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Whatever your reason is for getting them, it’s good to know how to choose fish oil supplements.
That way, you can get your money’s worth. Besides this, you can learn how much you need to take. And all the benefits of taking fish oil supplements too.
Ready to get started on this fishy subject?
Table Of Contents:
- What Is Fish Oil Actually?
- Types Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Benefits Of Taking Fish Oil Supplements
- How To Choose The Best Fish Oil Supplements
What Is Fish Oil Actually?
It’s plain from the name that fish oil comes from fish. Fish tissue, to be exact. In contrast, the skin, scales and bones are common sources for the best collagen drinks in Malaysia!
Fish oil is usually from ocean fish like tuna, mackerel and anchovies. These fish are natural sources of highly beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
What Is TG Fish Oil?
You might see some fish oil brands advertising that they use TG fish oil for their supplements.
The triglyceride (TG) form of fish oil is supposedly better for absorption in the body compared to ethyl esters. Which is another form of fish oil.
However, both forms are available and none of them are proven to be significantly advantageous over the other.
Why Do You Need Fish Oil Supplements?
However, these types of fish (ocean fish) tend to be expensive in Malaysia. So this is where fish oil supplements come into the picture!
Because the human body does not naturally produce omega-3 fatty acids!
Whether or not you need it is a different story. Foods such as fishes are still the best source of Omega-3. Unless your doctor recommends that you start taking fish oil supplements.
If you are healthy, the possible benefits have yet to be confirmed by research studies. But if you don’t eat fish, fish oil supplements are a good substitute *(3).
Types Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In particular, these are the main types of omega-3 fatty acids you need:
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)
Where the first two can be obtained from eating fish, ALA is from plants.
Benefits Of Taking Fish Oil Supplements
But how exactly are fish oil supplements good for you?
Here are just a few of the possible benefits *(4):
- Healthy heart, brain and eye function
- Helps with reducing the symptoms of joint inflammation or arthritis
- Certain mental disorders (e.g. bipolar disorder) may see an improvement in symptoms
- Like whey protein, fish oil can contribute to weight loss
- Beautiful skin
- Early fetus growth (If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, bird nest drinks are great for both mum and baby’s health too!)
Note: Research only suggests these benefits but have yet to confirm them. Do not ever take fish oil supplements as a replacement for your normal medications. Unless instructed by your doctor.
Those who have/are at risk of heart diseases or omega-3 deficiency are most likely to benefit *(5) from fish oil.
How To Choose The Best Fish Oil Supplements
It’s important to avoid products with unnecessary fillers. And other ingredients that may be artificial.
On the other hand, there may be other vitamins added. Like vitamin A or D.
2. Proof Of Quality
For the ultimate confidence that the product matches the label:
Buy fish oil supplements that carry certification by independent organizations like IFOS, TGA, USP, NSF International or even Malaysia’s Ministry of Health!
These third parties typically test for concentration and freshness of the product.
3. Expiration Date
Of course, this is one other thing you need to pay extra attention too! Fish oil can go rancid!
4. Available Forms
Fish oil supplements are sold in capsules, softgels or liquids. There may be fish oil supplements in the form of gummies too.
5. What Is The Main Source Of The Fish Oil?
This is important because certain species of fish may contain higher levels of mercury. Fish like catfish or southern blue fin tuna, for instance.
Sardines and anchovies are safe bets if you want to avoid consuming mercury.
6. Recommended Dosage
Note that the combined amount of EPA or DHA should be much more than ALA.
In general, the daily recommended dose for EPA and DHA (combined) is roughly between 250 to 500mg. Which is about the same dose you get if you eat ocean fish 2-3 times a week.
For children, the daily amount starts from 40mg (aged 2 and up) to 125mg (teenagers).
And when it comes to ALA, women only need 1.1g per day while men require more (1.6g).
The best time to take your dose is with a meal. This increases its absorption into the body *(6)!
It is always best to follow your healthcare professional’s advice on how many capsules to take.
Don’t ever take more than you need! Fish oil is not as forgiving as vitamin C! Overdosage can increase your risk of bleeding (and stroke) and affect your immunity *(7).
Common side effects include upset stomach, nausea, acid reflux and indigestion *(8).
If you experience such side effects, try taking your supplement after a meal instead of before! Or splitting the dose and taking it twice a day instead of once *(9).
There is risk of an allergic reaction too. So do not take fish oil if you have a severe seafood allergy. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience hives, swelling of lips and face and difficulty in breathing after consumption.
Other extremely important things to note *(10):
- Fish oil supplements can be dangerous if you are currently on blood thinners.
- Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting on fish oil supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Or currently taking any medications or supplements.
Knowing how to choose fish oil supplements is better than buying them blindly off a shelf. Now you know the benefits of fish oil supplements.
As well as advisable dosage and the potential side effects of overdosage.
Need more help in picking a brand? See our list of recommended fish oil supplements.
- 1, 8 and 10 – https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/news/20190205/fish-oil-supplements-a-fish-tale-or-a-good-catch
- 2 and 7 – https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-fish-oil/art-20364810
- 3, 4 and 5 – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-fish-oil
- 6 and 9 – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-time-to-take-fish-oil