How to Choose the Best Fish Oil Supplement to Get Your Omega-3s!

fish swimming under the ocean floor with fish oil supplements

What are Omega-3s? 

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that can benefit our health in many ways. The typical Western diet tends to be low in omega-3s, so it’s important to be aware of consuming them regularly. They are commonly found in oily fish such as herring, sardines, and mackerel but you can also easily satisfy your body with an effective fish oil supplement. Specific omega-3s like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are commonly found in fish oil.

Omega-3s vs. Omega-6s

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), “more than 95% of adults in the US had omega-3 concentrations below the levels associated with cardiovascular protection. Aggravating this problem is that omega-6 fatty acids are common in many foods that make up a large part of our diets, and omega-6s can interfere with the ratio and balance of omega fatty acids in the body. These factors make a strong case for regular supplementation of omega-3s.”

A major difference between these fatty acids is that omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and are important for heart health while omega-6s have pro-inflammatory properties essential for immune health. A healthy goal is to have omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a 1:1 ratio. 

Fish oil works primarily through eicosanoids, which are signaling molecules that tell other cells what to do. There are 3 types of eicosanoids: resolvins (which resolve inflammation), protectins (which protect our nervous system), and prostaglandins (which inhibit platelet aggregation).

The ratio of omega-3:6 fatty acids influences which eicosanoids are released in response to stress. Having this 1:1 ratio of omega-3:6 decreases both inflammation and plaque formation. It’s also neuroprotective, meaning it defends the central nervous system.

7 Benefits of Taking Fish Oil for Omega-3s

1. Mood Support: Decreased Aggression, Stress, and Depression

In otherwise healthy people, the DHA form of fish oil has been shown to prevent excessive aggression in times of stress. The EPA form of fish oil regulates immune function associated with stress. Fish oil can act as an antidepressant alone or aid the effects of other antidepressants.

2. Improves Brain Health and Cognitive Function

Fish oil appears to promote blood flow to the brain, which positively impacts brain health and development. It’s been shown that an increase in memory can be associated with DHA supplementation. Fish oil can serve a therapeutic and preventative role for stroke victims.

3. Lowers Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Higher fish intake is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia. Reduced DHA levels are associated with a higher risk of dementia. EPA appears to preserve brain mass over time, something we all lose with age. Fish oil can be a great benefit to anyone prone to forgetting things. 

4. Prevents Inflammatory Pain and Supports Joint Health

Supplemental fish oil is commonly used to reduce inflammation and pain caused by arthritis or other autoimmune diseases. Resolvin E1 (from EPA) and resolvin D2 (from DHA) have been shown to prevent pro-inflammatory cytokines from inducing pain. 

5. Maximizes Heart Health

Fish oil reliably and potently reduces triglyceride levels after several weeks of supplementation. It can also increase good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Normalizing your omega-3:6 ratio may help with cardiovascular protection.

6. Fights Against Diabetes and Obesity

Studies have indicated that fish oil may improve fat metabolism and decrease hunger which can help with weight loss. This is an important benefit if you have or are at risk for diabetes, are obese, or have insulin resistance.

7. Encourages Increased Muscle Mass

Fish oil increases muscle protein synthesis and insulin sensitivity at the muscular level. This leads to muscle hypertrophy and increased metabolic rate. 

Choosing the Right Fish Oil Supplement

Choosing your fish oil supplement should be a careful consideration, and remember—quality comes first. Here are some important factors to look out for:

  • Backed by third-party testing – ensures freshness, purity, and consistent potency in every batch
  • Sustainability – look for sourcing from sustainable fisheries which helps protect the species and their ocean environments
  • No “fishy” taste – lower-quality oils may contain marine liquids. Cleaner oils should have very little taste after taking them. You can even try one with a natural fruit flavor!

Try our go-to fish oil by Metagenics which checks all the boxes for a high-quality medical-grade supplement!

Here’s what Dr. Wendy has to say about this supplement: 

“I take this fish oil every day, it’s a no-brainer, or should I say “improved-brainer.” It really helps blood flow to the brain, muscles, and joints while decreasing inflammation and improving cholesterol and metabolism. I believe this really keeps me pain-free and supports my joints as I age!”

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1 Comment

  1. Timothy Kane

    I’ve been taking fish oil supplements for 3yrs to help with my atrial fibrulation with minimal results. It wasn’t until I added tuna fish to my diet that I began to experience the benefits you mentioned except the weight loss.

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