Omega-3 fatty acids They contain eicosapentaenic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), which is found in fish, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in plants. Unlike the saturated fats in foods that can increase unhealthy cholesterol (LDL), the polyunsaturated fats found in fish oil help reduce cholesterol and inflammation.
EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids because the body does not produce them, so it is necessary to acquire omega-3 fatty acids from the diet and supplements. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed, walnuts, walnut oil, and winter squash, such as pumpkin, walnut, and acorn. The best source of omega-3 oil is cold saltwater fish such as sardines, anchovies, tuna, and salmon. Warmwater and freshwater fish may be good for you, but they are not considered acceptable sources of omega-3s.
Research has found that omega-3 fatty acids are proactive for health in many ways:
- They help reduce triglyceride levels by up to 30% and LDL (bad) cholesterol – the fatty substance that can build up and clot the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- They can reduce blood pressure and inflammation in the body, the precursor to many autoimmune diseases.
How do you know what brand or type of fish oil to buy? If we had two different bottles of fish oil side by side, and each bottle contained 1000mg capsules, each capsule could be very different. There can be big differences in their sources, quality, potency and quantity. To choose the correct omega-3, we must look at what type of oil extraction process is used, as well as the removal of PCBs, toxins, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals.
How do you determine the correct amount to take? An average adult should take at least 1,000 EPA per day. EPA is the necessary component of fish oil. It is essential that EPA is taken with DHA. DHA is also an important source of nutrients for babies. Two 1000mg capsules from two different manufacturers can have very different amounts of EPA. Some contain less than 80mg, while others may contain more than 750mg.
How do you know which one to buy? It is best to buy only the finest and purest quality omega-3 oil. It is best to buy omega 3 from a reliable source, although it can be more expensive than what you can find in a supermarket or pharmacy. I prefer the Nordic Naturals brand. Each dose of fish oil capsules our patients use contains no less than 650 mg of EPA, 450 mg of DHA, and 180 mg of other omega-3s, and are purified of contaminants such as mercury, lead, and PCBs. Ours also has no “fishy” odor or aftertaste, and has been third-party tested.