Omega-3 Supplements

There are continuous arguments within the media and the nutrition community over the best way to get vitamins, minerals, and especially fatty acids to the body. It is certainly true that natural dietary intake of omega-3 is the ideal way of getting the antioxidants the body needs. It is also true that most people do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. Nevertheless, like with many healthy substances, omega-3 fatty acids can be conveniently supplemented in the form of capsules or other preparations.

In most cases supplements are derived from foods that contain omega-3. Probably the most popular omega-3 supplement is fish oil in gelcaps. It is taken from fish caught in the world's great oceans, cod, halibut, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines. Fish actually do not produce the omega-3 oils but store it after eating micro-algae which do produce the substance. These fish are chopped up and processed. A centrifuge separates the oil and the solids. The solids are then used to feed salmon in salmon farms as well as livestock on animal farms. Meanwhile the oils are used to make fish oil capsules.

There is some debate about the amount of toxins in fish oil. Some fish, especially predatory fish, consume mercury and other substances. These toxins are generally stored in fatty acids. Nevertheless, toxins can be removed from oils during the production process. Reputable supplement manufacturers institute processes to keep toxins to safe levels for human consumption. So part of ensuring maximum benefit from omega-3 supplements is to choose a good brand. In fact, it is far safer to get omega-3 from purified fish oil than it is to consume it in the form of cooked fish.

How much omega-3 fatty acid is optimum for good health? Ideal amounts have not been established. However, it is good to note that one 1000 mg capsule per day is better than none at all. Most supplement manufacturers suggest about 3000 milligrams per day to get enough omega-3 fatty acids to perform all of their vital functions.

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