he has created multiple patented technologies for medical devices designed to improve consumer compliance. He is also the creator of several medical food products that combine dose-effective ingredients of omega-3 fish oil with soluble fibers and other nutrients. Before Omega3 Innovations, Dr. Martinsen practiced medicine in Norway for 20 years. During his career, he also served as a medical consultant to large international corporations, focusing on stress management and synergistic medicine.

This post originally appeared July 28, 2019, on it has been adapted from its original version

Fish Oil Supplements & Weight Loss: What the Science Says

What Is Fish Oil?

Fish oil comes from several different types of naturally fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel. Their oils are full of healthy fats, which are a popular source of omega-3-fatty acids. Fish oil supplements are a great alternative for people who want the health benefits of fish without eating it.

Cod liver oil is documented to have been used in medicine since the 20th century.1 Physicians at the time applied cod oil to help wounds heal, or instructed patients to drink the oil to help with tuberculosis and joint and muscle pain.

Modern-day clinical trials have since proven various health benefits of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish oil.2 You can get your omega-3s through diet or you can opt for one of many available supplement formulas on the market.

What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3-fatty acids are a class of fats that have been associated with numerous health benefits. Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA - a healthy fat). It’s essential to get omega-3s through diet or supplements, because your body can’t synthesize them.3

Omega-3 fatty acids occur naturally in different forms: alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is converted into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are proven to positively impact your health more than ALA. Fortunately, your body is the most efficient at absorbing EPA and DHA forms of omega-3.

A study review observed that healthy young women were able to successfully convert 21% of ALA into EPA, and 9% of DHA. Young men in the study had lower conversion rates: 8% for EPA and 0-4% for DHA.3

These findings suggest that men may need to be more selective regarding their omega-3 food sources, and choose options that will be most easily absorbed.

Learn more about which foods to avoid if you want to lose weight

Does Fish Oil Have Weight Loss Benefits?

The scientific community does not currently have strong evidence that fish oil will directly help with weight loss.5 Some animal studies have shown promising results, but these studies are difficult to translate to humans due to the amounts of EPA and DHA administered.6

However, there have been human studies investigating whether fish oil can indirectly support weight loss by affecting appetite and metabolism:

Fish Oil and Satiety

Dietary fats, including omega-3 PUFA, are energy-dense and satisfying. Researchers theorize that meals with healthy fats will leave you satisfied and so you’re less likely to eat extra calories later on.

A small-scale randomized control trial from 2008 measured the satiety of participants after eating a meal that included omega-3 fatty acids.7 Individual responses within the group indicated that participants still felt satisfied two hours after eating.

In a different study conducted in 2013, researchers discovered that supplementing fish oil with meals resulted in an increase in appetite, which was surprising considering the results from previous trials.8

Researchers concluded that more in-depth research is required to understand if omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can improve weight loss results by increasing satiety.

Learn more about hunger signals and recognizing true hunger

Fish Oil and Metabolism

Metabolism is the furnace of your body, converting fuel (calories) into energy.

Weight gain is commonly associated with a “slow” metabolism. Many weight loss programs and food supplements within the diet industry claim to help speed metabolism, but do not have the data to back these claims. Unfortunately, fish oil falls into this category.

A study from 2010 compared the resting metabolic rate of 47 participants who either ingested sunflower oil or fish oil. After six weeks, the fish oil group did not show any change in metabolic rate.9

Another study from 2014 confirmed similar findings. One group of recreationally active men received a supplement with 3g of fish oil, while others received olive oil. A few members of the fish oil group showed an increase in resting metabolic rate, but the results were so small that researchers did not find them to be statistically significant.10

Learn about metabolic flexibility and why you want it

While there’s no data to support claims of boosting metabolism, fish oil has other scientifically proven benefits.

Proven Health Benefits Of Fish Oil

While studies on fish oil for weight loss have shown no effect, fish oil has been linked to several other important health benefits:

Fish Oil Can Improve Cholesterol Levels

It is generally accepted that omega-3 fatty acids can improve cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fats have been shown to lower triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that is linked to heart disease.11

While the data on omega-3 consumption and heart health consistently concludes that omega-3 PUFA may play a helpful role, fish oil alone is not enough for long-lasting cardiovascular health. You also need to follow a high-fiber diet rich in produce, keep your alcohol intake low, and stay physically active.

Learn about PUFA in the Mediterranean Diet

Fish Oil Supports Brain Health

Omega-3 fatty acids may protect the brain from deterioration. As the North American population ages, this area of study is becoming increasingly prioritized.

A 2018 review of 25 randomized controlled trials indicates there is some positive correlation between adequate omega-3 intake and brain health.12 Other factors that support brain health include following a regular sleep cycle, staying active, and being social!

Fish Oil Promotes Wound Healing

Omega-3 fatty acids promote faster-wound healing and decrease risk of infection.13 This is especially relevant for anyone undergoing surgery, and people with chronic wounds.

Fish Oil Can Reduce Inflammation

Inflammatory markers flood the body during times of sickness or injury. Some signs of inflammation can be silent, but more commonly they add to your discomfort when you feel unwell. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the inflammatory response.14

People who suffer from chronic inflammation in the joints, such as arthritis, prioritize the inclusion of omega-3 rich foods in their diet.15 A specialist may recommend an omega-3 supplement if warranted, but they will encourage you to focus on food sources

The ability to stay mobile and pain-free significantly improves quality of life, and may increase the chances of meeting weight loss goals.

Food Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

ALA variations of omega-3 are most abundant in plant sources, while EPA and DHA are found more in animal sources.4 EPA and DHA omega-3s are more readily absorbed by the body, compared to ALA. Your body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA, but not as efficiently, which can make it more challenging (but not impossible) to meet your omega-3 intake goals.

Plant sources of ALA omega-3 include:


Chia seeds


Flax seeds

Hemp seeds

Wheat germ

Animal sources of EPA and DHA omega-3 include:





Black Cod


Omega-3s are found in a variety of food sources, including seaweed (a rare plant source of both EPA and DHA), kidney beans, edamame and many others. There are also many foods and beverages fortified with omega-3s. This is great news for vegetarians, or for people who simply don’t like fish!

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, fish has important nutrients like vitamin D & B2, iron, zinc and potassium.

Is it Better to Get Omega-3s from Fish or a Supplement?

There is no evidence to say that food sources of omega-3 are better for your health compared to fish oil supplements. A golden rule to health behavior modification is to adopt a change in your lifestyle or diet that can be consistently repeated.

Signs you may be better off with an omega-3 supplement include:

You don’t eat fish

The cost of fish is outside your budget

You like fish, but meal planning is not your strength, so you forget to eat fish regularly

Your family doesn’t like the smell of fish, and you don’t want to prepare it for one

There are many fish oil products and omega-3 supplements on the market, including vegan-friendly options. Try to buy a product that has an EPA/DHA blend because these forms of omega-3 will have the greatest impact on your overall health.

How Much Fish Oil Is Enough?

The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fatty fish per week to meet your omega-3 needs.3 To optimize the meal, prepare your fish using lean cooking methods such as broiling, barbecuing, or sautéeing. If you need inspiration on how to get started, check out this delicious Signos recipe for salmon and broccoli with pumpkin seed pesto.

Other popular fish such as tilapia, tuna, and haddock offer trace amounts of omega-3s. Although they are a lean and healthful protein option, you should not rely on them to meet your omega-3 requirements.

Learn about protein and weight loss

Supplement Dosage

Most fish oil supplements are sold in capsules containing 1000mg. As of 2022, the FDA suggests keeping your intake between 2000-3000mg.16

Some omega-3 supplements are sold in liquid form. You will need to follow the directions to ensure you are using it safely and correctly. A liquid supplement can be helpful for people who can not swallow the gel capsules, which tend to be on the larger side as far as supplements go.

Can I Eat Fish and Take a Fish Oil Supplement?

As mentioned above, the FDA recommends keeping your total omega-3 intake between 2000-3000mg per day. If you go over this limit you may decrease your immune function or experience gastrointestinal bleeding.

Although omega-3 is healthful, more of it is not necessarily a good thing. Follow the guidelines and you will be safe.

The Dreaded Fish Burps

Fish burps can be a barrier to staying consistent with your omega-3 supplement routine. About twenty to thirty minutes after you ingest the capsule, you may notice a fishy flavor on your breath. This happens because the capsule is starting to break down in your stomach, releasing the oil.

Freezing your fish oil pills can help. Keeping your supplements in the freezer will not affect the quality of the product, and it ensures the capsule will start to dissolve further down your digestive tract.


There is no scientific literature that confirms fish oil or fish oil supplements will help with weight loss. If you want to lose weight, you should focus your efforts on healthy and sustainable diet changes and regular exercise.

Learn about the benefits of sustainable weight loss

Fish oil can help you stay healthy and maintain quality of life. Omega-3s can lower cholesterol levels and protect your brain as you age.

It is up to you to decide if you want to get your omega-3s through food sources or a supplement. Both options are acceptable, but you need to pick a method that will allow you to be consistent with your intake.

Eric Carter