Fish oils are well known as a valuable treatment option for many conditions, including arthritis, cardiovascular health and cognitive function. But with so many varieties on the market, does it matter which one you take? The short answer is yes.
When purchasing fish oil it is extremely important to pay close attention to the quality, as well as the dose and the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. These factors can greatly influence the effectiveness of the fish oil.
The first thing to know is not all omega-3s have the same health benefits. When selecting a fish oil supplement, you are looking for the DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) components – it is these types of omega-3 that have been shown to have the incredible health benefits.
Research suggests that to reduce the joint inflamation associated with arthritis, you need 2.7g of omega-3 (EPA/DHA) daily so the amount of omega-3 in a single dose of fish oil is important to consider.
As well as the strength of the fish oil, purity is important. Due to the contamination of our oceans and water-ways, fish oil can contain all sorts of nasties, such as heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals. The highest-purity fish oils undergo a process called ‘molecular distillation’. This is an advanced process that extracts only the oil from the fish – under low temperatures to maintain the quality – and leaves behind any contaminants, ensuring purity, batch consistency and efficacy.
You also want to choose a fish oil that is highly stable. Fish oils are easily damaged by light, heat and exposure to oxygen. Oxidation damages fish oil just like iron rusts when exposed to air and this oxidation may lead to rancid oil. To ensure fish oil is not oxidised, specific manufacturing processes such as nitrogen flushing must be used.
There are products available in Australia of high quality and stability. Most pharmacies and health food stores, or your healthcare professional, will be able to help you choose the right fish oil supplement for you.
For more information on the Ethical Nutrients range visit www.ethicalnutrients.com.au