Omega 3 is a treasure trove of health benefits. This nutrient has been extensively studied and is considered one of the most incredible additions to diet around the world. Omega 3’s benefits are wide-ranging, from promoting heart health to reducing inflammation.
Once only present in minimal amounts through fish, seeds, and oil, now available in nearly every local health food store and pharmacy in the form of supplements, omega 3’s presence is extensive and convenient. That said, not every omega supplement is high quality.
Differing Between Low And High-Quality Omega 3 Supplements
You need to know how to distinguish superior supplements from poorly manufactured ones. Many omega 3 supplements fail to meet the necessary standards to truly make a difference in improving your health. In some cases, these can even pose a risk to your well-being.
Lucky for you, we can guide you to that to tell apart different omega 3 supplements.
High-quality omega 3 has better freshness and rancidity control
When you’re buying fish oil softgels, which are the most commonly available form of omega 3 supplements, always look for great freshness levels. Oxidation occurs speedily for unsaturated fatty acids, the basic component of omega 3. When the unsaturated fatty acids in fatty fish oil are exposed to oxygen, light, or heat, the chemical bonds in those fatty acid molecules break down. The resulting oxidative products such as alcohols and aldehydes make the fish oil go rancid. Manufacturers need to take certain precautions to avoid this from happening, as well as use raw material that is extremely fresh.
Poor-quality omega 3 supplements will smell and taste funky
Yes, omega 3 fish oil supplements should taste ‘fishy’, but the fresh kind of fish. The kind that reminds you of ocean breeze and beaches. Poor-quality fish oil will have that putrid smell that makes you cover your nose. And while you can’t tell that from a sealed bottle of omega supplements, check the following:
- Manufacturing Date
- Expiration Date
- Peroxide Levels (Current Oxidation)
- Anisidine Values (Past Oxidation)
- Total Oxidation Value Of Less Than 25.0 Meq/Kg
High-quality omega 3 is manufactured in the absence of oxygen
Look into the manufacturing and packaging methods of the omega 3 supplements you’ve narrowed down for yourself. Look for a manufacturer that employs processing techniques without the need for oxygen, high temperatures, or unnecessary chemicals. High-quality omega 3 supplements result from a process with a nitrogen-rich environment, effectively preventing oxidative rancidity. While mild heat is still essential, as long as there is no oxygen present heat-related risks stay at minimal.
Poor quality omega 3 supplements manufacturing methods are not ideal
In the absence of a proper environment, omega 3 supplements come out rancid from the get-go. Manufacturers producing these may not pay attention to keeping oxygen at bay, using sensible temperatures, or both.
To counteract the effect, they may add preservation chemicals and flavorings—which is given on the supplement label. Therefore, check the ingredients carefully to figure out if there are any additives present. You want to pick a brand that has the least amount of extra ingredients.
Note to remember: The presence of additional nutrients in your omega 3 supplement is actually a positive sign. Supporting vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and iron help combat oxidation. However, be cautious about the quantity of vitamin A; excessive amounts can harm the liver.
High-quality omega 3 can be sourced back to metal-free water bodies
The source of omega 3 fish oil is the tissue of fatty fish. High-quality fish oil typically comes from salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel, and anchovies. That’s not all; the fish also comes from water bodies known for purity. You can check the label and do your research to confirm this. Also, do verify if your omega supplement has undergone testing for heavy metals.
Poor quality omega 3 supplements have questionable sources
With the increasing pollution in oceans around the globe, there’s the likelihood of the presence of toxic metals. Due diligence prior to purchasing and consumption is to ensure that the omega fish oil supplements are free from toxic heavy metals such as mercury. Reputable brands will proudly disclose the results of these tests to guarantee your well-being. On the other hand, low-quality brands may provide incomplete information.
High-quality omega 3 has safe percentages of EPA and DHA
Omega fish oil supplements have Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) fatty acids. This dynamic duo is responsible for the supplement’s amazing health benefits. To ensure fine quality and go for healthy choices, keep an eye out for products that have safe levels of EPA and DHA. You want a dosage high enough to make the most of your investment, and low enough that it does not create any unpleasant side effects.
Poor quality omega 3 supplements may be lacking EPA and DHA (or go way over)
It’s important to be cautious when browsing different brands, as there may be some issues with the EPA and DHA content. Poor quality omega supplements may sometimes appear stronger due to the total fish oil content advertised on the bottle. However, on closer inspection, you’ll discover that only a fraction of that total amount actually comes from EPA and DHA.
If a product claims ‘1500 mg of fish oil’ but with only 450 mg being EPA and DHA, it means that the healthful content is less. The ideal range of EPA and DHA is 1000-2000 mg for an omega 3 supplement that is effective.
Quality is the highest priority when choosing omega 3 fish oil supplements. Subpar quality omega 3 is not only not impactful, but may also have detrimental effects.
Pay attention to EPA and DHA content, as well as the presence of other nutrients such as vitamin A. Opt for products derived from fish from safe and toxin-free water bodies. Of course, choosing sustainability is another mark of good taste. By going for omega fish oil that originates from fish at the bottom of the food chain, you play your part in the preservation of marine ecosystems. Lastly, pay attention to the process and packaging; oxygen-free manufacturing and packaging and bottles and capsule coating in dark colors prevent oxidation and rancidity. By considering these factors, you can make a smart decision and get the best possible product for your health.