Fish or Fish Oils for Healthy Hearts?
The participants in this study took 3 grams of fish oil per day every day for four weeks, which is an average dose for most over-the-counter supplements. However, not all supplements are created equal, particularly with fish oil.
It's important to choose high-quality products to prevent exposure to contaminants such as mercury and PCBs:
• Consult independent tests
Although most fish oils used in supplements come from species that aren't high in mercury and PCBs, that doesn't mean a few poisoned poisson don't make it into the mix. The Environmental Defense Fund surveyed 75 fish oil manufacturers to see if they purify their fish oils to remove PCBs and mercury, and published a list of the healthier supplements. Alternately, consult the third-party supplement-testing service ConsumerLab.com, which conducts annual tests on fish oils and looks for contaminants that could undermine the health benefits of your fish oil supplements.
• Read labels wisely
Concentration of the different omega-3s in the fish oil can vary, according to tests from ConsumerLab.com. The most beneficial fatty acids are EPA and DHA. In this study, the effective dose contained 410 milligrams of EPA and 274 milligrams of DHA.
• Don't confuse price with quality
Just because a brand costs more doesn't mean you're getting a better-quality product. In ConsumerLab.com tests, some of the best-quality supplements with the lowest levels of contaminants cost just 6- to 10 cents per serving.
• Don't be duped by meaningless claims
"Pharmaceutical-grade," "contaminant-free," and "tested in FDA-approved laboratories" do not carry weight. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve analytical labs, although some labs could be FDA registered and inspected.