After reading study after study talking about the benefits of fish oil supplementation to your health we decided to spend some time researching the health benefits of fish oil, and also to examine the different fish oil supplements available worldwide to determine the best fish oil supplements for us.
We are fitness and health fanatics. We exercise regularly, we eat well and we are very healthy, and do not like taking anything at all. However the evidence for the protective health benefits of increasing the amount of Omega 3 essential fatty acids in our diet is so overwhelming that we decided that it would be worthwhile taking fish oil supplements.
It is unlikely that there are any health supplements in the world with as much solid scientific research backing their health benefits. Studies have recently shown that many vitamin supplements have little or no benefit to your health, and may, in some cases, actually be detrimental.
However there is widespread agreement among health professionals and scientists that our diet is deficient in the Omega 3 essential fatty acids which are most commonly found in fish and other sea foods, though are also found in smaller quantities in other food sources.
Studies on the health benefits of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids began some decades ago. Scientists began to notice that some peoples, who were commonly high consumers of fish and other sea foods, exhibited very low levels of many of the lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and cancers that affect so many of us in the Western world.
Gradually the studies began to demonstrate that one of the major reasons for this was the high levels of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in the diet of these very healthy people.
You may have been told that fat is bad for you. This isn’t entirely true, and in fact some fats, particularly the Omega 3 fats, are not only good for you but have significant protective health benefits.
And as our diets include less and less fish and seafood our intake of the Omega 3 fats found in fish and seafood declines, and as a result we are becoming less healthy. And also as a result it is now possible to buy high quality fish oil supplements to restore our intake of the Omega 3 fats. The best Omega 3 supplements provide your body with a daily dose of these extremely important and healthy fats.
Different brands of Omega 3 pills give you different amounts of Omega 3 fats. Because not all of the contents of that little tablet is Omega 3 fats, some of it isn’t.
Most Omega 3 capsules are 18/12 capsules. If you don’t know what that means we’ll explain.
An 18/12 capsule is one which provides you with 18 percent EPA and 12 percent DHA. In other words 18 percent of the ingredients of the capsule are EPA and 12 percent of DHA.
EPA and DHA are the 2 major Omega 3 fats, and it is quite clear that the most important of these is DHA. In most 1000 milligram capsules you are getting 120 milligrams of DHA, the most important Omega 3 fat.
But there’s more. One of the other considerations when taking fish oil supplements is whether or not they are contaminated.
Sadly our oceans are becoming contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals and much more. Mercury, PCBs, dioxin and more have all been found in tests of various fish and other sea foods. And the obvious question is, if the fish oil used in the capsules comes from contaminated fish, how much of the contamination are you eating when you take those capsules?
And it’s not just theoretical. Testing in a California laboratory of various brands of fish oil supplements, including very high profile supplements, found worrying levels of PCB contamination. PCBs are nasty chemicals you do not want to eat.
As a result there were prosecutions under proposition 65 in California. This requires that manufacturers of these types of products warn consumers where contamination exceeds certain levels, as it did.
You might not have immediately considered the possibility that various brands of fish oil capsules may have PCBs, dioxins or other contaminants, however that’s the case, certainly when they were tested in California.
So do you want to take the risk that your fish oil capsules are contaminated? Or would you rather be certain they’re clean?
Make sure that the manufacturer governs the process of catching the fish, extracting the oil and processing it from beginning to end. This is not the case with many manufacturers who simply buy wholesale fish oil of unknown quality from suppliers of unknown quality.
Many people experience what is often called “fishy burps” from taking fish oil capsules. In other words the capsules repeat and deliver an unpleasant fishy taste or sensation. This is not because there is fish oil in the capsules, it’s because there is old or rancid fish oil in the capsules.
In many cases manufacturers of fish oil supplements use old oil. Oil that has been left too long and has gone off. And in some cases they even seek to mask this, knowing the oil has gone off.