Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help heart disease in so many ways. Research shows that it decreases arrhythmias and triglycerides, slows growth of atherosclerosis, and lowers blood pressure. Fish is your best source of omega 3s and is also low in saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends 2-3.5 oz servings of fish per week. While eating fish is the preferable way to intake omega 3s, those with heart disease or an increased risk and who do not get the recommended amount daily should consider supplements. There are so many to pick from, so how do you know which one is best? Here are a few guidelines to help you out:
1. Ingredients: Make sure the supplement contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). There is another omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that is found in flax seed and vegetable oils. Research shows that supplements with EPA and DHA provide more benefits.
2. How much: If you’re healthy and want to reduce your risk for heart disease, take 500 mg/day. If you have already been diagnosed with heart disease, 1 g of fish oil/day is the appropriate dosage.
3. The more I take the better?: Taking large doses of fish oil supplements, as with any supplement, can have serious adverse affects. Dosage larger than 3 g/day has been shown to cause spontaneous bleeding which can be deadly. Consult your doctor before starting a high dosage regimen or if you are on blood thinners.
4. COA: Research the product online. Go to the company’s website and look for a copy of the certificate of analysis (COA). This tells you whether the supplement has been tested to be free of mercury, lead, arsenic, and other toxins. This certificate will also list the products total level of oxidation which you want to be 17 milliequivalents (mEq)/kilograms (kg) or higher.
- 5. GMP: Look for a brand that is pharmaceutical grade, and is produced at a pharmaceutical good manufacturing practices (GMP) facility.