Omega 3 Fish Oil – They are not all the same.
When I teach a nutrition workshop part of what is included is a discussion on how to read a food label. One of my go to examples is a bottle of fish oil. There is so much misinformation and confusion on these bottles it is easy to be misled about what is inside.
The first thing I would like you to think about is why are you buying the fish oil in the first place?
You can read my article on Omega -3’s to better understand all of the the health benefits. (Click here to read the post on O-3′s health benefits) The short version is that it is an essential fatty acid that is vitally important for our health.
There are many products on the shelves in different amounts, forms and prices.
The one thing that aggravates me the most is the amount of mg’s they put on the front of the label. Let’s understand that what we need from the fish oil is DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid).
Just because the label says 1000 mg fish oil on the front of the bottle’s label is no indicator of how much DHA and EPA is in the product.
Below is taken directly from the MegaRed website. It claims 300 mg or 500 mg. Just one soft gel a day.
MegaRed® Omega-3 Krill Oil contains omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Research has shown that DHA and EPA may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.†
For starters, I could not find anywhere on the site where it says how much DHA and EPA the product contains.
I found the info on another site. Why you wonder? Wonder no more. There is 45mg EPA and 27 mg DHA in each pill.
That would mean to get the minimum recommended dose by the American Heart Association you would need to take approximately 37 pills daily!!! Yes, Really!
The cheapest I found Mega Red for online is from Walmart for 60 pills at a cost of $22.46. So, based on how much we need, that supply would last 2 days.
(wait a minute, I am still recovering)
Very often you will find 60 – 120 mg DHA and 120 – 180 EPA if you are lucky. That hardly adds up to the 1000 DHA recommended by the AHA. 1
What you are getting is some of the Omega 3’s and a lot of inactive fish oil.
Let’s take a look at Carlson’s. Carlsons had 500 DHA and 800 EPA and 300 in “other” fish oil. This is in liquid form.
Selling at $48.50, needing 2 teaspoons for the right amount of DHA, there would be 20 servings in a bottle. You would spend $72.75 a month to achieve the minimal recommended amount.
The other thing you have to look out for is does this product contain soy, sugar, and is it mercury free. I have seen labels that say, “This product has been tested for mercury”. Really? What it didn’t say is that it met the standards for a safe product.
One thing you can be sure of is if a product does something right, the manufacturer will be darn sure to let you know it. Boldly.
How much DHA and EPA do we need? There is much discrepancy out there. Different sites give you different info. WHO (World Health Organization) 3000 to 5000 DHA and EPA; American Heart Association 2000 – 4000 DHA and EPA; University of Maryland Medical Center 3000 – 4000 DHA and EPA. If your Omega 3 fish oil has 120 DHA (which is pretty good for off the shelf) you would need to take 9 capsules. Wow. I am sure the prescribed amount on the bottle is probably closer to 2 capsules. Ridiculous.
I have somehow become a watchdog and advocate for my clients, family, friends, and you who read my blog. I approach every thing I write with zeal and integrity. If you look at my articles I usually have warnings all over the place. So, when I do find something that is truly great, I feel the same passion and urgency to share it with you.
In my own quest to find a great fish oil, I did. Oh boy, did I.
I found a product called SFH – Stronger Faster Healthier. Pure, unadulterated, mercury free, soy free high quality fish oil.
Their product has 1675 mg DHA and 1825 mg EPA in just 1.3 tsps. 1.3! (That is 3500 mg Omega – 3 in 1.3 tsps.) And if you do the math, it is cheaper to buy this product over others because you use so much less.
Remember, if you are only taking 2 of your fish oil and the DHA is insufficient you really need to up the dose remembering to check for soy and other ingredients.
Just a small note of caution: Fish oil can act as a blood thinner. Check with your Dr. if you are on any aspirin regimen or prescriptive blood thinner before taking this product. I have not however, heard of anyone having difficulty with it and in fact, it is really good for your heart.
You can order this from my website from the PS Store. http://paleosimplified.com/recommend/ I cannot recommend this enough. It will change your health for the better.
Oh, and one last note, please don’t buy any fish oils that are 3-6-9. Read my article on Omega’s to find out why. http://paleosimplified.com/omega-what/