There are two families of EFAs: omega-3 and omega-6, and each has different biological effects. Generally speaking, omega-6s promote inflammation, increase blood clotting, and depress the immune system, while omega-3s support healthy inflammatory levels, normal circulation, and immunity.* To keep these biological effects in balance and maintain health, omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs need to be consumed in a balanced ratio.
The problem is that the modern Western diet has dramatically upset this crucial balance— we consume too much omega-6 from refined vegetable oils, processed foods, and meat, and too little omega-3. Research suggests that this imbalanced intake of EFAs is a contributing factor to many chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, as well as those that affect joint function, mood, and immunity.*
DIET IS NOT ENOUGH
Because of the imbalanced EFA ratio in even the healthiest Western diets, supplementation is the best way to bring our EFA intake back into balance. Research shows that a high-quality, purified fish oil supplement is the best source of the most important omega-3s that we’re missing: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
HOW DO I CHOOSE A FISH OIL SUPPLEMENT?
There is a wide range of quality among fish oil supplements. By using the following categories as a guide, you can be assured that you have chosen a high-quality fish oil supplement.
purified of contaminants like mercury, lead, dioxins, and PCBs
minimized oxidation throughout processing
a product without fishy smell or taste ensures freshness
natural molecular form for proven increased absorption and results
guarantees quality, freshness, and overall safety of the product
responsible fishing and manufacturing protect land and sea
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
International experts recommend:
500 mg EPA+DHA to avoid deficiency
1 g EPA+DHA for proactive support
2–4 g EPA+DHA for high-intensity support
Look For EPA and DHA Levels
Make sure to read the supplement facts to know how much EPA+DHA you are getting. A 1000 mg fish oil soft gel refers only to the size of the soft gel, not the levels of EPA+DHA.
WHAT IS EPA?
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is an omega-3 essential fatty acid found in fish and fish oil. Although EPA and DHA work together in the body, research shows that each fatty acid has unique benefits.
n heart health*
n immune function*
n joint function*
n mood health*
n healthy inflammatory levels*
Research shows that omega-3 fish oil reduces triglycerides, supports healthy blood pressure, promotes circulation, and facilitates healthy inflammatory levels.* The evidence is so strong that the American Heart Association recommends that people with heart disease consume a minimum of 1 gram of combined EPA+DHA per day, and those with high triglycerides consume 2–4 grams per day.
Arthritis & Joint Health
Within joint and muscle tissue, EPA naturally supports healthy inflammatory levels.* While clinical studies have shown that duration of supplementation varies among people before they experience the benefits of fish oil, it is proven effective, with virtually no adverse effects.* Original research using fish oil showed that it reduced joint pain to such an extent that over 60% of the people treated were able to stop using conventional therapies.* Experts recommend beginning with about 2–4 grams daily of EPA+DHA, and later reducing the dose for maintenance support.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
WHAT IS DHA?
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 essential fatty acid found in fish and fish oil. Although DHA and EPA work together in the body, research shows that each fatty acid has unique benefits.
n learning and memory*
n positive mood*
n healthy infant and child development*
n eye health and function*
n healthy pregnancy and lactation*
n normal brain and nerve cell function*
DHA is essential to brain function throughout life— increasing membrane fluidity and neurotransmitter activity, and supporting memory and learning.* Research indicates that people who consume more DHA over their lifetime have better cognitive function as they age, and low intake of DHA has been linked to cognitive decline.*
Mood & Mental Health
Fish oil has been shown to support mental health, as omega-3 fats are heavily concentrated in the brain. DHA, for example, comprises approximately 20% of the fatty acids in the brain’s cerebral cortex. Because essential fatty acids are available only through the diet, sufficient consumption is required to maintain normal levels.*
Pregnancy & Lactation
DHA is essential for the development of the brain and eyes, as well as the nervous and immune systems during pregnancy and the first years of life.* But experts advise women to limit fish intake during this time, precisely when the need for DHA is the highest. A high-quality, purified fish oil supplement is the ideal solution—providing DHA with a reduced risk of toxins like mercury.* Research shows that moms who take omega-3 fish oil have healthy deliveries and maintain a positive mood after giving birth.* Plus, their children have healthier immune systems and perform better on a variety of tests.*
WHAT IS GLA?
Western diets typically contain too little omega-3 and too much omega-6—with one exception: GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). GLA is a uniquely beneficial type of omega-6 found in borage and evening primrose oils. Research shows that the benefits of GLA increase when it is taken with EPA and DHA.
n joint health and function*
n general skin health*
n the body’s response to inflammatory skin conditions*
n women’s reproductive health*
n hormonal balance*
n learning and cognition in children*
Learning & Focus
Fish oil combined with GLA is beneficial for behavior, focus, and learning.* Supplementing with fish oil plus GLA has been shown to help children by supporting brain and visual function, and a healthy nervous system.*
WHAT DO EFAS HELP WITH?
Heart Health* Cognition*
Joint Health* Longevity*
Inflammation* Blood Sugar*
Respiratory Health* Body Composition*
Immune Function* Attention & Focus*
Pregnancy* Eye Health*
Postnatal Health* Vision*
Infant Development* Prostate Health*
Language* Colon Health*
Learning* Bone Health*
For omega-3 research, visit: Omega-Research.com
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
How much do I need?
International experts recommend a minimum daily intake of 500 mg of EPA+DHA or eating fish twice a week to support optimal health.* However, people with specific health concerns, and those who are currently deficient, often require a minimum of 2–4 grams of EPA+DHA a day.* Satisfying these intakes through diet is difficult due to the risk of environmental toxins in fish. Research shows that a purified, high-quality fish oil supplement is the healthiest and most reliable source of EPA and DHA.
Can fish oil and GLA be taken with other supplements?
Yes. Purified fish oil and GLA have excellent safety profiles, are well tolerated, and are safe to use every day.*
How long before I see results?
It depends on your nutritional status, the amount of fish oil you take, and your particular health concerns. Some people feel results within a few days, and for others it takes a few weeks.* Your nutritional state will improve right away, but it may take a few weeks to feel a change in your body. Be sure to supplement consistently, as daily supplementation will yield quicker results.*
What’s the difference between flax and fish oil?
Flax contains the plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. Fish oil contains the marine-based omega-3s EPA and DHA. The scientific consensus is strongest for the health benefits of EPA and DHA. While it was once thought that humans could convert the plant-based ALA into EPA and DHA, current research shows that such conversion is unreliable—just 1–5% in most people.
Does fish oil threaten the health of the oceans?
Generally no. The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) estimates that approximately 90% of the fish oil on the market comes from one of the most well-managed fisheries in the world. But some fish oil products are more sustainable than others—any environmentally responsible fish oil manufacturer will provide information about their sourcing.
Will EFAs interfere with my medical condition or medications?
Generally no. EFAs are very safe and, in fact, have been shown to support the effectiveness of other medications. But it is recommended to check with your health care practitioner if you are taking blood thinning medications or anticipating surgery.
Will I experience any adverse effects?
Generally no. Rarely, people report mild stomach upset or loose stools, but this goes away with time, and typically diminishes if EFAs are consumed with food. The purer and fresher the product, the less likely one will experience such digestive symptoms.*
What’s the difference between cod liver oil and fish oil?
Cod liver oil is extracted from cod livers, whereas fish oil is extracted from the body flesh of fish. While both are excellent sources of the omega-3s EPA and DHA, they provide different ratios—cod liver oil generally contains about 9% EPA and 14% DHA, whereas fish body oil generally contains about 18% EPA and 12% DHA. Cod liver oil also naturally contains vitamins A and D.
What should I look for when choosing a fish oil supplement?
To avoid fishy taste and burps, and to reduce the risk of free radicals and environmental toxins that bioaccumulate in fish, choose a product that is third-party tested for purity and freshness. Only third-party analysis can verify the quality of a fish oil supplement. Choosing a fish oil that is produced in the triglyceride form can also ensure optimal absorption of omega-3s, and, thus, effectiveness.
Some fish oils say they are in the natural triglyceride form, and others in the ethyl ester form. What is the difference?
Many concentrated fish oils on the market today are in the ethyl ester form—a “new to nature” fat with only a few decades in the human diet. Validating many years of data, a 2014 study confirms that triglyceride-form fish oil is 47% more effective than ethyl ester fish oil and 382% more effective than krill oil.*
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