The benefits of taking a fish oil supplement are well known, with omega-3 fatty acids being one of the most researched nutrients in the world.
However, with so many fish oil products out there, it can be hard to determine which supplements are actually beneficial. We’ve put together a guide so you know what to look for when choosing a fish oil supplement.
What makes omega-3s essential?
The term ‘essential’ is used to describe nutrients that our body needs but is unable to produce by itself. This means that we need to consume omega-3 fatty acids regularly.
There are 3 main types of omegas:
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid): DHA is essential for healthy brain development and function as well as supporting brain, eye, joint and heart health. It is found in oily fish such as salmon, anchovies and sardines.
- EPA (Eicosapentaenoicacid): EPA’s main function is to produce chemicals called eicosanoids, which help to support healthy joint mobility. It has also been shown to support good cardiovascular and brain health, immunity, and a balanced happy mood. Like DHA, it is found in oily fish.
- ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid): ALA is a plant-based source of omega-3 found in nuts, seeds and a variety of green vegetables such as brussels sprouts, kale and spinach. When consumed, our bodies partially convert ALA to DHA and EPA so that it can be used.
While ALA is the most common omega-3 fatty acid found in our diet, DHA and EPA are the most bioavailable forms.
What about omega-6s?
Like omega-3s, omega-6s are an essential fatty acid. Both of these fats work together to balance each other out. In an ideal world, we would consume both of these essential fatty acids at a balanced ratio of around 1:1.
Unfortunately, the modern-day diet contains a surplus of omega-6s and not nearly enough omega-3s. Omega-6s are found in foods like soybeans, corn, sunflower oils, meat and eggs.
Our over-consumption of processed foods and vegetable oils contribute to this imbalance of omegas, which can lead to a range of health issues including hormonal imbalance, joint & mood issues. Increasing our omega-3 intake is vital to maintaining a healthy balance of fatty acids.
Why are omega-3s so important?
Omega-3s support almost all of our bodily functions. They are vital for everything from ourbrain nutrition, hormone health, joint health and mood, to the condition of our hair, skin and nails. Let’s take a closer look at how omega-3s support our health and wellbeing:
- Brain health
Omega-3s are particularly nourishing for our brain. EPA and DHA are vital support for cognitive function and brain development at all ages - from babies all the way through to the elderly.
- Hormone health
Omega-3s are the fundamental building blocks for hormones that support immune function, cell growth and normal metabolism. They are essential for the production of our sex hormones - oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
EPA and DHA are incredibly beneficial for both mother and baby throughout pregnancy. DHA is particularly important for the normal development of the baby's brain, eyes, immune system and nervous system.
EPA supports healthy release of serotonin (our ‘happy hormone’) while DHA supports the receptivity of serotonin receptors. The combination of these two actions helps support overall mood balance.
What foods are rich in omega-3?
Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies and mackerel are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Adding more of these foods to your diet is a great way to increase your omega-3s, but often we still require additional supplementation in the form of fish oil to meet our daily requirements.
In fact, you would have to eat approximately 75g of fresh wild salmon every day to get the same daily serving of DHA and EPA available in BePure Three.
How do I find a quality fish oil supplement?
Like so many supplements on the market, not all fish oils are created equal. Taking low-quality fish oil can actually do more harm than good. Here a few key things to look out for when choosing a fish oil supplement:
- Ratio of DHA and EPA
DHA and EPA are the two key essential fatty acids that we want more of. A good fish oil supplement will tell you the quality and quantity of these omegas - the higher, the better.
BePure Three is our high-strength fish oil containing 600mg of DHA and 800mg of EPA.
- Tested for purity: heavy metals and oxidisation
Different species of fish can contain undesirable levels of heavy metals and other toxins which can negatively impact your health. The location of the fishing as well as the species and strict testing methods are important to ensure low heavy metals in your fish oil supplement.
You should always be able to find out the type of fish and where the fish were caught.
Fish oils are very sensitive to heat which can cause oxidation, which can be damaging to your cells. Always check the label to see if the brand mentions strict low temperature, oxygen-free processing. If they don’t include details of molecular distillation on the bottle, they most likely do not follow this process.
BePure Three follows this strict process as well as being formulated with vitamin E to help prevent oxidation from when it is bottled to the time it reaches the consumer. Keep an eye out for this supportive addition in your fish oil product.
We regularly check for heavy metals and oxidation indicators (rancidity) in BePure Three. Our fish oil is a very pure product with all of our levels falling well below the international standards.
- Sustainably Sourced
Sustainably sourced fish oil is better for the environment and you too!
Thanks to HealthPost’s Marine Sustainability Policy you can shop comfortably knowing everything here’s a better choice. The Policy ensures they:
- Only sell marine omega products certified by credible international marine sustainability groups
- Only work with brands helping to ensure marine sustainability
- As a result, all fish and krill products they sell meet specific sustainability standards
Sustainably sourcing our fish from the South Pacific is an important feature of BePure Three. It not only aligns with our values but it also ensures a low level of toxic metals.
Start your omega-3 supplementation today
To sum that all up, omega-3s are vital to so many aspects of our health and wellbeing and are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Try eating quality oily fish 2-3 times a week. We also recommend finding a high-quality, high-strength fish oil to keep your omega-3s balanced and to support your bodily functions.
Always check the quality of a fish oil supplement before taking it. Low-quality supplements can do more harm than good and potentially cause damage to your health.
I hope this blog has given you some clarity on the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and what to look for when choosing a fish oil supplement.
Always read the label and take as directed. Vitamins are supplementary to a balanced diet. BePure Health Ltd, Auckland.