There are many reasons to avoid cheap fish oil supplements. It’s easy to be tempted by a low price. I myself have tried inexpensive discount brands. But I found they were actually a waste of money because they did not provide the benefits I expected. Instead of looking at the price, these are the things you should be concerned with.
A typical capsule contains 1000mg of fat, but only a portion of that fat is heart healthy omega-3 fat. You have to read the label on the back to learn about the omega-3 content. All of the health benefits of supplementation are associated with those long-chained fatty acids. There is no point in taking a supplement that is not at least 50% omega-3. There are many fish oil benefits to be enjoyed, but that’s possible only with if you take enough omega-3s.
DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid is believed to be the most beneficial of the omega-3s. It is the one we know the most about, because the effects it has on a person’s health have been studied more.
Why is DHA the most important? First, DHA is the longest of the long-chained omega-3s. The body can easily convert it into shorter ones like DPA or EPA. Up-conversion to DHA is a more difficult process that is considered inefficient.
Second, DHA is absolutely essential for normal brain development and function. Cheap fish oil may provide less than 150mg of DHA per 1000mg capsule. The better brands provide twice that amount.
Low levels of DHA in the brain and bloodstream have been associated with depression, learning disorders and other health problems. Research has shown that supplements containing the shorter omega-3s do not increase circulating levels of DHA. So, in order to correct the deficiency, you have to take a DHA-rich supplement.
Rancid oils contain free radicals, which are a cause of cellular aging. Not only would rancid oils provide no health benefits, they would actually be bad for your health.
The burping sometimes associated with taking the supplements occurs because the oils are not fresh. Cheap fish oil is likely to have been derived from catches that lay on the deck in the sun until they started to rot.
Recent surveys conducted by independent groups showed that many of the inexpensive brands contained high levels of PCBs and other environmental toxins. Exposure to those pollutants causes a variety of health problems including an increased risk of cancer.
As you can see, cheap fish oil is not the answer. Look for an affordable brand that meets the criteria outlined above. That’s your best bet.
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