The Fish Oil Conundrum. By Healing Sanctuary Staff

As most people are well aware, fish oil is something that many health providers are recommending to their patients to help with a multitude of problems.We recommend people to take fish oil to help reduce cholesterol, lower triglycerides, lower inflammation and pain, and reduce risk of cancer; the list goes on and on. The thing that most people don’t know is generic fish oil pills are made of two main components, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. For the items listed above, the beneficial component comes from the omega-3 portion (usually DHA and EPA) of the pill.

So, have you looked at your fish oil pill to see how much omega-3 it contains? The ones I have looked at in the stores range from only 30% to 70% omega-3 in the pill. The recommendation we give our patients is for them to take 2 gm or 2000 mg of omega-3. If your pill is only 50% omega-3, that means you would have to take 4 pills a day to achieve that recommendation. Who wants to take 4 fish oil pills a day?!?

Another thing to note, the other component of the fish oil pill, omega-6 fatty acid (usually linoleum acid), can have adverse effects if taken in too large an amount. Omega-6 fatty acids are in many foods we eat today, so additional supplementation is not needed and the amount we take in fish oil pills is unnecessary or even counterproductive to the omega-3 we are trying to get more of.

So, what do I recommend? Find a fish oil pill that is mostly omega-3 and take 2 grams of omega-3 every day. If you can’t find one, The Healing Sanctuary has a couple of options we provide that are 100% omega-3. Are you concerned about the cost? Think of it this way: you can purchase a cheaper version over the counter, but if you have to take 4 pills instead of 2 pills to get the recommended dose, is that really less expensive? And, are you doing what is best for your body and your medical concerns? Another consideration – make sure you purchase from a reputable company! There are several good companies out there; the ones at the Healing Sanctuary are from Nordic Naturals which is a reputable company you can count on.

Do you hate taking fish oil related to fishy “burp ups”? Here is what I do: I put them in the freezer and take them frozen! If you take them prior to a meal, or just before bed, you are likely to avoid those burp ups and that will also help keep the fish oil fresh longer. It is an oil, so it can and will go rancid if left at room temperature beyond the recommended time frame.

Here’s to healthy eating and healthy living!