How much Fish Oil are you really taking? Read the label!As an Integrative and Functional medicine physician, I frequently recommend omega-3 fatty acids to my patients for a variety of reasons. Omega-3 fatty acids:
- have potent anti-inflammatory benefits
- are important components of cell membranes
- help to maintain heart, brain and nervous system health
Omega-3 fatty acids are backed by volumes of research indicating their value in reducing risk of conditions such as:
- heart attack and stroke
- autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis
- certain forms of cancer
All omega-3 fatty acid supplements are not created equal!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FISH OIL:
- EPA and DHA are the active omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil
- When taking fish oil, the amount of EPA and DHA is what is most important, not total omega-3 fatty acids or total fish oil content.
- The amount of EPA and DHA varies widely in different products.
- Fish oil labels can be very deceiving.
- The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements, so you need to know how to read labels!
HOW TO READ YOUR FISH OIL LABEL:
Look at the Serving Size.
How much of your product is considered a serving?
How much EPA and DHA is in each serving?
- Remember, EPA and DHA are active omega-3 fatty acids, the rest of the omega-3 content is inactive.
- Calculate how many servings you need to take to get your doctor’s recommended dose of EPA and DHA.
Take a look at this example:
These two fish oil labels both contain 1000mg of fish oil, yet their EPA and DHA content is very different.
Product #1 contains 330mg of EPA and 250mg of DHA per serving (1 soft gel). Total EPA+DHA 580mg per serving.
Product #2 contains 250mg EPA+DHA per serving (1 soft gel). It does not specify amounts of each.
If your doctor was recommending 1000mg daily EPA+DHA, you would have to take:
- 2 tabs of Product #1
- 4 tabs of Product #2
Take a look at this label. This product does not even specify EPA and DHA content:
IF A PRODUCT DOESN'T SPECIFY EPA AND DHA CONTENT, DON'T BUY IT!
Are you getting enough omega-3 fats in your diet? Could you benefit from more? We can test your blood omega-3 fats through an essential fatty acid panel. I also make individual recommendations for fish oil supplementation for patients based upon symptoms and chronic conditions. Contact our office for more information or to book an appointment! 231-638-5585.