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Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential for optimum health. They promote a healthy immune response and can help optimise heart, brain, circulatory, metabolic and joint tissue health.

Because our bodies cannot produce these nutrients, they must be consumed through diet or supplements. So, unless you’re eating an abundance of fatty fish (at least 2-3 times per week) you may want to consider getting your omega-3s through a quality fish oil supplement. But with so many options on the market, how are we possibly to know which one to choose?

Here’s our top 6 tips on how to ensure you’re not wasting your money on ineffective or unethical products, and are also making the right choice for your individual needs.

  1. Purity

Ensure the oil has been purified, and stripped of heavy metals, pesticides, and environmental toxins. Also consider whether the fish has been sourced from clean or polluted waters.

All quality manufacturers should employ a technique to ensure the purity levels of the final product meet the fish oil safety and purity standards as established by The European Pharmacopeia Standard. Even better if they are able to offer you a Certificate of Analysis for every batch of oil to prove the product’s purity levels.

  1. Sustainability

All fish oil brands should follow safe fishing practices, in specified locations, to avoid over-fishing and endangering species – unfortunately, not all companies do this. Whatever supplement you are considering, be sure that the way they source the product follows reputable sustainability practices. Check their website to ensure they are “Friend of the Sea” certified, which verifies the sustainability of fish oils.

  1. Value for Money / Absorption

Oils in the natural triglyceride molecular form enables optimal absorption, over the more easily available (and cheaper) synthetic ethyl-ester molecular form, which is determined by the manufacturing process. While most brands are made up of around 60% triglycerides, to ensure that you are receiving the maximum benefits and value of your chosen supplement, choose a brand that guarantees over 90% triglycerides, such as Nordic Naturals.

  1. Freshness

Your fish oil should be easy to take and have a great taste, proving its safety and freshness. For example, if you bite through a fish oil soft-gel, the oil inside should taste light and fresh. (Fishy-tasting oil means that it has gone rancid!)

To maintain freshness, manufacturers should use pure nitrogen during all stages of handling to minimise any exposure to oxygen that might degrade the product. Nitrogen ensures that the fish and oil can be protected from the oxidative rancidity that causes an unpleasant fishy smell and taste (and is not good for the body).

  1. Fish Oil or Arctic Cod Liver Oil?

Both are excellent sources of the omega-3s, EPA and DHA, but in different ratios: Arctic cod liver oil (oil from the livers of Arctic Cod) has more DHA than EPA, whereas fish oil (oil from the bodies of fish, such as sardines and anchovies) provides more EPA than DHA. This makes Arctic Cod Liver Oil a good choice when it comes to brain and eye health, whereas fish oil may be a good choice for supporting a healthy heart. Another difference is that Arctic cod liver oil has small amounts of naturally occurring vitamins A and D, providing even greater immune supportive benefits.

As with any supplement, it’s a good idea to talk with your health provider first to see if it’s right for you.

  1. Liquid or Soft-gels?

While some people prefer soft-gels, liquids can provide higher levels of EPA and DHA in a smaller dose, making them more cost-effective. If it is a quality brand of fish oil, the oils should always taste pure and fresh.

Featured: Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil

Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil™ is made from 100% wild Arctic cod. Unlike other “cod liver oils” on the market, no fish body oils or synthetic vitamins or additives are ever used.

Nordic Naturals award-winning Arctic Cod Liver Oil™ is made exclusively from wild Arctic cod, and is an ideal choice to support general health and wellbeing. Vertically integrated from catch to finished product, Arctic Cod Liver Oil far surpasses the strict European Pharmacopoeia Standard for fish oil purity and freshness. Simply put it’s some of freshest cod liver oil in the world.

Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver oil comes in a variety of delicious flavours for taking right off the spoon or mixing into your favourite food and drink. Unlike the Cod Liver Oil products many of us were told to take in our youth, Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil™ is so fresh that you can’t even tell it’s from fish!

Available from all good health stores. To find a store near you visit www.therahealth.com.au/store-locator/

This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Thera Health.

Image: Shutterstock

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