Lifestyle

Is Fish Oil Good for You?

By Amber SmithApr 4, 2022 9:00 AM
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While there are countless supplements available on the market, fish oil is one of the most common. If your diet doesn't consist of a lot of oily fish such as salmon, cod, sardines, lake trout, and herring, taking a fish oil supplement can be quite beneficial. Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids which play an important role in building and maintaining a healthy body. 

In this blog post we'll discuss the health benefits of fish oil along with six of the best supplements to add to your daily health regimen. 

1. Elm & Rye Fish Oil

2. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega

3. Thorne Omega-3 w/CoQ10

4. Nature's Bounty Fish Oil with Omega 3

5. HUM OMG! Omega the Great

What is fish oil?

Fish oil is fat that’s extracted from fish tissue. It most commonly comes from oily fish but can also be produced from the livers of certain types of fish, such as cod liver oil. According to the World Health Organization, fish should be eaten 1-2 times a week to benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. 

These fatty acids have been linked to a wide range of health benefits, including protection against common diseases such as heart disease. If your diet lacks fish or if you want peace of mind that you’re getting enough omega-3s, taking a fish oil supplement is a great option. 

Fish oil is 30% omega-3s with the remaining 70% being fats. Fish oil also contains vitamins A and D. While omega-3s are found in some plant sources, such as flaxseed, those found in fish oil offer much greater health benefits.

What are the different types of omega-3s found in fish oil?

Fish oil contains two different types of omega-3s. The first is eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which reduces triglyceride levels in the blood and prevents the blood from clotting easily. It may also play a role in reducing pain and swelling.

The second type of omega-3 is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which plays a critical role in the development of nerve and eye tissues. It may also reduce the risk of circulatory and heart disease by reducing inflammation, decreasing blood thickness, and lowering triglyceride levels. 

Eating a diet that provides the right amount of omega-3s offers whole body benefits, from your vision to heart health to bone and joint health.

Forms of fish oil

Omega-3s are available in both natural and processed forms. How the fish oil is processed has a direct impact on the form of the fatty acids. Be aware that some forms are better absorbed than others. 

●       Whole fish – Omega-3s are available as free fatty acids, triglycerides, and phospholipids

●       Fish oil – Omega-3 fatty acids are present as triglycerides

●       Processed fish oil – After fish oil is refined, the triglycerides are often converted into ethyl esters. This enables chemists to adjust DHA and EPA concentrations in the oil.

●       Reformed triglycerides – In some instances, ethyl esters from processed fish oils are converted back into triglycerides. This is known as reformed triglycerides. 

While each of these forms offer health benefits, ethyl esters have the lowest absorption rate. For best results, eat whole fish or choose a fish oil supplement that contains fish oil.

Benefits of fish oil

Years of research have uncovered all sorts of benefits of taking fish oil supplements or eating a diet that’s high in cold water fish. Here are some of the top reasons why a fish oil supplement can greatly improve your health.

Improved heart health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death both in the United States and around the world. Studies have found that people who routinely eat fish are at a much lower risk of heart disease. 

Eating fish or taking a fish oil supplement reduces many risk factors associated with heart disease, including: 

●       Decreased triglycerides

●       Improved cholesterol levels by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol

●       Reducing blood pressure

●       Preventing the development of plaque in the arteries 

While there is no solid evidence that fish oil reduces or prevents heart attacks or stroke, omega-3s have been linked to all sorts of heart healthy benefits. Stable blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels are key for a strong, healthy heart.

Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is the body's natural response to treating injuries or fighting infection. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is anything but normal or healthy. It's typically associated with health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression. 

One of the most effective ways to treat the symptoms of these diseases is to reduce inflammation. Because fish oil is anti-inflammatory, it can help those experiencing chronic inflammation. 

Fish oil supplements have shown to significantly reduce joint pain and stiffness, even in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Supports eye health

Healthy eyes require omega-3 fatty acids. People who lack omega-3s in their diet are at a much higher risk of certain eye diseases such as macular degeneration. 

A fish oil supplement may also help ease symptoms of dry eye. It's thought that omega-3 fatty acids may improve the eye's oil film, which reduces dry eye symptoms and reduces, if not eliminates, the need for artificial tears.

Boosts skin health

Want to love the skin you’re in? Take fish oil! Your skin serves as a protective layer. It's also the largest organ on your body. 

The skin contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, and it plays a role in balanced hydration, oil production, and minimizing signs of aging. They also soften rough, dry skin and can soothe irritation caused by dermatitis. 

Taking a fish oil supplement regularly may even boost the skin's immunity to skin cancer caused by UV damage.

Supports pregnancy and early life

There are many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are essential for early growth and development, including omega-3s. Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding are often advised to take fish oil supplements. 

Research shows that taking fish oil during these vital times positively impacts fetal brain development. Fish oil supplements may also reduce the risk of allergies while also improving a baby's visual development.

Helps those with certain mental health conditions

Did you know that your brain is about 60% fat, with much of it being omega-3 fatty acids? This is why omega-3s are essential for healthy brain function. Some studies have linked low omega-3 blood levels to an increased risk of certain mental health conditions. 

Research has also found that omega-3s may prevent the onset of symptoms or improve them. Supplementing with a fish oil supplement lowers the risk of psychotic disorders along with symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Slows the onset of mental decline

Not only does fish oil help to reduce symptoms of certain mental health conditions, it also supports brain health as we get older. Aging causes brain function to decline. It also increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease. People who eat more fish typically experience a slower decline in brain function as they age. 

Fish oil supplements may also improve memory, cognition, and recall in older adults.

Improves bone health 

Getting older means that our bones start to lose essential minerals. This causes bones to become weaker and brittle, which often leads to conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. While vitamin D and calcium are building blocks for strong, healthy bones, omega-3s also play a vital role. 

People with high omega-3 intakes tend to have higher bone mineral density. Studies have also uncovered a potential link between omega-3 supplementation and reduced markers of bone breakdown, which means a lower risk of bone disease.

Supplementing with fish oil 

If you don't eat 1-2 portions of oily fish each week, consider adding a fish oil supplement to your daily wellness routine. Here are some things to consider when supplementing with omega-3s. 

Dosage

The amount of EPA and DHA that you should take vary based on your age and health. Most adults can safely take 1,100-1,600 mg of fish oil a day. However, those at risk of heart disease and women who are pregnant or nursing may need a higher dosage. 

Concentration

Most fish oil supplements contain around 1,000 mg of fish oil per serving and 300 mg of EPA and DHA. Before choosing a supplement, find one that contains at least 500 mg of EPA and DHA for every 1,000 mg of fish oil. 

Form

Fish oil supplements are available in different forms, including triglycerides, reformed triglycerides, esters, phospholipids, and free fatty acids. 

Because the body doesn't absorb ethyl esters very well, it's best to choose a fish oil supplement that is available in one of the other, more bioavailable forms. 

Timing

While there's no wrong time to take a fish oil supplement, there are ways to improve your body's absorption of omega-3 fatty acids. To reap the most benefits, take a fish oil supplement with a meal that contains other types of fat.

Types of fish oil supplements

Supplements are available in several different forms. You'll find that many brands deodorize the product, using essential oils, to mask the fishy smell and aftertaste. 

The main types of fish oil supplements available today include: 

●       Soft gel capsules - Soft gel capsules are the most popular type of fish oil supplements. They're easy to swallow and are extremely convenient.

●       Liquid - Fish oil is also available in liquid form. This type of fish oil is sold in a bottle and generally offers higher doses. It's a good option for pill-averse people.

●       Gummies - Fish oil gummies are a tasty way to benefit from omega-3s. These supplements are usually fruit-flavored and are coated in sugar for a delicious bite.

●       Prescription - There are also prescription fish oil supplements that are specifically formulated for those with high triglycerides. These supplements are mainly used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

How to choose a high-quality fish oil supplement

There’s no shortage of fish oil supplements available on the market today. However, not all supplements are made the same.

Ingredients

To get the best bang for your buck and to have the biggest impact on your health, you want a supplement that is made with high quality, pure ingredients. Check the ingredients label and look for the two most important bioactive ingredients: EPA and DHA. 

Dosage

While the recommended dosage of fish oil depends on your age and health, choose a supplement that offers at least 1,000 mg of fish oil and 500 mg of EPA and DHA. This is the recommended amount for the average adult. 

Freshness

Fish supplements that contain omega-3s are prone to going rancid. You'll know if a supplement is bad because it will have a foul smell. Rancid fish oil supplements are less potent and may even be harmful. 

Third-party testing

Always choose a fish oil supplement that has undergone third-party testing. This means that the product has been thoroughly evaluated by an independent organization to confirm that it meets quality and safety standards. 

Price

Fish oil supplements can range in price, anywhere from $13 to $50. When choosing a supplement, find one that meets the other criteria while also fitting your budget. 

There are dozens of fish oil supplements on the market, and while it’s nice to have a variety to choose from, it can also be confusing. By considering all of these factors, you’re sure to find a supplement that best meets your needs.

Top 5 fish oil supplements

 

1. Elm & Rye Fish Oil

Our top recommended fish oil supplement comes from Elm & Rye. This is a brand that’s committed to using potent, pure, and sustainable ingredients in all of its supplements. The best part is that Elm & Rye Fish Oil is tested by a third-party lab, so you can buy with total confidence knowing that it contains quality ingredients and is free of heavy metal contaminants. 

No matter if you’re taking fish oil to reduce inflammation, to boost brain or heart health, or to support a healthy pregnancy, this is a supplement that you can trust to help you achieve your wellness goals. 

Price: $44.99 for 60 capsules or $35.99 with the subscribe & save program 

Dosage: Take one capsule daily 

2. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega

Worried about a fishy taste when taking fish oil pills? Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega offers a natural lemon flavor that prevents a fishy aftertaste or fish burps. This supplement is made with high-intensity omega-3s, which are clinically proven to support heart and cardiovascular health. 

Each serving contains 1280 mg of fish oil, including 650 mg of EPA, 450 mg of DHA, and 180 mg of other omega-3s. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega contains purified deep sea fish oil that’s sourced from wild caught sardines and anchovies. The supplement is third-party lab tested for safety, purity, and potency. 

Price: $29.99 for 60 capsules 

Dosage: Take two capsules daily

3. Nature Made Fish Oil Gummies

Not a fan of swallowing pills? You aren't alone! Nature Made Fish Oil Gummies is ideal for people who want to benefit from a fish oil supplement without having to take capsules each day. 

These fish oil gummies taste good and are made with high quality ingredients. Nature Made Fish Oil Gummies are also quite easy on the wallet! 

These omega-3 gummies come in three different flavors, including orange, lemon, and strawberry. Take them in the morning or at night for a health-boosting treatment! The fish oil used in Nature Made Fish Oil Gummies is extracted from tuna and the supplement is UPS verified. 

Price: $16.99 for 90 gummies 

Dosage: Take two gummies daily 

4. Thorne Omega-3 w/CoQ10

Thorne Omega-3 w/ CoQ10 is uniquely formulated to support neurological and cardiovascular health, along with cellular energy production and healthy aging. Omega-3s and CoQ10 work together to support blood vessels, heart, and brain health. A single gelcap contains 450mg of EPA, 180m of DHA, and 30mg of CoQ10. Like all high-quality supplements, this fish oil product is made with pure fish oil that contains no cholesterol or other contaminants. 

Thorne Omega-3 w/ CoQ10 is soy, dairy, and gluten-free. It’s also made with natural flavors, colors, and ingredients. Though one of the more expensive supplements on our list, the quality is well worth the cost. 

Price: $46 for 90 gelcaps 

Dosage: Take one gelcap daily 

5. Nature's Bounty Fish Oil with Omega 3

Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil contains high quality omega-3s that are sourced from fish caught in Peru using ecologically friendly methods. The fish oil is purified to remove any traces of mercury and any other contaminants. 

The formula is specially designed to be odorless. Each capsule is coated to minimize the risk of a fishy aftertaste and fish burps. 

A two-capsule serving contains 1400 mg of fish oil along with 980 mg of omega-3s. The supplement is non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free, which means it can fit into any lifestyle or dietary needs. 

Price: $13.49 for 60 softgels 

Dosage: Take two softgels daily 

6. HUM OMG! Omega the Great

OMG! Omega the Great from HUM is a high quality, pure omega-3 fish oil supplement that provides the ideal ratio of omega-3 fatty acids. The fish oil used to make the supplement is sourced from wild anchovy. OMG! Omega the Great also contains vitamin E, which work together to help control your body's inflammation levels while also supporting healthy glowing skin. 

Each two-capsule serving contains 1400 mg of fish oil, including 800 mg of EPA and 400 mg of DHA. a serving also contains 200 mg of other omega-3s. 

Price: $30 for 60 softgels 

Dosage: Take two capsules daily.

Why we chose these fish oil supplements

We picked these six top fish oil supplements based on many factors, including safety, quality, and effectiveness. Our team only recommends products that we have tested and believe in, so you can feel totally confident buying any of the supplements from our list. Each product has been thoroughly researched and has positive reviews from real users.

What are the myths of taking fish oil supplements?

For the last few years, omega-3 supplements have become and remained a hot topic. And as we all know, the more popular a product is, the more likely it is to have all sorts of myths and misinformation. 

One of the most common misconceptions of fish oil supplements is that all fish, no matter the type, is a quality source of omega-3s. However, the reality is that different kinds of fish contain different levels of vitamins, nutrients, and other compounds. 

Ideally, look for a supplement that contains fish oil derived from smaller breeds of fish, such as anchovies. Smaller fish are less likely to contain high levels of mercury. 

It’s also important to note that omega-3s from fish oil are much different than those derived from plants. Omega-3s require other compounds to activate in the body. While plant-derived omega-3s are known for rejuvenating the skin, they lack critical compounds. 

Fish oil contains both omega-3 fatty acids and the active components that are needed to provide the benefits you seek.

Omega 6-s are not the same as omega-3s

Omega-6 fatty acids are not a more powerful version of omega-3s. In fact, if there’s an imbalance between the two, your health could suffer. When omega-6 levels in the body are too high, they can decrease the effectiveness of omega-3s while increasing inflammation. 

Chances are that your diet already contains plenty of omega-6s, so there’s no need to take a supplement.

Final thoughts

A high-quality fish oil supplement is a proven way to boost your health and wellbeing. Studies have found that fish oil supplements offer holistic health benefits from the inside out. From relieving achy joints due to inflammation to improving heart health, this is a supplement that you want to add to your health regimen immediately.

Remember, the only way to reap the benefits of fish oil and omega-3s is to take a high-quality supplement consistently. After a few weeks of supplementing, you should definitely notice a difference both physically and mentally.

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