If you don’t take in enough omega-3s through your diet alone (which, remember, research suggests is pretty likely, since 90 percent of us aren’t even consuming the baseline two-fish-per-day recommendation), an omega-3 supplement—whether in the form of high-quality fish oil or algal oil (more expensive, and skewed high in DHA)—can ensure you meet your daily needs.
Just how much you supplement, of course, depends on individual health factors and priorities, such as heart health needs or key life stages.* “Omega-3 supplements are also something I look at right away when speaking to clients who are pregnant or are interested in becoming pregnant,” Kelly adds.
Since contaminants from the ocean like heavy metals are a consideration in whole fish and fish oils, it’s very important to look for a quality product that prioritizes purity testing, to ensure the lowest levels possible. You’ll also want a brand that takes steps to ensure oxidation parameters are minimized in their fish or algal oils.
Ferira shares this rule-of-thumb: “The more clear the fish oil and the less smelly (i.e., fishy), the better. This indicates purity, freshness, and high standards for things like oxidation.” She goes onto say, “you’ll also want a product that is authentic, and confirms their fish species and origin, so you know what you’re getting and whether it’s sustainably sourced.”
Another feature to look for is potency, since efficacy is directly tied to the potency (or dose) of active ingredients. Check your label to ensure your supplement contains the amounts of EPA and DHA you’re looking for.
As Ferira explains, “It’s not the total fish oil or omega-3 concentrate you’re after; turn over the bottle and count the total EPA plus DHA. That is the number that matters and that science has researched.” (You’ll get 1,500 milligrams of EPA and DHA in each serving—just two softgels—of omega-3 potency+ from mindbodygreen.)