5 Quick Tips on How to Choose the best Fish Oil
- Purity is essential so make sure they have third-party testing. Look for the label to read ‘no detectable levels’ of contaminants such as dioxins, PCBs, or heavy metals like lead and mercury.
- Freshness counts. One of the most common complaints of lower-quality fish oil supplements is a fish aftertaste that ‘repeats’ well after taking it. It shouldn’t. It’s also one of the biggest reasons people are reluctant to start taking a fish oil supplement. This is the result of fish oil that was not immediately purified and made into the final product and therefore allowed to start oxidizing. And storage out of sunlight, cap-on, and in the refrigerator help, though high quality fish oils can stay in a cool, room-temperature space for weeks without issue.
- Keep it simple. The ingredients should basically be fish oils without a long-list of add-on nutrients or fillers. The essential fatty acids (EFAs) are EPA and DHA, and you may also sometimes see plant EFAs, primrose oil and borage oil. Vitamin D can be conveniently packaged with the Omega-3s which can be helpful in reducing the overall number of capsules you are taking and there are a couple specialized combination supplements. But in general, simpler is better.
- Choose one that you will take! The only way to benefit from supplementing with omega-3s is by taking them, so look for a form that is convenient and fits your preferences. There are soft gels, chews, liquids (oils) and even effervescent packets that dissolve into a glass of water. Each form has shown to be absorbed well into the body, but only if you take it. Spend wisely by choosing one that you will consume.
- Like your brand. Fish oils come from our precious resources so do a little homework about the brand’s stewardship and respect for the ocean environment. Find out a little about how the company sources their fish oils and what it is doing to minimize impact, sustain and renew the environment.
Wendy Bazilian (www.wendybazilian.com) is a doctor of public health, registered dietitian and freelance writer in San Diego. She is also the Nutrition Advisor at the renowned Golden Door and Co-owner of Bazilian’s Health Clinic with her husband and business partner, Dr. Jason Bazilian. Dr. Wendy is author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet (Rodale).
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