Not all fish oils are of the same quality! Have you got to the stage where you cannot see the wood for the trees? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It's not surprising, given the amount of products and brands available today. What makes matters so confusing is the huge differences in fish oils. Some capsules only contain a tiny 280 mg omega-3, whereas our capsules contain up to 1200 mg of exceptionally pure omega-3 (1080 mg EPA/DHA).
Cheaper brands usually contain much lower concentrations of fish oil/omega-3, which is why it is essential to take several capsules a day to maintain the correct omega-3 level. Be aware that many fish oil brands show nutritional facts per serving (2 softgels) instead of per single softgel. The chart below shows how our UnoCardio 1000 from WHC compares to other leading brands.
What to look for when buying a fish oil supplement
You’ve heard about the many benefits of omega-3s – for vision, for cognitive health, for the cardiovascular system – and you’re ready to purchase a fish oil supplement to augment your consumption of oily fish. However, you soon find yourself confused by the sheer number of products available. They all purport to be the best, but clearly they can’t all be right.
In truth, there is a huge amount of variation between fish oils and it is vital to know what to look for before scouring the web in search of the best one.
There are several key considerations which come into play when reviewing supplements. It is important to find a supplement which: contains high levels of EPA and DHA per serving; uses small-species fish, which are less prone to accumulating toxins; is made by a reputable manufacturer who follows good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and has won a high rating from the IFOSP (International Fish Oil Standards Program); and which contains no, or barely detectable traces of, contaminants.
It’s worth stressing that first point, since EPA and DHA are the most potent and therapeutically proven forms of omega-3, far superior to ALA, ETA, DPA etc. The higher the percentage of EPA and DHA in your supplement, the greater benefits you will enjoy.
Another thing you should think about is the molecular form of the omega-3 fatty acids. There are generally three: triglyceride, ethyl ester and phospholipid. The most bioavailable, by far, are triglycerides (since omega-3s actually occur naturally in the triglyceride form). Indeed, studies suggest they are around 50% more bioavailable than other kinds. It's no surprise, therefore, that premium fish oils favour triglycerides.
It is a good rule to avoid fish oil supplements that contain soy, gluten and nuts, as these ingredients could suggest a manufacturing process which does not focus on purity. Similarly, capsules which have an enteric coating, as these are usually synthetic and can be made from PVC or BPA, substances it is advisable to minimise consumption of. Enteric coatings have also been found to release the supplement prematurely in the digestive system.
The IFOSP is not the only third-party testing and certification programme. The independent American firm Labdoor also rank supplements (including fish oils) according to criteria such as Label Accuracy, Product Purity, Projected Efficacy, Nutritional Value and Ingredient Safety. UnoCardio 1000 has been ranked #1 for quality since 2015. You can view the rankings here. The gap between number one and number two is significant; indeed, it is greater than any gap on the list of 54 tested products. UnoCardio 1000 also holds a 5-star rating from the IFOSP. We are proud to stock the world's best quality fish oil.
Why UnoCardio 1000 contains vitamin D
Vitamin D has a different impact on the body than omega-3 fatty acids, and should not be taken as an alternative to fish oil. The vitamin (actually a hormone) helps to maintain normal muscle function, immunity, healthy teeth and bones, and also contributes to normal blood calcium levels. Its presence in UnoCardio 1000 means you don't have to buy separate vitamin D and fish oil supplements (unless, of course, you require more than 1,000 i.u. of vitamin D per day; in this case Vibrant Health's Vitamin D3 is a good option). Combining the nutrients also helps you avoid two of the most prevalent dietary deficiencies in the world, namely omega-3 deficiency and vitamin D deficiency.
Studies suggest that omega-3s EPA and DHA work together with vitamin D to maintain healthy levels of serotonin in the brain, thereby improving cognitive function and social behaviour with particular relevance for those battling ADHD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The above comparison is based on information provided by distributors online (July 15, 2014). However, a more recent version is available to view here.