Pure Fish Oil
It is sometimes confusing when shopping for omega 3 supplements. Listed ingredients may be pure fish oil, fish oil concentrate, pharmaceutical grade fish oil or some variation of these. Doctors and scientists agree that the best omega 3 supplements will contain both DHA and EPA fatty acids, and DHA being especially important since the brain is comprised of 60% fats and approximately half of that is DHA.
The fish containing the highest amounts of omega 3 fatty acids are the fatty fish types (such as salmon, herring). Pure fish oil from these sources will provide the most complete omega 3s. Many supplement companies list the source of their fish oil, either on the package or on their website.
A fish oil concentrate simply means that most of the liquid has been removed from the product to reduce its volume. This is helpful because instead of taking several spoonfuls of oil (sometimes hard to swallow and distastful), you can take a single capsule or two. Products listing fish oil concentrate as its main ingredient should be just as effective as other products, but you may want to clarify the source of the fish and the omega 3 concentration.
Pharmaceutical grade fish oil is fish oil that has been filtered and purified to remove unwanted chemicals or by-products. So called pure fish oil should mean the same thing, but since some companies can use a verbal sleight of hand, it’s best to make sure you only buy from companies that unequivocally state their product is “pharmaceutcal grade fish oil”. Check the label or with the supplement company if you have a question about this.
The health benefits of fish and the omega 3 fatty acids that they contain are many. Omega 3s are essential to brain function and have been shown to improve memory and may be helpful in treating conditions like depression and attention deficit disorder. Research suggests that diets rich in omega 3s may help prevent heart disease and even show promise for certain types of cancer. Dr. Barry Sears, whose Zone Diet books focus on the importance of balanced insulin levels, recommends a pure fish oil supplement even if you eat fish three to five times per week.
The importance of both DHA and EPA omega 3 fatty acids is not completely understood, but in studies of the effects of omega 3s on conditions like depression, when only one or the other was used, little improvement was seen. When both were used, the results were apparent in as little as two weeks and even more improvement was noted after four to six weeks. Supplements of pure fish oil or fish oil concentrate may improve not only your health, but your mood as well.
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