Omega 3 Fatty Acid Sources
Omega 3 fatty acid sources are easy to find. Choosing between them is a little harder. Here’s what you need to know to make the best choice for omega 3s.
Science has proven – over and over again – that fatty fish are nature’s richest source of omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains the fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are the components the body uses to maintain healthy heart function, eye and brain development and healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
EPA and DHA have may help to decrease the pain and inflammation of arthritis and overused joints. And, the latest research has even suggested that omega 3 fatty acids may assist with weight loss.
So now that we’ve established fatty fish like salmon as the best source for omega 3 fatty acids that your body can easily use, let’s find out how to choose the best salmon oil supplement.
Here’s what you should look for:
Fish oil that is species specific. If the label doesn’t tell you exactly what species of fish were used to make the oil, don’t take it. You have no idea what oils were used to make the supplement.
The oil should be pressed from the flesh only. No heads, tails, inedible or waste parts of the fish should have been included in the pressing.
Your fish oil supplement should be 100% pure. This means the allowable level of toxins, pesticides, heavy metals and residues should be ZERO. Don’t let your supplement manufacturer get away with some thing that is 99.4% pure. A label like this means that .6% of the oil is contaminated with impurities and toxin.
The fish (preferably salmon) used in the supplement should have been wild caught. Farm raised salmon do not eat the same diet or live in the same conditions as wild salmon. As a result, the farm raised salmon is higher in bad fats and lower in omega 3 fatty acids.
Now any conversation about omega 3 fatty acid sources wouldn’t be complete with at least a mention of the plant sources of these important nutrients.
But, before we get into that, there’s something you need to know about omega 3s from plants. Research has now shown that only 0.5% of the ALA (the omega 3 fatty acid in plant sources) you consume is converted into the fatty acids EPA and DHA, which the body can use.
So, even though you can get omega 3s from plants, it’s not in a form that’s used effectively by the body. Some plant sources of omega 3s are flax, flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts.