Omega-3, what it does, where to get it and why you need it.
The bulk of your nutrition should always be from whole foods, supplements should be as their name implies. But, there is one supplement I believe everyone should be taking…omega-3. Outside of supplementation, omega-3 can be found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, algae and grass-fed meat. Eating fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna) 2-3 times weekly usually provides you with enough essential fats…but most don’t eat any servings of fatty fish. Another important reason for consuming omega-3, is to balance out the ratio compared to Omega-6. Our bodies need omega-6 too, but it is more prevalent in the foods we eat today…seed oils, some seeds, conventionally raised meats. Most modern diets have ratios of 20:1 to 30:1, omega-6 to omega-3…when our bodies need at most a 2:1 ratio!!
Some positives that have been found when consuming more omega-3;
- Reduced inflammation (I have experienced this first hand with my feet)
- Decreased risk for heart disease and high cholesterol
- Has been known to help with anxiety and depression
- Maintain/boost cognitive function
- Linked to preventing and managing autoimmune diseases
- Could improve sleep
And always a disclaimer that with anything you consume, consult your doctor and do your own research. 😁 But a nutrient rich lifestyle along with higher omega-3 has been proven to provide many positive health benefits. If you are not eating fatty fish 2-3 times per week, then I recommend supplementing.
When supplementing, there are a few things to look for…and finding an omega-3 to carry has been a huge pain in the ass. First…MOST fish oils on the market are of poor quality. Why is that? Well, fish oil comes mainly in two forms and you get what you pay for;
- Natural (more expensive, minority of market)– Natural fish oil will also contain vitamins A and D, these along with the fish oil being in triglyceride (fish oils natural state) form, help with the bodies absorption.
- Processed (cheaper)– This is the majority of the fish oil market. Lower quality fish oil is processed to remove impurities (mercury and PCB’s), and to concentrate the EPA and DHA. This process converts the fat into an ethyl ester form which is hard for the body to absorb. Processed fish oils are also way more susceptible to going rancid as they are less stable. Studies have shown that 70% of fish oils don’t accurately state the amount of EPA and DHA in each serving. Also, catch-to-capsule times can average 2-3 YEARS for many fish oil products.
Things to look for;
- Third Party Tested – Most fish oil companies don’t subject themselves to third party testing, for obvious reasons. There are companies like Labdoor that will do this on the more popular brands in the marketplace. The more reputable companies will always have their products third party tested, which it will say on the packaging and also provide the testing results at their website.
- Sustainability – Some might be concerned with the environmental impact (we should all be) of over-fishing, you can look for certificates from organizations like Friends of the Sea (FOS).
- Smell/taste test – Crack open a capsule, you shouldn’t have any fish smell or taste coming up after consuming.
- Visual – The oil should be clear, it should not have any “floaters” or cloudiness.
- It should contain about 70% EPA & DHA with around a 2:1 ratio.
If you are currently supplementing with fish oil, compare yours to the criteria above to make sure you are getting your monies worth. If you are looking to buy a supplement, I suggest checking out the fish oil we just got in, Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-D3 Sport. Nordic Naturals is one of the most reputable companies in the fish oil game. They make all of their Certificates of Analysis readily available as everything is third party tested, and it’s harvest is certified sustainable(FOS certified). We have samples if you would like to try it. 1480mg of omega-3 plus 1000 I.U. of D3 to help with absorption and bone health.
And with any supplement, if you don’t like it, feel free to return it anytime for a full refund. Please let me know if you have any questions.