Fish oil is a popular supplement - have you ever wondered why? Find out the benefits of taking fish oil, and the key things to be mindful of when choosing a sustainably sourced fish oil supplement to suit your health goals.
What is fish oil?
Fish oil is derived from the fatty content of fish. Deep sea, oily fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, and anchovies contain more fat than other fish, making them the best fish to get your fish oil from. An easy way to up your fish oil intake is by adding 2-3 servings of these fish in your diet weekly. Fish oil is naturally rich in ‘Omega 3 fatty acids’ – an essential fat that our bodies need to function at their best. If fish is not on your menu, then you can take a fish oil or omega 3 supplement to support your body.
What are omega 3 fatty acids?
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, algae, and some plants like hempseed and flaxseed. There are 11 different omega 3 fatty acids, but 3 of them are most important – EPA, DHA, and ALA. Oily fish is an excellent source of these bioavailable omega 3 fatty acids. Read Everything you need to know about fish oil for a full breakdown of the different types of omega 3s inside omega 3 fish oil.
Benefits of omega 3 supplements
Omega 3 fatty acids are ‘essential’ – this means that we need to either consume them through our diet, or take fish oil capsules or omega 3 supplements to support our body. The body uses omega 3 fatty acids to:
- Support normal brain development and cognitive function throughout the lifespan.
- Support the myelin sheath (fatty cover) on our nerves – key for nerve cell function.
- Make hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
- Lubricate joints.
- Support the integrity of the lipid layer on the skin.
These are just some of the many ways the body uses omega 3 fatty acids like EPA, DHA, and ALA.
Who should take omega 3 fish oil?
Not many of us eat fish up to 3 times per week, so ensuring we’re getting the right amount of omega 3 fatty acids can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. Signs we may need to up your omega 3 fatty acid intake include:
- Dry skin, hair, and eyes.
- Uncomfortable or stiff joints.
- Low mood or issues with concentration.
- During pregnancy to support babies growing brain and nervous system.
- During perimenopause and after menopause to support vaginal skin elasticity.
- In later life to support joints, skin, and brain health.
Omega 3 fatty acids are kind of like the oil in a car engine that keeps it running smoothly - our bodies constantly replenish it so we need a regular intake to keep us functioning at our best.
How to take fish oil
Fish oil supplements come in many forms to suit every age and preference. The most popular is a capsule, and for kids there are gummies and chewables. Some products come as a liquid that can be mixed through smoothies and food, and some products offer a powdered version of one or more of the omega 3 fatty acids (like DHA).
It is best to take your fish oil supplement along with a meal containing some fat to support absorption. A good quality fish oil will not have a strong scent, and many capsules will include a flavour to counteract any fish breath.
Are fish oil capsules good for you?
You may be wondering, what are fish oil tablets good for? Let’s address some of the key things to consider before taking a fish oil supplement.
- Fish oil purity
There are a lot of things floating around in the sea, and large fish can accumulate heavy metals (like mercury) in their systems as they age. These can then be extracted along with the fish oil – and end up in your fish oil tablets. Look for brands that employ Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) that include third party testing.
- Fish oil shelf life
Fish oil does have a shelf life – which can be shortened by the use of heat during manufacturing and long storage in sub-optimal facilities. Look for cold pressed fish oils that have been stored away from sunlight and heat.
- Ethical and sustainable fish oil
Lastly, always make sure that your fish oil is being derived from sustainable fish sources, using fishing practices that ensure the ongoing lifecycle of the fish in their environment, so that generations to come can enjoy the fish as a food source, and the fish oil benefits. All our fish oil products have been independently certified as sustainable, learn more about our Marine Sustainability Policy.
Benefits of fish oil supplements
What is fish oil good for? Each part of the body can benefit from the goodness contained in a fish oil supplement, let’s have a look at our favourite fish oil supplements to suit your health goals.
Best all-round fish oils
Taking an omega 3 fish oil supplement for overall health and wellbeing is easy with these two great options to choose from. Both are highly concentrated, so you only need to take 2 capsules per day.
BePure is a New Zealand based brand that is committed to formulating quality supplements. Their omega 3 fish oil is extracted from small fish in the South Pacific (small fish contain less heavy metals). This supplement contains a whopping 600mg of DHA, and 800mg of EPA per serving, along with 3 other important fat-soluble vitamins to support skin and the immune system: Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A (from beta-carotene).
Nordic Naturals is famous the world over for being a trustworthy brand for omega 3 fish oils. Their omega 3 fish oil is derived from small anchovies and sardines in the Nordic Sea. With 450mg of DHA, and 650mg of EPA in each serving, your body will have all the omega 3 fatty acids it needs to support your health and wellbeing. The capsules also include a natural lemon flavouring to minimise any fishy aftertaste.
The best vegan omega 3 oil
Getting enough omega 3 fatty acids can be more challenging if you’re vegan or vegetarian, as most concentrated sources are animal based. Don’t worry, there is an option for you too - introducing marine algae! This microalgae oil is sustainably sourced and contains a higher concentration of omega 3 fatty acids than other plant sources.
The best fish oil for memory & concentration
Efamol excel at formulating omega 3 fish oil supplements designed to support a particular area of health. As well as a good dose of DHA and EPA, the Efamol Active Memory includes the herbal extract Ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, folic acid, and vitamin B12 for a simple one a day option to support mental clarity and recall as well as healthy brain aging.
The best fish oil for skin and gut health
This innovative omega 3 fish oil from Aqua Biome uses Targeted Molecular Enrichment Technology (TMET) that preserves the DPA content, which is a versatile omega 3 fatty acid that the body can utilise wherever it is needed. The unique ratio of EPA:DHA: DPA supports a thriving and diverse microbiome – and a healthy microbiome supports digestion, skin health, and mood.
The best fish oil for joints
Another stellar option from Nordic Naturals, is their omega 3 fish oil formula for joints. A healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, type 2 collagen, and glucosamine work synergistically to support healthy, flexible, and comfortable joints.
The best fish oil for vision
Sustainably sourced from Icelandic herring, this liquid fish oil contains the ideal ratio of EPA and DHA to support a healthy brain and eyes, along with the antioxidant Astaxanthin for eye health and vision. Biotrace is based here in Aotearoa – they formulate their products based on the latest research.
The best fish oil for heart health
A healthy heart and circulatory system are the cornerstone of a long and active life. Taking care of your ticker is one of the most important things you can do. Along with keeping active, and eating a healthy diet, taking an omega 3 fish oil supplement can support the heart muscle and a healthy ratio of cholesterol and fats in the blood. Try this simple one-a day-capsule from Ethical Nutrients.
The best fish oil for pregnancy
Omega 3 fatty acids are required during pregnancy to support your growing baby. They are especially important in the 2nd and 3rd trimester as the brain and nervous system prepare for the big wide world. Don’t forget, pregnant mums need to support their bodies too! Taking a good quality fish oil supplement when pregnant will also support the health and elasticity of skin and tissues.
The best fish oils for children
Many parents will have tried to give their little one’s fish oil – unsuccessfully! Luckily there are great options to keep your kids’ tastebuds happy while ensuring they’re getting their daily dose. The omega 3 fatty acid DHA is very good for brain health and is ideal for supporting learning and concentration.
Flavoured with sweet orange oil and a dash of natural sweetness to help it go down, your kids will love these fish oil burstlets from Radiance. They're very versatile - they can be swallowed whole, chewed, or twist open to give directly or mix with food.
Support the development of your baby’s brain, eyes, and nervous system in their early years with an omega 3 fish oil supplement. Dosage is based on baby’s weight not age, and it can be easily added to formula or food. Breastmilk naturally contains omega 3 fatty acids from mum’s diet. If you’re not getting your 2-3 servings of oily fish per week, an omega 3 supplement can help fill nutritional gaps.
The best fish oil supplements
At HealthPost we have a wide range of fish oil and omega 3 supplements to suit any age, stage, and to support specific areas of your body. Each fish oil has been carefully selected to ensure purity and certified as sustainably sources so that we can all work together for healthier bodies and a healthier planet.