Choosing Omega-3 Supplements

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 30, 2010 at 7:56 PM

I looked through all the other supplement questions, but I couldn't quite find the answers to any of these questions, possibly because they're so basic:

(1) When looking at Omega-3 Supplements, a lot of them also try to provide supplementation of Omegas 5, 6, 7, and 9 as well. Or they include mechanisms that try to regulate the Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio through the supplementation of additional types of Omegas. I'm looking specifically at these New Chapter ones, but everything else at Whole Foods looked pretty similar in including other types of Omegas beyond just 3. Considering the paleo concern of a low Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio, is it best to just find a supplement that isolates Omega-3 alone, as much as possible, since we're probably already getting more than adequate Omega 6s in regular paleo foods? Or would it be better to take a supplement that targets the 6/3 ratio?

(2) What's the most cost effective Omega-3 supplement you've found?

Through my Doctor's office, I can get pharmaceutical grade fish oil that has 860 mg EPA and 580mg DHA per two capsule serving, for $40 for 120 capsules. The fish is tuna, salmon, cod, sardine, and anchovy and comes from Norway. That seems cheaper per quantity of Omega 3's than anything I've found at Whole Foods. But I've heard that DHA is the more important source for therapeutic results, so I question if there's a better supplement.

(3) What sorts of bells and whistles do you personally look for in an Omega 3 supplement, beyond just some quantity of EPA/DHA?

(4) Have people noticed an actual difference between supplementing Omega 3 and not supplementing? How long did it take to notice a difference?

I've definitely noticed huge changes in cutting out grains and fructose, as well as smaller changes in supplementing magnesium, but nothing really from increasing Omega 3. This makes me wonder if I need to try a different Omega 3 combination because my current one is not bio-available enough to me.

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6 Answers


on October 31, 2010
at 02:26 PM

NOW Foods DHA-500 has 500 DHA, 250 EPA per softgel. $27 for 180 softgels on Amazon.

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on December 07, 2013
at 07:16 AM

1. Go for only omega-3 only. You got it right about the concern of paleo. We're trying to fix the ratio, and the standard American diet (SAD) with grain-fed meat and seed oils has way too much omega-6. The omega-3/6/9, that's marketing at work. I guess more stuff is supposed to pack a bigger punch.

2. Cost-effective, but not the best. Try for something that shows exact EPA and DHA and costs less than $10/m for 1g/day of combined EPA and DHA (figure your own dose, not per label).

Vitamin World Omega-3 1000 mg, 250 softgels for $9.99 It's a great price, but it only says "provides 300mg of Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids comprising" EPA, DHA, other. http://www.vitaminworld.com/epa-fish-oils-017/omega-3-fish-oil-1000-mg-003835

NOW Ultra Omega-3, 90 softgels, $12.79 NOW products are quite good enough and cheap. More DHA is preferred though. http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/now/ultra3.html

3. Purified to remove mercury.

Not rancid. That destroys health benefits and can even be more harmful in an extreme case. The manufacturing process and storage before purchase both matter.


4. No. I can certainly feel differences in other areas (grain, added sugar, etc.), but for omega-3, I haven't done enough cycles testing on and off with any sort of controls to really notice. I'm just going by the theory of improving omega-6 to omega-3 ratios. That's enough for me to keep taking them for now, benefit felt or not.


on January 09, 2013
at 08:14 PM

Weather to supplement with omega-3 or not depends on your diet. For example, our family supplemented with it for a few years but we moved and changed our food sources gradually, and they supplied abundant omega-3s, so now there is no need. If you eat a good amount and variety of seeds and nuts but do not eat very much animal fats, then supplementation is a good idea. We used to use a very reasonably priced Omega-3 oil sourced from cold, deep Norwegian waters — Ultramarine Omega-3 Virgin Salmon Oil. It is minimally processed to ensure that all of its natural trace elements are maintained, as well its astaxanthin - a naturally occurring carotenoid found in salmon. It is not chemically modified or exposed to high heat, bleaching, deodorizing or distillation. These processes strip any oil of enzymes, trace elements and natural antioxidants.

This oil is manufactured in a pharmaceutically licensed production facility in Norway according to pharmaceutical production protocols. The raw material used to produce the final product is fully traceable by batch. Time and oxygen will make even the best fish oil rancid. In order to address this problem, they developed an antioxidant blend (consisting of rosemary extract, ascorbyl palmitate and mixed tocopherols) to assure the product's quality is maintained through its life - as a result product stability is increased by 300%. Every batch of this Oil is extensively tested to insure freedom from environmental contaminants such as mercury, lead, arsenic, pesticides, PCB's and dioxins. To further confirm product purity, the oils are assayed for anisidine and peroxide values (rancidity indicators) - assuring that there will be no problems with taste, odor or product stability.


on January 09, 2013
at 07:13 PM

I'm a bit late to answer this, but my sister started me on a omega-3 fish oil by Stronger Faster Healthier. I use the mint flavor, and honestly, it's great. Expensive, sure, but it's not derived from soy, there's no gluten, and no sugar.

SO3 Super Omega-3 Oil

Worth noting: this stuff delivers approximately 5400 mg of EPA and DHA in two teaspoons. That's pretty darn potent. And it's liquid, not gel, so it's absorbed quicker.



on October 31, 2010
at 12:21 PM

Well, on prescription fish oil, its cheap for you, but not for the insurance companies. Dr. Davis writes in No More Lovaza: "That's it: I will NEVER ever write another prescription for Lovaza." http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010_07_01_archive.html

I get Fisol by Nature's Way from Iherb (180 500mg for 18.26 - free ship on orders over $40), Its not the cheapest (try Costco for that), but I worry about mercury/heavy metal content. Its made from Sardines, Anchovies and Mackerel and claims to be mercury/heavy metal free. http://www.iherb.com/Nature-s-Way-Fisol-Fish-Oil-180-Softgels/4115?at=0

Of course, if I ate more salmon, I could skip the fish oil. http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2009/6/19/fish-oil-or-not.html

I did not notice much of an effect at 1g/per day for over 6 months (btw it was not this fish oil). When I bumped it up to 5g/day I noticed within 2 weeks - less joint pain, less leg acne (I also bumped up my Vit D and magnesium at the same time, so I can't be sure it was the just the fish oil - I suspect the reduced acne was due to Vit D effects). That was in June. I now do 2g of Fisol/1g krill oil/1 tsp cod liver oil split between morning and evening. I am a 51 year old, 245#, type 2 diabetic male. As always, YMMV.

My Vit D OHD just came back at 73 - yay! CRP was moderately low, but could be lower.

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