If you’ve ever gone on search of a fish oil supplement, you may have found yourself overwhelmed by all the different brands. What makes one better than the other? And why is the price range for these supplements so large? When shopping for a reliable brand, use these three guidelines to increase your chances at finding the most reliable one:
1) EPA & DHA
EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids, meaning they can’t be produced by the body in sufficient quantities and, therefore, must be supplied through our diet. When you look at the nutrition label on a bottle of fish oils, you want to make sure that most of the fish oils consist of EPA and DHA. There may be a big $5.00 bottle of “1000 mg” fish oil tablets, but only 100 mg of it may be EPA and 200 mg of DHA. The next time you go shopping for fish oils, search for the highest amount EPA & DHA per dollar.
2) The Fish
Fish oils come from fish and the kind of fish that these oils are derived from should be considered. There are many types of fish that provide a significant amount of fish oils: tuna, salmon, cod, shark, halibut, anchovies, flounder, sardines, etc. The smaller the fish used in the fish oils, the less likely the product is to contain any traces of mercury, lead or other heavy metals that can be harmful for your body. But, not all labels tell you the source of fish. Look for a statement on the label that states the product has been purified to remove mercury, PCB’s and dioxins to levels below what’s considered safe. Even better if the purification process is defined.
You can also look for the USP verification symbol on a supplement to ensure that is has fulfilled the criteria of the Dietary Supplement Verification Program. The symbol will indicate that your product contains the correct amount of ingredients as stated on the label, is free of harmful contaminants, will be able to break down and digest easily, and has been manufactured in good practices according to FDA regulations. You can read more on USP verification here.