WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR FISH OIL?
A high quality fish oil supplement is the ideal source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. However, not all fish oils provide the same benefits. The active constituents in fish oil, known as EPA and DHA, are used in varying therapeutic amounts for different health concerns. For example, EPA assists in relieving the pain and inflammation of mild arthritis, helps maintain cardiovascular health and plays a role in mood regulation. DHA supports normal healthy brain development, improves memory and cognition, and is important for the health of your nervous system. A high quality, high strength fish oil may also help you maintain a normal ratio between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ types of cholesterol as well as help maintain normal triglyceride levels.
The label on your tub may claim each fish oil capsule contains ‘1000 mg of fish oil’ but how much of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are you actually getting?
WHAT SHOULDN’T BE IN YOUR FISH OIL?
Ask yourself, ‘What else could be lurking in that budget brand fish oil that may be bad for my health?’ ‘Is there anything in there that could be harmful, such as toxins and impurities?’ Larger fish found higher up the aquatic food chain can harbour environmental pollutants such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and pesticides, which may accumulate in your body over time. The resultant toxicity may actually contribute to health complaints. The fish oils you purchase should be of the highest purity and quality, and should only come from small pelagic fish, such as sardines and anchovies, which do not accumulate the same levels of environmental toxins that the much larger fish tend to store over their lifespan. They should undergo a process called ‘molecular distillation’, which removes impurities and pollutants that may potentially be present.
MAINTAINING QUALITY – REDUCING THE ‘FISHINESS’
When fish oils are exposed to heat, air or light they can become oxidised or ‘turn rancid’. Oxidised fish oils not only smell and taste unpleasant, but also have reduced health benefits and may even be harmful in some cases. High quality fish oils are manufactured using a process called ‘nitrogen flushing’, which protects the oils from oxidation. By choosing a fish oil with the lowest indicators of oxidation you will gain the greatest health benefits from your fish oil.