Many people are interested in omega3 information because they are a key factor in preventing heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids lower the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the primary cause of heart failure and cardiovascular disease. They also increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL), also called “good" cholesterol, which removes LDL from the blood.
Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in fatty fish, but many patients prefer fish oil supplements for more controlled dosages. Cod liver oil and concentrate capsules are the most common forms. Before taking supplements, however, it is best to consult your doctor for omega3 information and recommended brands. The following guide provides basic omega3 information and advice on buying omega-3 supplements.
Types of omega-3 fatty acids
Alphalinolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means the body needs it but cannot produce it on its own. ALA from food is converted into the other two forms once inside the body. It is found mostly in dark green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oil, and some vegetable oils.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are primarily found in cold water marine fish, particularly their oils. DHA is also found in marine algae. Both EPA and DHA are considered “conditionally essential" fatty acids. Research has shown that only 4% to 15% of ALA is converted to DHA in the body. In people with enzyme deficiencies, there is virtually no conversion.
Choosing omega-3 supplements
It is important to have basic omega3 information at hand when choosing omega-3 supplements. Before buying, look for product reviews and articles offering omega3 information and buying tips. Here are some of the things you should look for:
Antioxidants. Antioxidants destroy free radicals, substances that cause cell damage and inhibit immune function. They also keep the supplements fresh and delay expiration.
Vitamin E. When buying fish supplements, look for those containing vitamin E. When combined with antioxidants, this helps prevent “fish burps" from the oils.
US Pharmacopoeia (USP) stamp. The USP tests dietary supplements for safety and quality. Look for omega-3 supplements with the USP approval stamp to make sure they are safe for consumption.
IMPORTANT: Some omega-3 supplements may contain harmful additives, such as silica, starch, gluten, and sugar. To stay safe, choose only supplements that are GMP-certified. This ensures that the product passes stringent safety standards. Also, avoid products that contain artificial colors or flavors.
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Jean Helmet is one of the editors for a series of health sites, We offer a free health book for subscribers to our websites newsletter. We cover everything you need to know on nutrition, as well as omega 3 nutrition, and how to improve your general overall health. Check out our nutrition health book ,