Shopping for omega3 tablets might seem like a simple thing to do. Just pick a bottle up off the shelf and throw it in the cart or click on a “buy it now” link and add it to your virtual shopping cart. Pay the bill. Start taking the supplement and you’re on your way to better health. Right?
Not necessarily, the quality of the supplements on the market varies greatly in terms of purity, freshness, anti-inflammatory activity and omega-3 content. Some people think that the amount of fish oil in a capsule is equivalent to the amount of omega-3 fatty acids that the capsule provides. That’s not the case.
Fish oils, like any other, contain a variety of different fats. Most oils, particularly vegetable oil, butter and oils from fatty meat contain a combination of saturated, trans-fatty acids and unsaturated fat. Fish oils contain mostly omega-3 fat, but they do contain some omega-6 and omega-9, all of which are unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
Some vegetable oils contain a small amount of an omega-3 called ALA. Omega3 tablets derived from flaxseed contain only ALA. The polyunsaturated fats that are essential to the human body include DHA, EPA and DPA.
In cases of severe fatty acid deprivation or deficiency, mammals will convert omega-9s to omega-6s and eventually to omega-3s. Likewise, if the only omega-3 in the diet is ALA, as it would be with strict vegetarians or vegans, the body would convert some of the ALA to EPA and DHA.
But, only very small amounts are converted and research has shown that ALA supplementation does not increase circulating blood levels of DHA. In other words, the body can do some of the work, but you really need to help it out.
Taking omega3 tablets that are rich in DHA is one way to do that.
Years ago, researchers found that suicide victims had extremely low levels of DHA in the blood and brain.
Since then, numerous studies have linked low blood levels of DHA with depression. Studies have also shown that DHA supplementation improves symptoms associated with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.
Books have been written about the benefits of DHA and other polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are good for the heart and circulatory system, the joints and skin. The latest studies indicate that they may help reduce our risk of cancer.
Those are some of the reasons that omega3 tablets have continued to increase in popularity. They continue to be the best-selling supplements on the market. But, whenever something is that popular, there will always be companies that are less than ethical.
All manufacturers should test each batch of oils for contaminants like mercury and cancer-causing chemicals, but not many do. Consumers must do their own research. Companies are not required to provide results of laboratory evaluations.
When a brand costs far less than others on the market, you can bet that no testing was conducted.
You don’t have to pay a fortune for omega3 tablets, but you do need to shop around and buy only products that are guaranteed to be free of contaminants.
I have found a pure pharmaceutical grade fish oil product that is naturally high in DHA and EPA and also high in anti-inflammatory properties that comes from the world’s most pristine oceans. See my website for more details of omega 3 fish oil products – the key to optimal health.