Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain function and normal health and development, and recent research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids might reduce inflammation and lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol and arthritis. For people who do not have access to fresh fish or do not like eating fish, fish oil pills can be a good source of the omega-3 fatty acids they need in their diet. There are four basic things to consider when buying fish oil pills: the sources and types of fish oil contained in the pills, how much you need to take, the type of fish oil pills available and the price.
The three active ingredients in fish oil are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA). These three ingredients can be found in varying amounts, depending largely on the source of the fish oil. If you are looking for the most omega-3 content in your fish oil pills, look for the pill with the highest amount of DHA. The quality of the fish oil pills depends upon the source of the oil and its method of processing. Fish oil that is molecularly distilled is the purest and safest mercury-free fish oil available.
How much to take depends on the reason you are taking a fish oil supplement. The American Heart Association has recommended at least 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA a day for healthy people, about 1,000 milligrams a day for heart disease patients and perhaps double that amount for lowering triglycerides.
The type of pill to take is entirely a personal choice. Fish oil pills are widely available in tablet and softgel form. Tablets generally are less expensive than softgels. Tablets can be hard to swallow and take longer to digest, but they are known to keep their potency in the bottle for a longer period.
Softgels are easier to swallow than tablets and are digested more quickly. Softgels are available with an enteric coating, which lessens the fishy odor and aftertaste sometimes experienced with fish oil pills. The nutrition benefit is the same, no matter which type of pill you finally choose.
Price should not be the only consideration when choosing fish oil pills. The cost of fish oil pills can vary greatly. By taking the time to compare labels and look for high DHA, you can be sure to get the most value for your money.