Fish oil ranks as one of the leading supplements among health-conscious consumers.
Experts estimate that more than 1,000 companies sell fish oil supplements worldwide.
Which is why they recommend people look into 3 important details consumers should know before buying bottles of fish oil.
In some cases, ignorance of these details could simply cost consumers money.
In more extreme circumstances, ignorance of this information could make a person sick.
1 – You Need to Know Where the Fish Came From:
When the average person buys fish oil, they believe the fish oil they get is virtually the same as the cheaper or more expensive versions.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Fish oil supplements don’t all come from the same kinds of fish.
And even when they do come from the same species of fish, the quality of the fish in question affects the health benefits provided by the fish oil.
Experts recommend first off, that your fish oil comes from fatty fish species.
These include fish like salmon, anchovies, cod, mackerel, and krill.
The reason you want fatty-fish is self-explanatory. The fattier the fish species, the better it is at giving you two kinds of Omega-3 fats you need: DHA and EPA.
When manufacturers make their fish oil out of less-fatty types of fish you’re not getting enough DHA/EPA.
Meaning you’re taking in fats that aren’t necessarily good for you.
Beyond knowing the kind of fish your fish oil comes from, you need to know where it came from.
In every single instance, wild-caught sources are better than farm-raised.
The reason why they’re better is wild-caught fish contain more EPA and DHA than farm-raised sources.
Plus, they’re generally much healthier and don’t contain the same levels of toxins and pollutants as farm-raised fish.
As the New York Times documents, there’s a body of research indicating farm-raised fish can be dangerous.
So, when getting fish oil, purchase supplements that are wild-caught and whose manufacturers spend time working with sustainable fisheries.
2 – Consider How Your Fish Oil Is Manufactured
Not all fish oil is made the same.
Processing standards and types of fish oil vary.
Ultimately, people take fish oil because they count on the EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids to be absorbed by their body.
Various manufacturing processes affect how DHA and EPA are absorbed.
The least popular form of fish oil happens to be the most effective in terms of absorption.
Liquid fish oils, generally from cod liver, impart the most potent and most bioavailable forms of fish oil which is the natural triglyceride form.
This kind of fish oil is extracted directly from fish, in much the same way a processed olive oil or coconut oil is pressed from olives or coconuts.
There is very little processing at play here, so this renders the fish oil ultra-pure and incredibly easy to absorb.
The next to best processing methods are Processed fish oil and reformed triglycerides.
Processed fish oil is processed forms of fish oil taken from fish sources, but placed inside of distilling machines.
Fish oil is processed to both purify it and also to render it shelf-stable. Once processed, fish oil is called an ethyl ester.
While not “natural” in the strictest sense, processed fish oil still delivers DHA and EPA.
However, there is varying quality in fish oil ethyl esters (based on fish source).
To make sure you’re getting a high-quality fish oil consider the fish source.
The last form of fish oil is reformed triglycerides.
In this form of fish oil, the manufacturers take the ethyl esters you’d find in processed fish oil and convert them back into the natural triglycerides form.
This renders them more bioavailable while helping them remain shelf-stable.
Ranking them, pure fish oil is the best, reformed triglycerides are second best, and then ethyl esters (processed fish oil) are third.
3 – If They Taste Bad Or Not:
One of the primary reasons behind people quitting a fish oil supplementation schedule is the “fish oil burps.”
Fish burps are when the oily and smelly fish oil taste is burped back up after swallowing.
Much like you can burp up garlic and onion hours after consumption, fish oils can come back to haunt you.
Fortunately, there are a few products on the market that cut down on fish oil burps.
The best way, and the most effective is to consider taking the more expensive liquid fish oils mentioned in point two.
As Vitacost, a leading fish oil distributor writes:
“This may sound like the exact opposite of the advice you’d expect for preventing a fishy taste in your mouth, but liquid fish oils won’t repeat on you the way capsules do. Just be sure to brush your teeth after you take it to avoid any residual, lingering oil. Most liquid fish oils are flavored and don’t have a fishy taste.”
Another option is to take enteric-coated fish oil capsules.
The enteric coating is a natural coating that supplement makers coat over the gelatin capsule, so it doesn’t dissolve fully in your stomach, but in the intestines.
This coating helps to keep fish oil burps at a minimum because the fish oil can’t pass out of the intestines, into the stomach, and out of your mouth.
Bottom Line on Fish Oil?
Now that you know this information you need to be sure to take it into consideration before you buy your next batch of fish oil.
Beyond that, don’t stop taking fish oil.
The healthy omega 3 fats they deliver (when you select the right kind), serve to help fight dangerous inflammation and will help protect you from the ravages inflammation may cause.