How to choose the best fish oil supplement

I know, it is a minefield out there and there are so many brands of omega-3 supplements on the shelves that it is mind-boggling. Furthermore, you have probably been cautioned that when it comes to fish oil, only the purest will do. This is because, thanks to the human species, the fish in our oceans have become so contaminated and the toxins are mostly harboured in the fatty parts of the fish from which the oil is extracted.  So let me make it easier for you. Follow this advice on how to choose the best fish oil supplement available and you can’t go wrong:

  1. Is the DHA and EPA content of the fish oil in one softgel displayed on the label? These essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the active ingredients in fish oil. Ideally the concentration of EPA and DHA combined should be no less than 60% in a 1000mg softgel, eg: 400mg EPA and 200mg DHA means 60% of a 1000mg softgel comprises EFAs.
  2. If you really want to show that you know how to choose the best fish oil supplement, watch out for deceptive labeling. Some labels will display the DHA and EPA content in 3 or 4 softgels, not just one, making it look impressive when it is not. So take care when comparing prices.
  3. There should be no added ingredients apart from non-therapeutic amounts of vitamin E to prevent rancidity.
  4. What is the source of the fish oil? Be wary of cheap salmon oil supplements. The oils from farmed salmon, because they are fed vegetable matter, contain some omega-6 so are not pure omega-3. If you really look for oils extracted from smaller marine varieties such as anchovy, sardine and mackerel.
  5. Has the oil been certified by a reputable third party? If it has then this certification will be shown on the label and should confirm a star rating for safety, purity and label accuracy. On request the supplier should be able to issue you with a consumer report for the oil in the softgels, given the batch no. which should be displayed on the bottle.
  6. Do you experience fishy burps after consuming your fish oil supplement? A good quality, molecularly distilled, ultra-refined fish oil should not leave a fishy after taste.
  7. Are the manufacturers available to answer your questions? You should be able to ask tough questions of any supplier of fish oil regarding purity certification, type of fish used, whether cold or heat extracted, wild or farmed, sustainability and environmental impact.best fish oil supplement
  8. Is the oil in triglyceride(TG) or ethyl ester(EE) form? There is nothing wrong with the EE form however the triglyceride form is better absorbed so, although more expensive, you get more bang for your bucks. The TG form is more costly to produce so manufacturers will proudly display on the label if it is in TG form, meaning labels that don’t mention triglyceride will most likely be in ethyl ester form and should be cheaper as you will need to take a higher dose.

Now, armed with all this knowledge, check out these two brands to see if they tick all of the above boxes – See Yourself Well and Life Support . If you would like a consumer report please email me lynne@orchardsnutrition.co.za and I’ll gladly send you one for the latest batch of fish oil softgels we have available. All have been awarded a 5 star rating by International Fish Oil Standards. You can’t get better than that for peace of mind.

Here is an example of a consumer report that the manufacturer should be able to supply:

IFOS Consumer report SYW omega 3 Dec 2022

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