Fish oil is currently the most popularly used supplement and one of Consumer Reports, “11 Supplements to Consider.”* Fish oil products usually contain two omega-3 fatty acids, eicopentenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexenoic acid (DHA). These two fatty acids help blood platelets to be less sticky and therefore, may reduce inflammatory processes in the blood vessels, including vessels of the heart. And, since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, many folks are turning to fish oil as a preventative measure.
Claims and Purported Use
Fish oil has been shown to be effective for reducing triglyceride levels and likely effective for decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and progression of hardening of the arteries in people with existing heart disease. Fish oil may alleviate autoimmune diseases and improve both brain function and memory. One relatively recent study reported that increasing membrane omega-3 fatty acids promotes fat burning in muscles, inhibits fat storage, and enhances insulin sensitivity. Recent work indicates that omega-3 fats may regulate muscle growth ad help during period of muscle disuse by slowing muscle and bone loss.(1)
The following tested & true products passed independent testing. Here’s a breakdown of the top options based on research.
Pick Your Preference
Spring Valley Fish Oil Softgel – a moderately concentrated fish oil in the triglyceride form to ensure you’re getting the best absorption.
21st Century Fish Oil Enteric-Coated Softgel – is for folks who want to avoid the “fish burp” with an enteric coated softgel. These deliver directly to the small intestine instead of the stomach to limit the “fish burp,” which is why they cost a bit more than the softgels mentioned above.
Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil – Orange Flavor Liquid – is one of the only liquids to be tested and approved on the market.
OMEGA-3s – EXTRA
Additional options include Krill Oil, Algal Oil (Vegan) and Super Omega-3s
Viva Labs Krill Oil Softgels – a more concentrated form of omega-3 fatty acids. Although this brand offers the lowest cost per serving among the Krill oils approved by independent testing, it is more expensive than the fish oils.
Naturals Vegan True Non-Fish Omega-3s – provides omega-3s at the lowest cost among those passing independent testing for safety and efficacy in the vegan class. For vegans, Algal oil is a good source of omega-3s that is assumed to support better absorption.
Life Extension Super Omega-3 Plus EPA/DHA With Sesame Lignans, Olive Extract, Krill and Astaxanthin Softgels – is the loaded omega-3 that contains extra health boosting ingredients at a higher cost. New research findings show that a multi-complex form of Omega-3s may better support your cardiovascular system and your brain.
Selected Potential Side Effects
Fishy aftertaste, upset stomach, nausea, and loose stools. Very high doses can increase levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in some people or increase the chance of bleeding.
Selected Drug Interactions
Might increase the effect of blood-thinning drugs and high blood pressure medications.
No recommended daily intake of EPA or DHA is given in the United States for healthy people, but some countries suggest a 300-500 mg cumulative combination of EPA and DHA. For people with coronary artery disease (CAD), this recommendation also holds true when looking to reduce risk of coronary events such as heart attacks. Additional evidence based suggestions include (by condition):
High triglycerides, 465 mg of EPA and 375 mg of DHA
Depression, 1670 mg EPA and 830 mg DHA
Resistance Training, 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA per day, twice a day
To decrease risk for developing Retinal Disease, a combination of EPA and DHA of 200 mg per day.
Gain Access to Our Free Video Series on Tested (safe) and True (effective) Dietary Supplements
Video 1 offers a video presentation overview, shares why there’s so much hype surrounding the dietary supplement industry and explains what triggered an explosion of the supplement market.
Video 2 uncovers the dietary supplement industry further to report why the buyer needs to beware and provides viewers the resources needed to find tested and true products.
Reference Guide for Tested and True Dietary Supplements
Not Yet a subscriber?
References: *Consumer Reports
(1) Watkins, BA, Hutchins H, Li Y, Seifert MF: The endocannabinoid signaling system: a marriage of PUFA and musculoskeletal health. J Nutr Biochem 2010, 21 (12) :1141-1152.