According to a recent annual survey, Omega-3 supplements are a top 10 supplement currently being consumed by North Americans. And it's easy to see why – Omega-3s are one of the best supplements anyone can take. They are incredibly safe and have countless benefits. Over the past 30 years, thousands of studies and clinical trials have provided evidence supporting the effectiveness of omega-3 EFAs in the prevention and treatment of our most common diseases. These diseases include cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, attention-deficit disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, dry eye syndrome, and many other health conditions. They have also been proven to have a significant impact on energy, physical capacity, and performance. The best part is they do not have the potentially dangerous side effects linked to pharmacological drugs.
However, do not be fooled because not all fish oils are created equal, and quality is key to receiving these critical health benefits. So how do you know you are getting a high-quality product that is safe and effective? What should you look for when choosing a fish oil supplement?
The primary elements that separate high-quality supplements from the rest of the pack are purity, freshness, and concentration.
Purity is vital because all fish store environmental toxins such as mercury and PCBs in their bodies, and some fish oil manufacturers do a much better job at removing these contaminants than others. You can protect yourself from harmful toxins by choosing a distilled product concentrated via cold molecular distillation. This manufacturing process is ideal for purity and for maintaining low oxidative levels in the oil itself. You can also look for single-source Omega-3s using smaller fish species as these are generally harvested at a much younger age and therefore have lower levels of environmental contaminants than larger fish species.
Freshness ensures product integrity and efficacy, which may be one of the most critical qualities of fish oils. Oxidized oil (or rancid oil) is the cause of the fishy smell and taste that has given fish oil a bad reputation among many people. But oxidation also results in compounds (called peroxides) that are harmful to the body and can be linked to diseases.
High-end fish oil manufacturers have developed oxygen-free processing techniques to keep oxidation at an absolute minimum, ensuring superior freshness levels. By choosing fish oil products that are third-party tested for freshness, measured by TOTOX values, you can protect yourself from oxidized oils. Remember: the lower the number, the fresher (less oxidized) the fish oil.
Concentration is also a key element. To get the benefits you want from your Omega-3s, you need to take what we describe as a therapeutic dose. Most Omega-3 supplements are severely underdosed and don't even deliver the minimum amount of EPA and DHA required to support the general maintenance of good health. Further to this, more than 90% of all Omega-3s in the market are in the form of Ethyl Esters, which are highly unstable Omega-3s that oxidize quickly and have extremely low bioavailability. You can learn more about that here. This is extremely important when choosing your Omega-3. Focus exclusively on Omega-3s in a premium triglyceride form to ensure stability, and bioavailability and you should be consuming a minimum of 2,500mg of combined EPA and DHA per serving. Also, avoid any unnecessary fillers like safflower and sunflower oil.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) have established purity and freshness standards for all Omega-3 products.
This is why we, at AquaOmega, test every single lot of our premium Omega-3s with IFOS to ensure that you are always getting the best, freshest and safest Omega-3s. We align ourselves with the gold standard in testing because we are the "New Standard" in Omega-3s.