Supplements for Health

How To Compare Omega-3 Products

September 22, 2021

Polyunsaturated fats, also known as omega-3 fats, are the “good fat” found in some fish and other plants. Our bodies cannot produce omega-3 fatty acid, so we need to get them from food or supplements.

Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acid in our diets:

  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) are omega-3 fats. They are present in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring. Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA) is present in plant foods, mainly seed and nut oils, such as walnuts, flaxseed, and canola.

Salmon is the most commonly consumed fatty fish, but anchovies and mackerel are high in omega-3. Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 is a combination of wild-caught anchovy and mackerel oils. Cod and krill are also common.

Look For Products High in EPA and DHA

Studies have also shown that humans are not efficient in converting ALA to EPA or DHA. One study found that increasing ALA intake to 10 times the average U.S. intake resulted in small increases in blood levels for EPA and DHA.

American Heart Association (AHA), recommends that we eat fish, especially fatty fish, at minimum two times per week. Averaging 500 mg (mg) of EPA or DHA per day, two to three meals a week (approximately 8 ounces) is the recommended daily intake for fatty fish. This lowers your risk of developing heart disease.

According to the AHA, people with coronary heart disease (CHD), should consume approximately 1 gram (11,000 mg) of EPA+DHA daily. This is preferably by eating fish (which means that you should eat fatty fish four-to five times per week), or in supplement form. Patients with a need to lower their triglycerides may need between 2 and 4 grams of EPA+DHA daily.

Research also shows that omega-3 fatty acid may be beneficial in treating depression, inflammatory bowel diseases, and autoimmune diseases such as Lupus and Rheumatoid.

Compare Omega-3 Products and Labels

There are many Omega-3 fatty acids products on supermarket shelves, discount clubs, and health food stores. To be able to compare products “apples-to-apples”, you need to examine the back of each bottle and see the supplement facts section. Add up the amounts of EPA or DHA in each serving. Here’s an example of the supplement facts panel for Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3.

American seafood consumption averages about one serving every 11 days. If you fall into this category, make a conscious commitment to eat at least one serving of fatty seafood per week. A sandwich of albacore tuna at lunch, a beautifully grilled piece salmon for dinner or a snack of sardines with tomato sauce atop a few saltine crackers is all great ways to include omega-3 EPA/DHA in your diet. Omega-3 supplements can be a great way of enhancing healthy eating habits.