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Choosing a fish oil supplement

Fish oil is quite the ubiquitous health supplement. It is capable of supporting heart health, mental development and can even help in relieving inflammation. But with so many types of fish oils in the market, with so many designations, how do we know which one to go for?

The human body is unable to synthesise omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for health, and hence must be obtained from the diet. However, not everyone has the time or means to whip up a balanced meal to meet the daily requirements needed by the body. One option is to supplement with fish oil.

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Together, EPA and DHA can help to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, fight inflammation, lower blood pressure and support good circulation. It is clear that these two omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil confers many benefits to our health. 

However, with so many choices in the market, how do we know what type of fish oil supplement is suitable for our needs? 

Take note of some of the main points below when making your purchase:

    1. Type & Form of Omega-3
      Fish oil supplements generally come in ethyl ester (EE) or natural triglyceride (TG) forms. EE form supplements generally have a higher concentration of EPA & DHA. However, it is recommended to look for one that is in TG form, as this is the natural form found in oily fish, and has a much higher absorption rate and bioavailability than EE form. 

    2. Purity
      Fish oil tend to have traces of other, possibly toxic substances in them. Look for a fish oil supplement which is molecularly distilled to ensure purity, and have undergone steam deodorisation to reduce contaminants.

    3. Freshness
      Just like everything else, Omega-3 fatty acids can be vulnerable to oxidation, which can turn them rancid and not suitable for consumption. The addition of Vitamin E can help prevent/delay the oxidation process.

 

  1. Dosage
    The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that the combined use of EPA and DHA in a dose of approximately 500mg per day is useful in maintaining general heart health. 

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