Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the top four nutrient deficiencies in North America. As such, it should come as no surprise that omega-3 supplements are widely available in myriad forms, formats, and flavors to help counter widespread deficiency. While there are some amazing brands out there selling really stellar products, there are also some very mediocre formulas, which is why you’ll need to pay attention to labels when you’re comparing brands.
Fish oil comes in both natural and processed forms, unfortunately, however, processing affects the form of the fatty acids. This is important since certain forms of omega-3s are better absorbed than others. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids in whole fish are present as free fatty acids, phospholipids, and triglycerides, the latter of which is the form that’s most abundant in fish oil.
Processing fish oil, on the other hand, converts the triglycerides into ethyl esters (a type of oil not found in nature), which allows the concentration of DHA and EPA to be adjusted in the oil.
The ethyl esters produced in processed fish oil can, fortunately, be converted back into triglycerides – these are termed reformed triglycerides – because according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, EPA and DHA in the triglyceride form have been shown to be more effective at increasing omega-3 status than other forms.
Some of the best omega-3s on the market today include:
When selecting an omega-3 supplement, it’s important to opt for a product that has been the third party tested by a recognized program like PureCheck. All Ascenta Nutra Sea formulas are third-party tested to ensure potency, purity, and oxidation tests of each lot of product. This means, that not only are you getting an effective, and potent omega-3 blend, but you’re also getting one that is safe and guaranteed free of heavy metals, PCBs, and other potential contaminants. To find out more about PureCheck, visit www.purecheck.net.
Another highlight of the Nutra Sea brand of omega supplements is that the formulas feature a high dose of active ingredients, so provide a clinical dose of fatty acids; this is also why the brand tends to be a little on the expensive side.
Sea-licious is a supplement brand devoted exclusively to omega fatty acids. Sea-licious is a BC-based brand founded by a husband and wife team, one a nutritionist and, the other, a naturopathic physician. The Sea-licious brand features high-potency, high-quality fish oil sourced from small fish – sardines, anchovies, and mackerel – which is then flavored with innovative, all-natural fruit flavors and natural monk fruit. Sea-licious formulas are all available in liquid form in a dizzying array of delicious flavors from Tropical-Colada to Raspberry-Lemonade, to Tangerine Lime, and many others, and feature the natural triglyceride form of fatty acids for optimal absorption.
The Sea-licious brand also prides itself on being a 5-star IFOS-certified, excelling and exceeding in quality assurance, and thus guaranteeing the highest quality fish oil. In addition, Sea-licious formulas are gluten-free, Non-GMO compliant, certified contaminant-free, adulterant free, and sugar-free (monk fruit is used).
The Natural Factors RxOmega-3 line of omegas is touted as delivering pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 fatty acids in softgel form (no liquids). RxOmega-3 is made from a pure source of cold-water anchovy, sardine, and/or mackerel oils, which are natural sources of EPA and DHA, is molecularly distilled, and guarantees their products are pure and free from environmental pollutants, such as mercury, pesticides, dioxins, and PCBs. Natural Factors RxOmega-3 use Enteripure branded softgels that offer targeted delivery using a technology that embeds natural ingredients into the softgel casing to prevent them from breaking down in the stomach, ensuring no fishy aftertaste, or burps.
Another interesting attribute of this brand of omegas is that it offers regular strength omegas in mini-gels, as well as an extra-strength EPA/DHA blend, and a maximum triple strength formula that supplies a clinical dose of EFAs for those who need extra support.
We’ve saved the best for last…
If you’re looking for an omega supplement that ticks all of the boxes and won’t break the bank, Naturopathic Labs has got you covered. Indeed, Naturopathic Labs, a brand exclusive to National Nutrition, offers Clean Omega-3 Liquid which provides a therapeutic dose of concentrated EPA and DHA to help target specific health concerns. Clean Omega-3 contains a full 800mg of EPA and 500mg of DHA per dose in the more desirable triglyceride form, making it among the highest potency omega-3 supplements available on the market.
What’s more, Clean Omega-3 fish oil is molecularly distilled and purified, removing all traces of potential pollutants such as heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBs that can be present in fish sources. They are also 3rd party tested for added transparency and added peace of mind. Clean Omega-3 is conveniently offered in both capsules and a yummy lemon-meringue flavored liquid, both of which are reasonably priced and accessible to everyone.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.
Roos Jonsin is a Canadian naturopath and researcher dedicated to helping people live healthier lives through education about vitamins, herbs, and nutritional supplements. Roos also consults with suppliers and manufacturers with product development and marketing. National Nutrition is Canada’s leading health & nutritional supplements store, also voted as the Best Health Food Store in Canada by the experts at Canadian Health Food Association.
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