Heart and Circulation

Which fish oil should you take?

Fish oil is a popular supplement commonly consumed due to its benefits in improving heart health, reducing inflammation, eye health, and brain development. Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, mainly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). With the abundance of fish oil in the market varying in brands, sources, and quality, sometimes selecting the perfect fish oil for you can be a daunting task. Here are simple tips that might help you make the right choice:

  1. Read the labels
Before making any purchase, make sure to always read the labels, especially when it comes to products that are being ingested into your body. All food items and supplements are required by the local authorities to come with nutrition information or dosage and their ingredients so that consumers can make informed decisions. When it comes to choosing fish oil, this is especially important. Fish oil contains not only omega-3 fatty acids but also other components such as fish fats. Check the contents of the total EPA and DHA rather than the fish oil itself, as most common fish oil in the market contains only a total of 300mg EPA and DHA, or about 30% of the fish oil. The remainder is usually made up of fish triglycerides, which might not be suitable for those with elevated blood lipids. High-strength fish oil on the other hand contains higher doses and a percentage of omega-3 in each capsule. For example, Aspen VaSoins contain a total of 900mg of EPA and DHA in a capsule, with 75% concentration, which makes it easier to consume therapeutic doses of omega-3. In addition, check if your fish oil is free from harmful contaminants. A good quality fish hhoil is usually distilled and processed to remove dioxins, mercury, and other pollutants.  

  1. Know your needs
Every individual is different and has their own unique needs. An elderly person with heart conditions will not have the same health status and nutritional requirements as a young teen. A person suffering from conditions such as eczema might be able to feel the effect of omega-3 more visibly, compared to others without similar issues. Many research and clinical studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help to improve heart health by decreasing triglycerides, slowing the growth of atherosclerotic plaques, lowering blood pressure, and inhibiting inflammation. Hence, while regular fish oil is normally good enough for the healthy population who just want to maintain their well-being, those with certain conditions may benefit more from taking higher doses of omega-3. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends taking these dosages for different types of conditions;

Profile of Patient Recommended Dosage per day
High triglycerides 2-4g EPA+DHA (Omega 3)
Documented cardiovascular disease 1g EPA+DHA (Omega 3)
Prevention of heart disease 0.5g EPA+DHA (Omega 3)

  1. Keep track of your budget
We understand that during these tough times, for some people supplements become a luxury. You can always get your daily nutrients from natural food, but scarcity of certain food sources can be an issue, depending on your lifestyle and geographical location. Olive oil, nuts, and salmon might be abundant in regions where the Mediterranean diet is the staple, but they can be pricey in Malaysia. Or, if you’re a student living in dorms, cooking or storing fresh food items may not be an option. In some cases, taking a capsule of fish oil can be more convenient and sometimes cheaper.

However, don’t just quickly grab for the cheapest option. Again, read the labels and choose the most suitable option for you or your loved one, and only then you can make the price comparison. On the other hand, highest price doesn’t necessarily give you the highest value. Select a brand that fits your needs, and if you have an extra budget to spend, you can always allocate it for better use.  

In conclusion, consumers are always recommended to do their research before making any purchase, especially when it involves their well-being. There are plenty of online resources available, so make sure you are getting your information from the right place. Consult your healthcare professionals before taking any supplements, as some supplements may interact with medications.
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