Which Kind of Omega 3 Supplement Should You Take?
If you want to start including more Omega-3 in your diet, and you should, or you’ve been told to by a doctor, then you will most likely start doing an internet or Amazon search on a good Omega-3 supplement. Then you quickly see the myriad of choices you will face.
What Is Omega-3?
The big problem with the American diet is that it is too saturated with Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid). But our diets should include a healthy ratio of both Omega-6 and Omega 3s. Most Americans have a diet that includes far too much Omega-6, and that’s not a good thing.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are components of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The term “3” and “6” come from where the double bonds are located in the carbon chain of the fatty acid.
So Omega-3 fats have their double bond after the 3rd carbon atom and with Omega-6, you guessed it, the double bond is after the 6th carbon atom. There are other “Omegas”, such as Omega-7 and 9, but for this article, we are focusing on Omega-3s only.
Omega-3 is also called Alpha-Linoleic Acid, or ALA. This is that fat component that can be found in Flaxseed, Wild Salmon and other oily fish, and Grass-Fed Beef products. Omega-3 is the fatty acid that most Americans do not have nearly enough of. The powers-that-be in the food industry have made sure of this, and its a real shame.
This is why Omega-3 supplementation has become a great option and important for cardiovascular health, which has been in stark decline over the past 50 years.
Most supplements are in the form of fish and krill oil, some seed oils such as flaxseed, and algae oil. I will mostly be talking about fish oil in this article, as it is scientifically known to have the most affect in terms of health benefits, though algal oils are now rising to give fish a run for their money, as well as provide a vegan alternative.
What Type of Omega-3 Is Best?
The best Omega-3 products have the amount of EPA/DHA (the two components that make up Omega-3 fatty acids) you need in them to make a difference (potency), has the least contaminants (purity), and able to be used efficiently by the body (highly absorbable), and these will obviously be more expensive than lower quality products which are not so potent, pure, or absorbable.
When it comes to Fish Oil, there are 3 main types of Omega-3 and a couple of not-so-known types:
Ethyl Ester (EE):
This type is concentrated and purified. Most fish oils are in this category. Its molecular form is not natural to the body, unstable, and the least absorbable by the human body, which has to transform the ester into a triglyceride before it can be transported by the bloodstream. This type was created because it is easier to work with during the refining process and cheaper to produce. Ethyl Esters are also called “semi-natural” since it is processed to increase the amount of Omega-3 available and remove contaminants. But this process also makes it less bio-available to the body than natural triglycerides, which is the next type.
Natural Triglycerides (TG):
This type is the closest to natural fish oil as you can get. It is similar to what you would call “cold-pressed” with olive oil, for example. Its the next best thing to eating the fish itself and is in a natural molecular state that the body prefers. Most fats in the human body are in triglyceride form. It has a more moderate absorption rate than that of EEs. These TG forms are less easily found than the Ethyl Ester (EE) type but it has a growing market. The cons of this type is that it is normally lower in available Omega-3 content because its not as concentrated and could also contain a high amount of contaminants. Make sure it is 3rd party tested if you opt for this type.
Reformed (Re-Esterified) Triglycerides (rTG):
This type starts out as Ethyl Ester (EE) so it can be concentrated and purified. But then it gets “re-formed” back into natural triglycerides (TG), while removing the contaminants. This makes them highly concentrated and much more effective. It also has a more active bio-available absorption rate than Ethyl Esters or TGs. At this point, they are called Reformed, or Re-esterified, triglycerides (rTG). This rTG category has the smallest market of the big 3 three categories, but is growing, and is also the most expensive of the main 3. Companies are now starting to use this form for misleading marketing tactics because of the higher expense, so buyer beware!
In a Healthline.com article about fish oils, Kristin Kirkpatrick, nutritionist and author of ‘Skinny Liver: A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse the New Silent Epidemic-Fatty Liver Disease‘, when looking for an over-the-counter fish oil supplement, says to look for: “marine-based options which don’t need any conversion and which include some combination of DHA and EPA.”
Free Fatty Acids (FFA): There is yet another form that is superior to everything out there and that’s Free Fatty Acid form. When it comes to percentage of rTG in oils, higher is not better. An rTG fish oil that’s 60% in TG form will often be better absorbed because it will contain more free fatty acids than a 90% rTG form. A big problem with fish oil, especially FFA forms, is that it goes rancid quickly. This problem is solved with crystallization which provides molecular stability. Crystallized Free Fatty Acids are stable and far better absorbed than EE, TG, rTG, and Phospholipid (PL) forms, and is therefore the most expensive of all the categories.
If you want the best purity, potency, effective, and absorbable Omega-3 fish oil on the market, you need to go with a stable crystallized free fatty acid (FFA) form of fish oil.
Keep in mind that all these different forms of fish oils get more Omega-3 into your body, which is the main point. Which one you choose to use depends on your personal preference and your budget.
Listed below are a few FFA and rTG Omega-3 options, which also include some combination of DHA and EPA, that you can get from Amazon.
Where to Get Omega-3 Grass-Fed and Pasture Raised Meats Online
Grass-Fed Beef and high grade Wagyu Beef products contain the perfect Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios. Most supermarkets only carry GMO grain fed beef, which has only unhealthy Omega-6, and therefore not beneficial to an already saturated Omega-6 diet. Stick with Grass-Fed & Finished meats and Pasture-Raised chicken only, which also naturally contain the Omega-3s needed in the diet.
Thrive Market is an online store which delivers organic food to your door. You can find Grass-Fed Meats and Pasture-Raised non-GMO Chicken in its selections.
Frankies Free Range Meat is another online store that I order from and was very happy with the service, delivery, and the delicious Grass-Fed and Pasture-Raised meats.
If you are a vegetarian, try this Algae Oil Omega-3 product: