What Are Omega-3s?
"Omega-3s [EPA and DHA] are a family of fatty acids that are primarily found in higher-fat fish. Salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, mackerel, and albacore tuna are in the higher-fat fish category, delivering a great source of marine omega-3s EPA and DHA.
Types Of Omega-3s
There are three specific fats you've heard of before: EPA, DHA, and ALA.
They are "different chemical compounds" with different biological actions.
On a chemical level, ALA is 18 carbons long whereas EPA and DHA are 20 and 22 carbons long, respectively.
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) - found in plants
A shorter-chain PUFA, ALA is the parent fatty acid of the omega-3s and found in plants. It can be metabolized into EPA and DHA in the liver, but only at an inefficient and highly variable rate of 5 to 20 percent. As a result, it's nearly impossible to achieve optimal EPA and DHA levels we need by consuming plant based foods high in ALA.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) - produced by water plants
EPA is a long-chain PUFA produced by water plants. We typically get it from fish which consume said water plants (algae). It contributes to the often-talked-about health benefits of omega-3s, including but not limited to supporting immune function, cardiovascular and joint health, and fetal development.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) - found in lagae and fish
Similar to EPA, DHA is also a long-chain PUFA found in algae and fish. This particular omega-3 is found in high concentrations in the retina and brain (i.e., the central nervous system), making it essential for the development of our brain and eyes, as well as vision and cognitive function throughout life.
Benefits Of Omega-3s
Omega-3s have been on the radar of nutritionists since long before keto made fats cool again.
You need your fair share of these high-profile fats in order to feel your best, provided that you consume them regularly.
Omega-3 supplements (specifically fish oil) are the most popular type of supplements in the U.S. aside from multivitamins. This is no surprise considering the far-reaching health benefits the omega-3 fatty acids have throughout the body, ranging from ...
brain development and cognition,
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in the body (combating oxidative stress),
eye health and visual acuity,
mood balance and resilience,
musculoskeletal health, joint function and mobility,
bone turnover and calcium balance regulation, and
Which Omega-3s To Purchase?
There are a few crucial factors to consider when hunting for an omega-3 supplement that offers the daily dose of EPA and DHA you need. A high-quality omega-3 supplement will feature sustainably sourced fish, at least 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA, and minimal "other ingredients."
Here is the "quick list" by mindbodygreen.com
Best overall: omega-3 potency+, mindbodygreen
Best for newbies: O.N.E. Omega, Pure Encapsulations
Best budget/best mini: Burp-Less Mini Omega-3, Nature Made
Best fish burp-free: Double Strength DHA-500, NOW Foods
Best vegan: Omega-3 from Algae, Truvani
Best cod liver oil: Dutch Harbor Omega, Big Bold Health
Best Alaskan salmon oil: Omega 3, Perricone MD
Best liquid fish oil: OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 2400, Metagenics
Best liquid drops: Vegan Omega-3 Liquid Drops, Mary Ruth's
Best for heart: Wild Alaskan Fish Oil, Wiley's Finest
Best for vision: Natural Vision Enhancers, Doctor's Best
Best for immune health: Finest Norwegian Immune Omega, Carlson's
Best for joint support: Omega-3 with Turmeric, Vthrive by The Vitamin Shoppe
Best for hair/skin/nails: Omega Beauty, Douglas Laboratories
Best with astaxanthin: Oceans 3 Beyond Omega-3, Garden of Life
Best krill oil: Superior Omega-3, Kori Krill
Best omega-3-6-7-9 spectrum: OmegAvail Synergy, Designs for Health
Best prenatal/postnatal omega-3: Omega-3+ For Women, Needed
Best prenatal multi + omega-3 bundle: Prenatal Daily Duo, RainbowLight
Best for kids: Ultimate Omega Jr., Nordic Naturals
Best for pets: Fish Oil + Vitamin E, Fera Pet Organics