Over the last decade, fish oil has grown immensely in popularity. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, fish oil became the #1 most popular natural product used by adults in 2012, equating to roughly 7.8% of US adults (18.8 million people).
As fish oil rose in popularity, classic supply/demand rules will tell you that due to this increased demand, current supplement manufacturers and new entrants joined the Omega-3 industry. This has lead to the inevitable truth of today’s Omega-3 market: There are so many brands, you don’t know where to begin.
Which logically leads to the question: Is all fish oil the same?!
It’s quite a loaded question, so let’s unpack this by first diving into WHAT you should be looking for in a quality fish oil:
1.) EPA and DHA: When buying a fish oil product, one of the first things you should be reviewing is the ingredients list and supplements facts panel. Note: ALL health supplement manufacturers are required to have both of these on their packaging in the United States. If they do not, put it back on the shelf!!
On the supplement facts panel of a fish oil product, you should be able to clearly identify how many milligrams of EPA and DHA are in each serving. Usually, the manufacturer will first list the total Omega-3s first, followed by the EPA and DHA numbers. It is essential to understand how much of these two Omega-3s are present, because they absorb most efficiently in our bodies. Unfortunately, many big box retailers carry fish oil products which boast high Omega-3 numbers on the front of their packaging, but then contain very little EPA and DHA. If you’d like to dive further into the difference between different types of Omega-3s, check out our article on the subject: What’s the Difference Between ALA, EPA, and DHA?
2.) High Absorption Rate: If your fish oil does not absorb efficiently, you are only receiving 50% (or less) of the benefits. At that point, it almost seems pointless, doesn’t it? (Not completely pointless, but you catch our drift)
The most efficient way to use fish oil is to consume the liquid version instead of capsules. If you’re afraid of the fishy tastes associated with taking liquid fish oil, you’re in luck! We refine the freshest, best tasting liquid Omega-3s on the planet! Read more here: Taste the Fruit, Not the Fish!
However, we’re all busy, and sometimes life can get in the way of using liquids everyday. In this case, you will want to use a high-grade capsule which uses premium gelatin to hold the oil inside. This can be a GREAT option for staying healthy while traveling, as most liquids will need to stay refrigerated, and could easily go rancid if not stored properly.
3.) Environmental Impact: This topic could be its own blog, and perhaps it should be! Our environment is what allows us to enrich our healthy lives with high-grade Omega-3s, so we need to repay the favor by being responsible with our sourcing and manufacturing practices.
Look for fish oil products which are certified sustainable! There are several great organizations which aim to promote sustainable sourcing all over the world, and they often come with a stamp of approval. For example, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent non-profit organization who helps set standards for sustainable fishing. This is a great way to hold fishermen and manufacturers accountable, and an even better way to ensure that the product you are using was refined by those who strive to be environmentally responsible.
4.) Extra Benefits: Not only do great fish products have optimal levels of Omega-3s, but they can also contain extra Vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D, and E. Believe it or not, MOST Americans are Vitamin D deficient. Even if you live near a beach, odds are you are not getting as much Vitamin D as you need.
Using fish oil with Vitamin D is an excellent way to “kill two birds with one stone”, if you will. Fun fact: 2 teaspoons of Lysi Cod Liver Oil contains 1,000mg EPA, 800mg DHA, and 800 IU of Vitamin D (100% of daily value based on a 2,000 calorie diet).
So, to answer the question, NO! Not all fish oil is the same. In fact, there can be a very, very large difference between a $7 bottle vs. a $30 bottle. That’s not to say that any company who charges higher prices refines a great product, but it does mean that we should all understand these differences to best inform ourselves of what we are putting into our bodies.
Thank you so much for reading! If you are looking to enhance your Omega-3 experience, we would be thrilled for you to join our community. As a token of our appreciation, you can use promo code “lysilife” to receive 20% off your first order. We believe that once you try Lysi, you will taste the Icelandic difference!