If you’re looking for the best fish oil supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Fish Oil Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Fish Oil Supplements
|#1||Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil Softgels||More Info|
|#2||MuscleTech Platinum 100% Fish Oil||More Info|
|#3||MusclePharm Fish Oil||More Info|
|#4||Betancourt Nutrition Omega-3 EFA-Stack||More Info|
|#5||MRM Smart Blend||More Info|
|#6||BSN Fish Oil DNA||More Info|
|#7||NOW Ultra Omega-3||More Info|
|#8||Universal Nutrition Animal Omega||More Info|
|#9||Controlled Labs Orange OxiMega Fish Oil||More Info|
|#10||Source Naturals ArcticPure Ultra Potency Omega-3 Fish Oil||More Info|
Most people are aware that eating fish is healthy. You hear it from doctors, dieticians, TV, and online. The problem is, not everyone enjoys fish, and even those who do enjoy it can find the price tag or the effort it requires to cook it a barrier to enjoying it as frequently as the doctor says they should
. One option to get the nutritional benefits of fish without having to eat fish every day is to take a fish oil supplement. To help you decide if taking fish oil supplements is the right choice for your health, below are facts on what is a fish oil supplement, what are the benefits and side effects of taking fish oil supplements, how to take them, and what to look for in a good fish oil supplement.
What Is Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements are exactly as they sound—they are a natural supplement derived from fish ingredients. As WebMD points out, the main draw when considering fish oil supplements are that these supplements are high in omega-3 fatty acids (http://www.webmd.com/diet/omega-3s-in-fish-oil-and-supplements-whats-your-best-strategy#1). Although our bodies need omega-3s, they cannot produce this fatty acid on their own, which is why it has to come from our diets. The problem is, most individuals aren’t getting enough omega-3s from food, which means they have to supplement with fish oil capsules.
Even though it can be healthier to meet their nutritional needs for omega-3 fatty acids through dietary sources, for many people it can be inconvenient and costly—not to mention unpleasant—to change up their diets. Fish oil supplements can be a viable alternative to meet that nutritional gap without having to overhaul your diet and force yourself to eat foods you don’t enjoy.
Benefits of Fish Oil
As mentioned before, one benefit of fish oil supplements is the ability to meet your nutritional needs without having to go through the expense, trouble, and distaste of cooking fish. But the benefits of this supplement aren’t limited to the convenience factor. In fact, according to WebMD, fish oil supplements have a number of physical and mental health benefits (http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-993-fish%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=993).
One of the most well-known health benefits of fish oil supplements are the benefits to the heart and circulatory system. Fish oil helps prevent heart disease and blood clots, lower blood pressure and triglycerides, slow down plaque buildup in the arteries, and reduce your risks of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil also benefit your brain both mentally and physically. Physically, it supports proper brain development and promotes healthy brain function. Mentally, research suggests that fish oil supplements also can ease symptoms of certain mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder as well as delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Research is also emerging to suggest that fish oil can alleviate a host of other conditions such as arthritis, immune disorders, skin conditions, diabetes, and even migraines. As you can see, although they are small, fish oil supplements fill a crucial dietary need and can alleviate many health conditions and outright prevent others.
Are There any Side Effects?
Since fish oil is a more natural supplement, side effects when taken at normal doses are rare. According to NPS, the most common side effect is a fishy aftertaste (http://www.nps.org.au/medicines/complementary-medicines/for-individuals/fish-oil-supplements/for-individuals/side-effects). This unpleasant effect can be mitigated by taking fish oil supplements with food or storing the capsules in the freezer.
Another potential negative side effect of fish oil is the possibility of an allergic reaction. Keep in mind that fish oil supplements contain real fish ingredients, so if you have any allergies to seafood, consult your doctor and tread carefully with these supplements. Similarly, although fish oil is generally safe and although reputable makers screen for toxins such as mercury, less reputable brands can be lax about the purity of their supplements. To reduce that risk, only purchase from reputable brands.
Other minor side effects include heartburn, rash, nausea, and intestinal complaints. The only major side effects come from consistently taking more than the recommended dosage. Such high doses can raise your cholesterol, and slow down your platelets’ ability to stick together, which mean your blood takes longer to clot and increases your risk of conditions such as stomach bleeding. This effect is exacerbated if you take blood-thinning medications such as aspirin.
The bottom line: Don’t exceed the recommended dosage and consult your medical practitioner to make sure that fish oil supplements are safe for you given your medical history and your prescription medications.
How to Take Fish Oil Supplements
Most doctors agree that the average person can safely take up to 3 grams of fish oil a day in order to take advantage of all of the health benefits associated with this supplement, and the most common dosage is between 2 and 3 grams.
Health issues start to emerge when individuals exceed 3 grams. If you aren’t seeing any health improvements with 3 grams and think you need a higher dose, always discuss it with your doctor first. The cause of the plateau could be as simple as needing to change brands.
Another important factor when taking fish oil supplements is the timing. To reduce some of the unpleasant side effects like fishy breath and nausea, you can take your fish oil capsule with a meal. Freezing can also make it gentler on your stomach, though you should check the label first to make sure the brand you have purchased is freezer-safe.
What to Look for in a Good Fish Oil Supplement
Now that you know you should be taking between 2 and 3 grams of fish oil a day, you might think that your only duty is to go to the store, find a bottle of 2- or 3-gram capsules, and purchase it. The truth is, finding the right fish oil isn’t so simple. According to USA News, there are a few factors that should go into your search (http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/02/04/how-to-choose-a-fish-oil-supplement).
One of the first things you should consider is the amount of omega-3 fatty acids each capsule contains. 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 is equivalent to 1 gram, so if a serving size of up to 3 grams of fish oil doesn’t give you as much omega-3 fatty acids as you need, you should try to find a supplement that has a higher ratio of omega-3 per serving. Speaking of omega-3, this fatty acid won’t show up as “omega-3” on the label. Instead, you will see the types of omega-3s that the supplement contains. Omega-3s that come from fish will show as EPA, DHA, or both, while vegetarian omega-3s which come from flax seeds will show as ALA.
Finally, you will want to do a bit of research, because the most important thing to look for in a fish oil supplement is a reputable company. Though by and large, these supplements are safe and screen carefully for contaminants, you don’t want to risk your health by putting your trust in a disreputable product.
To conclude, fish oil supplements are a cheaper and quicker way to get the main health benefits of fish without actually having to eat seafood. Fish oil supplements have a number of physical and mental health benefits such as fueling your brain, promoting heart health, and alleviating symptoms of depression.
However, there can be a downside if you are not careful. Staying within the recommended guidelines can give you a case of fish breath, but exceeding the recommended dosage can have drastic consequences for your health. To safely incorporate fish oil into your lifestyle, stay within the guidelines and select a reputable distributor so that you can take advantage of all the health benefits these supplements have to offer.