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4x things to look out for when buying omega 3 fish oil

Meanwhile, have you lost your way in the maze of all omega-3 supplements? We feel your struggle. With a plethora of choices on the market, it's often like trying to find a needle in a haystack. You want a good product, but what makes a high-quality omega-3 supplement?

What is omega 3?

Omega-3 is a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are essential nutrients that our bodies cannot make themselves, so we must get them from food. The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). ALA is found mainly in vegetable oils, while EPA and DHA are found mainly in fatty fish.

What is omega 3 good for?

Omega-3 fatty acids, especially so EPA and DHA, are for good for all kinds of things in our bodies:

  • DHA specifically helps maintain sharp vision and is an important building block for the brain.
  • DHA and EPA are good for blood pressure and support the heart.

Do you need an omega 3 supplement?

Determining whether you need an omega-3 supplement depends on several things. If you regularly eat oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring, you may already have enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Do you gag when you think of that slippery herring with onions or another (in your eyes) smelly fish? Or do you consciously choose not to eat fish? Then it is good to consider how to supplement your diet. It is good to pay attention to some points during this consideration and search for a high-quality fish oil.

Omega 3 supplement needed? 4 things to watch out for

1. Sustainably sourced with label

Sustainability is an increasingly important issue. So is the fish oil industry. Yet there are still many omega 3 producers who use whole sardines or anchovies. These fish are ground whole and will therefore never earn the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label. label. Did you know that it takes 30 anchovies to fill just one capsule? This is a huge amount of fish that could have otherwise been used for humans or animals. A shame, right?

Therefore, for true sustainability, it is important to stay away from the meal of marine animals and not harm the oceans, the environment and local people. A better option, therefore, is to use fillet-cut offal for fish oil after the fish have already been eaten by humans.

2. Clean fish oil 

Many fish for making fish oil are caught on the other side of the world, in the plastic soup in the Pacific Ocean between Asia and South America. Did you know that the Barents Sea between Nova Zembla, Spitsbergen and northern Norway is is one of the cleanest waters in the world is? Here swims mainly wild cod from which the trimmings are then used.

Yet almost all fish in the world contain some contamination. That is why it is important to testing for heavy metals, PCBs and dioxins.. Then this must be purified from the fish oil to obtain an extremely clean oil. Strict quality standards are important with a product like fish oil. For example, we have the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) system. This system ensures that products are of high quality and meet safety standards.

Clean, liquid fish oil then you also want it in a good package. Preferably in a glass bottle. That way you can be sure that no endocrine disruptors can get into the fish oil from the plastic.

3. Freshness

The freshness of an oil is also called the oxidation value. A high oxidation value is what you smell and taste and causes those annoying fishy burps. A fresh oil will never "belch up" with a fishy smell. The freshness of fish oil can be accurately measured in a laboratory, expressed as oxidation value or Totox value, which stands for Total Oxidation Value. The lower this value, the better.

Do you see a low Totox reading? That means very fresh oil. A low Totox value makes the fish oil taste softer, eliminating the need to add strong artificial flavors.

Totox value

Quality fish oil

5 or lower

Very fresh & best choice!

6 - 15

Average

16 - 25 

Less fresh

Omega-3 fatty acids are susceptible to post-production damage from exposure to air. Therefore, for low Totox levels, the supplementation of antioxidants such as tocopherol-rich extract, rosemary extract and ascorbyl palmitate (fat-soluble vitamin C) is desirable.

Don't see a Totox value on the product or website of your omega 3 supplement? Then you know enough.

4. Natural form: triglycerides!

It is good to check which form the fish oil contains. We know of two types:

  • Ethyl esters are unstable fats with several disadvantages such as reduced absorption, increased risk of oxidation and possibly a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste. Why are these used? Easy and cheaper.
  • The triglyceride form is the natural form as fats occur in nature (i.e. in fish). This form is easily absorbed by your body and is the most stable. So if quality is your priority, this is a good choice.

What omega 3 do you need?

Now you know what points to look out for when buying fish oil. Do you prefer a capsule or a liquid fish oil for the whole family? Or do you go for algae oil instead? Below is an overview of the different omega 3 supplements.

Omega 3 supplements

Our #1 capsule recommendation

Fish oil (large capsules)

Our #1 liquid fish oil recommendation

Fish oil liquid orange flavor (liquid)

Algae oil (small capsules)

Algae oil liquid

Specifications

1 capsule contains:

550 mg of DHA

275 mg EPA

1 teaspoon (5 ml) contains:

450mg DHA

380 mg EPA

1 capsule contains:

250 mg DHA

1 teaspoon (2.5 ml) contains:

990 mg of DHA 

340 mg EPA

Which one suits you best?

Highly dosed

Tocopherols protect sensitive fatty acids from oxidation

Ease of use of capsules

Highly dosed

Natural rosemary extract protects sensitive fatty acids from oxidation

Easy swallowing due to liquid form with a fine taste

Vegan or vegetarian lifestyle

Natural rosemary extract protects sensitive fatty acids from oxidation

Ease of use of capsules

Vegan or vegetarian lifestyle

Natural rosemary extract protects sensitive fatty acids from oxidation

Easy swallowing

In conclusion

Do you eat little or no oily fish per week? Then an omega 3 supplement might be for you. Your body is not getting what it needs. It is then important to choose a good quality supplement, where durability, freshness and control of contamination are paramount. With this knowledge, it will save you a lot of time figuring out which omega 3 supplement to choose. What is important to you? The choice is yours!