The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil Part 2 — Late joining this series? Catch up on Part 1!
What about Fish Oil During Pregnancy?
As stated, DHA plays an important role in the natural visual development of infants up to 12 months, as well in the visual and neurological development of both the fetus and breastfed infants. DHA also helps build up the nervous system before birth, with the American Pregnancy Association advising all pregnant women to consume a bare minimum of 300mg DHA each day.
Incidentally, maternal DHA stores are actually used to make breast milk, meaning the mother can continue passing on the benefits after her child is born.
Signs of Omega-3 Deficiency
Despite the enormous benefits of fish oil, many people remain outwith the optimal fatty acid level recorded by the Omega-3 Index. Somewhere in the 8-11% range is desirable, but deficiency is worryingly common, perhaps because EPA and DHA are most readily obtainable from seafood. While there are good vegetarian sources of omega-3 such as flax seed oil and algal oil, the DHA and EPA fatty acids they contain are not as readily available to the body as in fish oil. This is why the government recommend we consume fish at least twice a week, with one portion being ‘oily’ (salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring or anchovies; fish high in omega-3, in other words). Low fatty acid status in the body can manifest itself in a number of ways; symptoms of omega-3 deficiency generally include excessive thirst, poor sleep, emotional sensitivity and rough or dry skin. And that’s to say nothing of the benefits you would miss out on.
What’s the Best Fish Oil Supplement?
Fish oil supplements are a good way of ensuring you get enough EPA and DHA. But not all fish oils are of the same quality: pollutant levels, processing, freshness, fish sustainability and nutrient bioavailability differ from product to product. This is why organisations such as American firm Labdoor test fish oils and other supplements, ranking them in accordance with factors such as Product Purity, Label Accuracy, and Nutritional Value.
For three years running, Labdoor has ranked WHC’s UnoCardio 1000 the #1 fish oil for quality. *
The supplement has an overall rating of 87.5, way ahead of the runner-up which scored 81.2. UnoCardio 1000 retained its status as the best fish oil supplement in 2017 owing to its remarkably high levels of EPA (675mg) and DHA (460mg) and is certified from sustainable fisheries. It contains no fillers or binders, and its fish oils are in the superior r-Triglyceride form for better absorption.
As an added bonus, UnoCardio 1000 contains 1,000 i.u. of vitamin D3 – another nutrient many Brits are deficient in. Indeed, Public Health England suggests we should all supplement throughout the sun-starved autumn and winter months.
Some may wonder what constitutes fish oil quality beyond the PUFA content. There are actually many factors to consider. Some fish oil supplements have been shown to contain trace levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxic man-made chemicals which have been banned or widely restricted in many countries since the 1980s. And that’s not all: heavy metals like lead and mercury have also shown up in some capsules, a result of water pollution and the species of fish from which supplements derive. As such, it’s important to avoid a low-grade brand and favour a highly pure, highly potent fish oil like those produced by WHC, manufacturers of UnoCardio 1000.
To their credit, WHC relies solely on non-endangered small-species oily fish. These are the best sources of omega-3 because small fish lower down the food chain absorb fewer toxins and metals than larger, deep-sea species. From a sustainability point of view, relying on smaller species is also far better for the planet.
As well as UnoCardio 1000, WHC manufactures a highly purified fish oil without added vitamin D. UnoCardio X2 ranked #3 in Labdoor’s list of 54 tested products; containing 93% pure omega-3, with 600mg EPA and 495mg DHA per capsule. * After a battery of tests, UnoCardio X2 scored 98 for Nutritional Value and 97 for Product Purity.
Whether you choose to use a supplement, consistently eat a few portions of fatty fish per week (remember, small-species fish to minimise toxins!) or a combination of both, the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are obvious.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out!