Why are soft gels becoming an increasingly archaic way to fulfill your body's necessity for omega-3? As the category expands, consumers are faced with many omega-3 supplement options. Do I go with a pump or a pill? How much should I take? Where should my fish oil be sourced? Let's get into the detail to answer your common questions and bust a couple fish oil 'myths'.
Mistake #1: You're taking soft gels
Soft gels are oxygen permeable. Let's break down.
As you break the seal on your freshly bought month's supply of fish oil capsules, you open your soft gels to oil rancidity. Oxidation occurs when your pills meet the outside air regardless of your tightly screwed on cap in between doses. Unless you have a nitrogen flush system in your bathroom, your soft gels are ruined. Recent studies have proven oxidized fish oil can actually lead to negative health benefits. Great.
And it continues... the dreaded, disgusting fish burbs. Yup, you know the smell. The problem with your fish oil burbs are because of the form your ingesting, oil. Your soft gels are oil state and your body hates it burps it up.
And we're not done. Your soft gels have limited bioavailability due to the oil state. The term bioavailability refers to our body’s ability to absorb a particular nutrient or medicine into our body. While many of us may think that we absorb all of what we eat or all of what medicines we take, this could be further from what happens. While we tend to absorb fat, carbohydrate and protein fairly well, some medicines we consume are only absorbed at around 20%. You're better off taking a fish oil already combined with fat.
Mistake #2: You're not taking enough
Leading dietary and cardiovascular health organizations issued intake recommendations for seafood/fish and marine-derived long chain fatty acids. Notably, the FDA approved up to 3000 mg/day of EPA plus DHA from food and supplements as safe for the general population.
So, are you taking 3000mg? Probably not..
Long chain fatty acids derived from marine animals are a proven staple on our diet for decreased inflammation in our bodies as well as many other greater health benefits for your heart and brain. Most leading brands regardless of the state, average about 800mg per serving.. basically, not enough!
To add to that you aren't even absorbing all the oil in your soft gels.. absorbing much less than the amount on your bottle. It may be time to change up your fish oil ways.
Mistake #3: You're skimping on quality
But wait, there's even more. Given your still sold on your soft gels- do you know where your fish are sourced from? Let's cue you in the fish food chain.
The whole DHA vs. EPA rigamarole. Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid, commonly known as DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. ... The DHA gets passed along the food chain, all the way up to the biggest fish.
You generally need more DHA than EPA but take caution in generic soft gel brands. Recent studies have found that many lower-priced and generic fish oil supplements contain hydrogenated, or poor-quality oils, pesticide residues, mercurial particulates, and in some cases, toxic synthetic ingredients. So, the bigger the fish, the bigger the risk.
Best case scenario, you want your oil to be sourced from mid-tier fish as well as from toxicity free waters. Environmental issues will float up the food chain, so purity is very powerful and important.
To sum it up, there are many omega-3 options available, however be careful as to what form you think benefits you best.
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