Fish oil supplements, also known as omega-3 fats, are one of the most popular supplements, with more people buying than ever. This shouldn't come as a surprise; with over 15,000 studies, fish oil is powerful in reducing the risk of heart disease, triglycerides and maybe even helping with weight loss, among other benefits. When determining a quality fish oil supplement, it is important to consider several key factors:

1. All fish oils are NOT created equal. 
2. You shouldn't burp up fish after taking capsules (and, no, putting them in the freezer isn't the answer -- they shouldn't taste rancid in the first place).
3. Quality fish oil should provide a high concentration of the "good stuff": EPA and DHA. These are two of the three omega-3s that are tied to most of the benefits of fish oil as a whole.

Quality fish oil products should be regularly tested for oxidation -- in other words, is the fish oil spoiled or not. There are a handful of measures for oxidation. The question is how do you, as a consumer, look for oxidation in a product?

Simply, you must ask. Don't ask the person running the supplement store you're buying from. Ask the company if they have third party, independent lab tests to prove this to you. All companies have websites. Look up their contact information and call; if they don't offer third party testing that they are willing to share with you, I'd suggest finding another brand that does. I don't think you want to take mercury, PCB's and other toxic ingredients when you think you're doing something good for your body. 

Here is something else to be sure to research: EPA and DHA content. These are two acronyms for very long words that aren't important for this piece; they are two of the three omega-3 fats. For other nerds like us, the third is ALA.

You get EPA and DHA from animal sources (e.g., fish and fish oil) and you get ALA from plant sources. There are exceptions to that rule, but few and far between. 

When you are deciding on a fish oil product, you want to look past the number of total omega-3s and instead add the DHA and EPA. These two numbers need to add up to the dose you’re looking to take. EPA/DHA should, at minimum, make up at least 50% of the total number. 

What is the overall daily dose suggested? See the guidelines below, but be sure that you (or your client) speak with a physician for individual recommendations.

General health: minimum of 500mg EPA/DHA
Heart disease or family history of heart disease: 1,000-2,000mg EPA/DHA
High triglycerides: 2,000-4,000mg EPA/DHA

Topic: Nutrition

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