Omega-3 fatty acids are considered one of the most beneficial nutrients the body can obtain. It is naturally found in seafood, mainly fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. The health benefits that omega-3 offer are simply amazing. From strengthening your cardiovascular health to helping treat depression, including omega-3 rich food in your diet can help elevate your overall health.
However, if you are living in an area where fish is not available all the time, then choosing an omega-3 supplement is the next best alternative. But because there are literally hundreds of omega-3 supplements out there on the market today, it would be ideal if you go into the market with more than an inkling of what you need to look for.
We compiled all of the important details you would need to make an informed decision as to what type of omega-3 supplement to buy and which one suits you the best.
Forms of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are basically 4 forms of omega-3 fatty acid supplements to choose from. Knowing the difference between the four can help you choose which one can offer the best daily dosage for you.
- Fish – In its natural form, omega-3 is present as free fatty acids, triglycerides, and phospholipids.
- Fish Oil – Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly present as triglycerides.
- Processed Fish Oil – Processed fish oils transform into ethyl esters which are not naturally occurring nutrients.
- Reformed Triglycerides – Ethyl esters can actually be reverted back into triglycerides through specific methods. Once it is transformed into triglycerides, it is now known as reformed triglycerides.
Now, what you need to look for here are the supplements that are less processed and contain fewer ethyl esters. This is because ethyl esters are not easily absorbed by the body.
Tips in Buying Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements
First and foremost, you must learn to always read the labels. Check a supplement’s ingredients and nutrient facts. Choose one that is as close to being all-natural as possible. You should check for EPA and DHA contents as these are the most essential types of omega-3 fatty acids.
You should also be aware that having 1000mg fish oil content per capsule is not much if the EPA and DHA content are extremely low. In order to ensure that the supplement offers optimum body absorption, you should look if it contains free fatty acids (FFA), reformed triglycerides (RTG), triglycerides (TG) and phospholipids (PL) instead of ethyl esters (EE). You should also check for GOED standard of purity stamps as this means that the product is safe and contains all the ingredients that are indicated on the label.
As a safety precaution, always check the expiry date on the label. You should also choose a supplement that also contains vitamin E which is a known antioxidant for maximum effect.
There is nothing wrong in choosing an omega-3 fatty acid supplements, especially if you do not have access to fish and other seafood or if you do not enjoy eating fish. Supplements are there to fill in the void of several nutrients that we cannot obtain naturally. Stay on the safe side, though, and always consult with your doctor before trying out any kind of supplement.