About Omega 3 Fish Oils Archives

So many people have so many questions about fish oil pills. Lets answer some.

From time to time we get questions about anything and everything to do with Omega 3 fish oil pills. How much should they cost? Why are they  good for  you? Where do you get the best ones?

Hopefully we’ve answered those questions here in previous articles. But today we just felt like dealing with a few questions about fish oil pills that we haven’t addressed before in previous articles.

One question we get asked is about fish oil pills side effects. And it’s a good question, because it seems nowadays you’ve always got to look for side effects from taking anything at all. So lets firstly consider the side effects of fish oil pills.

Yes there are some issues, we can’t tell you that there are no side effects. However the risks of serious side effects causing health concerns is low.

The main side effect reported is in fact just an irritant. It’s the “fishy burp” people experience after taking some brands of fish oil supplements.Fish Oil Pills

Notice we said “some brands”. That’s because the reason for the “fishy burps” is that the oil used in the capsules isn’t as fresh as it could be and has become rancid. Fish oil that has oxidized is rancid fish oil.

That produces an unpleasant fishy taste and odor and if burped up isn’t so pleasant. Some manufacturers actually add a masking scent to mask the odor of rancid fish oil.

However quality fish oil capsules shouldn’t, and don’t, use fish oil that is rancid. The manufacturers go to extreme lengths to ensure the fish is fresh, and you won’t get those “fishy burps”. They are true tasteless fish oil pills.

There can also be some side effects from the other components of the capsules. The main Omega 3 polyunsaturated fat that you benefit from is DHA, along with EPA. But there is also some other things in fish oil.

Cod liver oil, for example, has the Omega 3 fats but is also high in vitamins A and D, so if you take cod liver oil you might get some side effects from too much vitamins A and D.

And some Omega  3 capsules, if they use oil that hasn’t been sufficiently decontaminated from nasty toxins, can harbour industrial pollutants. Mercury in fish oil pills has been in the news lately. The best Omega 3 supplements don’t have any detectable contaminants at all.

However there are also some fish oil side effects that are worth mentioning. It is well known that Omega 3 fats thin the blood a little. This is the reason why Omega 3s can reduce the risk of stroke, and is normally good for your heart generally. But some people who are already taking blood thinners may have a problem.

For this reason we always suggest that people with known health problems should always consult a doctor before taking any supplements.

And there is evidence that large doses can increase the risk of bleeding in a few people. This can manifest as nose bleeds, or blood in the urine. It’s not common, but does happen, so consult your doctor.

And occasionally for some there can be some short term teething problems when starting Omega 3 capsules. Perhaps some abdominal discomfort or diarrhea, perhaps heartburn. It should go away, but again, consult your doctor if problems persist.

Generally though, the safety of taking fish oil pills is high, they are low risk with minimal side effects. And of course it’s very good for you. Is taking fish oil pills beneficial even though there is a small risk of some minimal side effects? Absolutely.

Another question we get asked often is this. Is it okay to break open fish oil pills?

This is a question from parents who have children that cannot take the capsules, and so need to take the oil itself. The answer to this is easy, yes it’s okay to break open fish oil pills, just make sure that the oil is taken immediately.

Just open the top of the capsule and pour the oil onto the childs food. If you do it when they’re not watching they probably won’t even know it’s there.

And we often get asked about fish oil pills and hair loss.

It’s a question about stopping hair loss by taking Omega 3 capsules. Sorry, but to date we know of no authoritative study showing that taking Omega 3 can reverse hair loss. They’re very good for you, but not that good.

But if someone discovers a way to reverse hair loss with Omega 3 fats we’ll be the first to let you know.


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With all the talk of EPA and DHA and ALA, how do you choose your Omega 3 capsules?

If you’ve been reading about Omega 3 fish oil you may have become a little confused. The more you read the worse it gets. You start learning about EPA and DHA, and long chain and short chain omega 3 fats. About ALA and converting ALA to DHA.

For example a reader recently asked us about how to choose his Omega 3 fish oil capsules. He was confused about the difference between long chain and short chain Omega 3 fats, and confused about which were the best Omega 3 supplements.

We can understand that. Here’s a short explanation, and then we’ll have a look at how to choose the best Omega 3 fish oil supplements.

The three Omega 3 fats we’ve mentioned (DHA, EPA and ALA) are polyunsaturated fats. They are all good for your body but by far the best and most important is DHA. Remember DHA is the fat that makes up a large part of your brain, though of course that isn’t the only reason.

ALA is primarily found in plant foods like flax, whilst EPA and DHA are found in sea foods like fish. ALA is the less important Omega3 nutrient. And ALA is a short chain fat. No need to go into complete detail on what a short chain fat is as it’s really complicated.

But DHA, the most important Omega 3 fatty acid, is a long chain fat, and, along with EPA, is what you need from your Omega 3 supplements. And all Omega 3 fish oil capsules contain DHA.

So you’re better getting your Omega 3 fats from fish oil supplements rather than supplements like flax seed oil supplements.

So are all fish oil supplements the same? How do you choose between them?
How to choose Omega 3 Capsules

There’s 2 things you need to look for to find the best rated Omega 3 fish oil capsules. You need to look for the quantity of DHA in the capsules, and the purity of the oil.

You look for the quantity as all fish oil capsules have DHA, but in different amounts. Thus you cannot just look for the cheapest fish oil capsules without knowing how much DHA is in them.

Supplements with a third of the amount of DHA than other supplements are not good value even if they are half the price, because on a price/DHA quantity comparison they are actually more expensive.

And that’s not all, you need to consider the purity of the oils too, because, sad to say, many of our fish are contaminated with toxins. You wouldn’t want to take Omega 3 capsules with traces of mercury and PCBs would you?

We’ve done a much more detailed article about how to choose Omega 3 supplements. That deals with all the issues so make sure that you’ve read that if you’re interested in finding out more about the differences between the different supplements available, how to compare them and which ones are our preferred supplements.

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No lesser authority than the American Heart Association recommends the intake of Omega 3 oils.

There is sometimes the perception that taking dietary supplements is a little like witchcraft. Untested and no one really knows what is going to happen if you do.

And there is also the perception that taking dietary supplements is somehow “alternative”. That real people who listen to their doctor wouldn’t consider taking dietary supplements including omega 3 dietary supplements.

So lets consider whether there are down to earth recognized medical authorities that recommend the intake of Omega 3 oils and fats.

The American Heart Association, no less, says that:Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease.”

And they offer recommendations for the intake of omega 3 fats. Their recommendations are that we eat around 2 servings of fish a week. They also suggest eating other sources of omega 3 acids like tofu, soybeans and various oils like canola.

And they are quite specific about people with CHD (coronary heart disease). They should eat at least 1 gram of EPA and DHA per day, and for those who need to lower their triglycerides it’s suggested that they take from 2 to 4 grams of EPA and DHA as capsules, doctor supervised.

You can’t get any clearer than that. The AHA recommends the intake of omega 3 fats, preferably as food but also as capsules, every day.

Nothing “alternative’ about that.

So if you’ve been wondering if you really ought to avoid all these Omega 3 supplements because, well, they aren’t really mainstream, then listen to the American Heart Association.

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