Top Tips for Choosing a High Quality Omega-3 Oil

There’s no doubt about it – omega-3 essential fatty acids play critical roles in your health and well-being. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are key nutrients for supporting concentration and learning potential in children, as well as for adults looking to maintain cognitive function and emotional well-being later in life.[1][2] They also support cardiovascular health by lowering blood triglycerides and increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). In addition, they benefit the immune system, skin, and joint health.[3][4][5]

If you’re like most Canadians and do not consume enough omega-3s through your diet to fulfill your body’s needs, supplementation is vital.[6] But remember, not all omega-3 oils are created equally. Follow these top tips to choose a high-quality omega-3 formula with high bioavailability, purity, sustainability, and potency.

Bioavailability

Omega-3s come in many forms and from different sources. Most plant-based sources are in the form of a shorter chain omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In order to provide full benefit, the body must convert ALA into the long-chain essential fatty acids EPA and DHA. This process is not very efficient and results in a lower amount of EPA and DHA per serving.[7]

The oil from cold water fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and anchovies, contains a direct and more concentrated source of EPA and DHA that does not need to be converted. As a result, these fatty acids are readily available for the body to use. When selecting an EPA/DHA formula, look for one that contains the triglyceride forms of essential fatty acids. These have shown greater effectiveness when compared to ethyl ester forms because they are more stable and easier for the body to absorb and use.[8]


Top tip:
Look for an omega-3 oil that contains EPA and DHA in triglyceride form.

 

Purity

Ocean-borne pollution, such as heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs, and other toxins, is a big concern when choosing a fish oil because it can lead to high levels of contaminants in fish. By sourcing fish oil from short-lived species that are low on the food chain, including anchovies, sardines, and mackerel, manufacturers can help lower the risk of contaminants in their oil.[9]

For extra assurance that fish oils are pure and safe to use, they should be tested by a credible third party. Certification by ISURA™ and International Fish Oil Standards™ (IFOS®) guarantees that omega-3 fish oils are of the highest quality, rigorously tested for purity, and meet international standards for freedom from heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins, and other contaminants.

Top tip: Look for the ISURA and IFOS seals of approval on product labels and check that the omega-3 oil is sourced from short-lived fish, such as anchovies, sardines, and/or mackerel.

Sustainability

Quality means much more than the type of ingredients found in a product. It also includes whether those ingredients are harvested sustainably with a low environmental impact. Without proper care, fish harvesting can have a negative effect on the livelihood of other creatures and mammals that depend on healthy fish stocks to survive. With the added pressure that rising ocean temperatures and marine pollutants are putting on fish, sustainability has become a critical factor when choosing food and supplements.

By choosing a sustainably harvested fish oil, you’re helping to ensure that an ample supply of quality ingredients will also be available for future generations.

Top tip: Look for an omega-3 oil that contains sustainably sourced ingredients.

Potency

Whether you want to supplement with a moderate-strength or high-strength omega-3 formula, the dosage needs to be reliable. By choosing a fish oil with standardized EPA and DHA concentrations, you can count on getting the right amount of essential fatty acids that you need to support your health.

Top tip: Look for an omega-3 oil with standardized levels of EPA and DHA.

 

Delicious goodness from the sea

When it comes to quality, SeaRich™ Omega-3 products from Natural Factors go above and beyond. They are sustainably sourced from sardines, anchovies, and/or mackerel, rigorously tested for purity, and certified by ISURA™ and IFOS®.

SeaRich Omega-3 comes in these standardized potencies for reliable cognitive and cardiovascular support:[10],[11]

  • Omega-3: 750 mg EPA, 500 mg DHA
  • Omega-3 with Vitamin D3: 750 mg EPA, 500 mg DHA, 1000 IU D3
  • Omega-3 with Vitamin D3: 1500 mg EPA, 750 mg DHA, 1000 IU D3

The oils are delicious and have no fishy taste or odour. Blended with natural, non-GMO flavours and monk fruit as a near-zero calorie sweetener, SeaRich Omega-3 tastes great taken directly from the spoon or added to smoothies. The lemon meringue, grapefruit punch, and coconut-lime flavours make the oil appealing and easy for the whole family to take.

Just like choosing fresh fish to eat, there are many different omega-3 fish oils on the market – with varying levels of quality. Choose the best quality omega-3 formula by looking for one with high bioavailability, purity, sustainability, and potency. Because omega-3s play such an important role in your health, make sure to supplement with the best quality fish oil that nature has to offer.

 

References:
 

 

[1] Kurato CN, Barrett EC, Nelson EB, et al. The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: A review. Nutrients. 2013;5(7):2777-819.

[2] Yurko-Mauro K, McCarthy D, Rom D, et al. Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimers Dement. 2010;6(6):456-64.

[3] Mozaffarian D, Wu JH. Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. Effects on risk factors, molecular pathways, and clinical events. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;58(20):2047-67.

[4] Lopez-Huertas E. The effect of EPA and DHA on metabolic syndrome patients. A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2012;107(Suppl 2):S185-94.

[5] Miles EA, Calder PC. Influence of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on immune function and a systematic review of their effects on clinical outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis. Br J Nutr. 2012;107(Suppl 2):S171-84.

[6] Langlois K, Ratnayake WN. Omega-3 index of Canadian adults. Health Reports. 2015;26(11):3-11.

[7] Mozaffarian D, Wu JH. Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. Effects on risk factors, molecular pathways, and clinical events. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;58(20):2047-67.

[8] Schuchardt JP, Neubronner J, Kressel G, et al. Moderate doses of EPA and DHA from re-esterified triacylglycerols but not from ethyl-esters lower fasting serum triacylglycerols in statin-treated dyslipidemic subjects: Results from a six month randomized controlled trial. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2011;85(6):381-6.

[9] Gribble, MO, Karimi, R, Feingold, BJ, et al. Mercury, selenium and fish oils in marine food webs and implications for human health. J Mar Biol Assoc U.K. 2016;96(1):43-59.

[10] Fouthi M, Mohassel P, Yaffe K. Fish consumption, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer disease: a complex association. Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2009;5(3):140-52.

[11] Jacobson TA, Glickstein SB, Rowe JD, et al. Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and other lipids: a review. J Clin Lipidol. 2012;6(1):5-18.