Omega oil supplements have been around for a very long time, but in the last 10 years the major important role that omegas play in our overall health has really come in to view! The difficulty lies in how to know you are getting a good product that will benefit your whole well being, as supplements and vitamins are very loosely regulated (if at all) in North America. So how do you know what makes a good Omega? Continue reading and find out!
Omega 3, 6, or 9?
First and foremost is knowing what omegas you actually need. I have had many clients come back to me after I have told them to go on omega 3's, and tell me they did even better, they got an Omega 3, 6 and 9 supplement instead, thinking this is obviously better if it has more varieties of omegas. Unfortunately, this is very incorrect, and I can tell you why. Omega 6's in general promote inflammation, so you are better off not introducing extra omega 6 into your diet, especially if you have any inflammatory diseases. Omega 9's our body can create and utilize on its own, so we have no need to supplement this omega. Omega 3s are the only omega that we can only get by ingesting, and is the most important omega as it discourages inflammation and promotes a stronger and healthier immune system, and overall body health. This is why it is so important to get omega 3 supplements, as we can not get them any other way. However, in regards to Omega 6 and 9, they are not needed and should be avoided unless otherwise specifically directed by your doctors.
Which omega 3 is best?
If you have gone shopping for omega 3 supplements in the past, you will have noticed that there are far too many brands to choose from with no obvious distinguishing factors, so you may think they are all the same, but they are not! The first thing you should look for is on the nutrition label at the ratio of EPA to DHA contained in the omega supplement. you will want it to be roughly 3:1 ratio for EPA:DHA. It does not have to be an exact 3:1, but as close as you can get will benefit you greatly. Another thing to look for is whether your omega has been "Purified" or overly processed. Omega 3's work perfect in their natural tri-glyceride form, and any form of purification or processing can alter this. Think of a key and a lock, the lock is your body, the key is the omega 3. If you use the natural state of the key it should open that lock pretty easily. However, if you take that key, break it up into tiny pieces, then try to put it all back together, you will likely find that lock just doesn't open as easily with the key once it is forced back together in another form. This is exactly how omegas work, and they will always work better in their natural form then in any processed style. Another thing to keep in mind is that many of these omegas if they are processed, they are processed with alcohol. That means little remnants of alcohol can be contained within the omega oil itself, which will be processed through and by your liver. Small quantities here and there of alcohol are fine, as we know, but little bits of alcohol processed through the liver every single day, could potentially cause issues for the liver sometime down the road. As an omega 3 is a supplement, not a cure, it will be one you will want to take every day for basically the rest of your life! For this reason, it is prudent to be cautious with any omega three that denotes it has been purified or processed for you.
Where do the best Omega 3's come from?
There are many options for omega 3's including flax oil and other vegetarian options, but over all the best omega 3 oils will always come from fish. This means for anyone who hates to eat any fish at all, it is extra important to supplement with a good quality fish oil omega 3 product. However, not just any fish is ideal to use for omega 3 oils. As a general rule, the bigger the fish is, the more mercury is contained in the fish, and we all know that we do not want to ingest mercury in our diets. Therefore, the smaller the fish used the better quality omega 3 and less mercurial content you will have. Some of the best omega 3 fish oils will come from creatures like krill and sardines, the smallest of our swimming friends.
But, I dont like the Fish Burps!
In my quest to educate everyone on Omega 3's, the most common response I get from patients is that they don't want to take omega 3's because "I just hate it when I always get the fish oil burps"! Even people who like to eat fish regularly don't like getting the "fish burps". To this response, I pose this question: "If you are cooking fish for dinner, how do you know that your fish has begun to spoil?" Those avid cooks and chefs out there will know the answer - The fish that is spoiling starts to smell fishy! Good fresh fish does not have that fishy smell and taste that we generally dont like, and yes bad fish may give you indigestion and "Fish Burps". So if fish going bad gets "fishier", and wants to come back up on you, AND you have taken fish oils that smell and taste "very fishy" and wants to come back up on you, we can only come to one conclusion. The fish oil used in that particular supplement has gone bad! This is where our very loose supplement regulations come to play, because if these were properly regulated, companies would not be able to produce and sell fish oils that have gone bad, but unfortunately this is not the case. The onus has been put on the individual shopper to research and decide which omega 3 fish oil is best for them. Bad fish oils will not even be useful for the health of your body, as your body is likely to just eliminate the bad oils in your waste without using its omega properties at all, often releasing it in to your urine.
What would you recommend?
A ton of my knowledge and research into Omega 3 oils comes from an amazing company who spearheaded some extensive research via the Wells Eye Institute of California. In an effort to create the best and most efficient omega 3 oil products, they supported this research to help them deliver the best omega product possible for eye health, while still having excellent properties for the rest of your body health. They are call Physician Recommended Nutriceuticals, also known as PRN. They have a wide range of omega and other supplement products that provide the best in supplemental care, and they do offer an awesome auto-ship program so you are never without your omega 3 supplements. However, due to the extensive research and high quality ingredients in these products, they will not be the most affordable fish oil out there.
Not everyone will have the ability to pay for the highest quality omega 3 fish oil out there, even if it is the most beneficial product. As long as you do your research and follow these points to look for when shopping for an omega 3 fish oil product, you should be able to find an acceptable product for you in your price range. I have not been endorsed or paid by PRN to mention them in this article, I just love their products and research!