When it comes to dosage, you’ll notice that fish oil supplements promote a certain amount of omega-3s on the front of the bottle. But if you flip that bottle over and look at the nutrition label, you’ll find that some brands are being sneaky, because they are actually advertising the amount of overall fish oil (instead of the actual omega-3 content from that fish oil) in their product.
To get to the crux of the confusion, you’ll want to add up the EPA plus DHA. That’s what matters. And to optimize your heart and brain health benefits, look for a product that delivers 1 gram (1,000 milligrams) or more of omega-3s (i.e., EPA and DHA).*
When considering where you get your omega-3s from, quality is top priority. Did you know, for example, that fish oil should not actually be fishy? That’s a sign of poor quality, rancid fish oil.
While we love to embrace plant-based ingredients whenever possible at mindbodygreen, the science behind plant-derived omega-3s (i.e., from seaweed and algae) simply isn’t as strong as marine omega-3s from fish. What’s more, algal omega-3 is heavily slanted on the DHA front (and lacking in EPA), and I know a balance of EPA plus DHA is optimal.
If you aren’t a strict vegetarian or vegan, consider a fish oil from wild-caught, cold-water, and single-origin fish (e.g., anchovies, sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring) that prioritizes purity and quality to optimize your whole-body health benefits.*
Finally, given what’s going on in our oceans, sustainability is nonnegotiable. Look for a brand that values its environmental impact and sources fish in the cleanest way possible.