Before we deliberate upon what are the best fish oil supplements, let us throw some light on the fish oil itself. The fish oil is extracted from the fatty tissues of some fishes such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Fish oil is considered to be important from health point of view because it has got omega-3 fatty acids which are an important nutrient for our body. A number of studies were conducted in recent years have suggested the importance of omega-3 in promoting good health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids. Important point is that the human body can' t make them and therefore you need to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play a vital role in brain functioning, as well as normal growth and development of human body. They are also known to have reduced the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (mainly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least twice a week. Research studies conducted on omega-3 fatty acids suggests that omega-3 reduces inflammation and may facilitate lowering risk of chronic ailments such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function; and its deficiency may cause fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, poor circulation etc.
In view of the importance of omega-3 as narrated above, it is vital that we must have them in our diet. The easiest way to consume omega-3 is by eating fish. Though this is an effective way for having omega-3 yet with contamination of water with all kinds of toxins like PCBs, dioxins, arsenic and heavy metals due to water pollution subsequent to post-industrialization, consuming fish from the said waters has become a risky proposition. It is a well known fact that contaminants contribute to a wide range of diseases such as cancer, blindness, birth defects and even death. This is the reason for which mostly people now a days turning to fish oil supplements for a solution. Fact remains that the fish oil supplements also suffer from the same problems despite the tall claims made by fish oil manufacturers as regards purity of their product. In a recent study it is revealed that the UK’s Food Standards Agency had directed the withdrawal of several fish oil brands on account of existence of contaminants in excessive levels!
Though some risks are inherent in fish oil supplements, yet there exist some guidelines that would enable us to evaluate fish oil supplement for potency and purity. If you want to know whether your fish oil product is safe, you need to ensure that the same is regularly tested by the International Fish Oil Standards program, or IFOS. This is a voluntary third-party testing organization that evaluates fish oil supplements under 5 different parameters viz. it has passed all CRN/WHO Testing Categories; it contains more than 60% Omega-3 Concentration; oxidation Levels are less than 75% of CRN standard; levels of PCB is less than 50% of CRN standard and dioxin levels is less than 50% of WHO standard.
Why IFOS standards were chosen? This is because of the fact that the standards employed by the CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) and WHO (World Health Organization) were not very strict and they were allowing large doses of fish oil. However, to get the benefits of the best fish oil supplements, you must frequently consume 1 gram of fish oil a day which is just healthy and good for you. It is not advisable to take more than 1 gram because of contamination risk. However, if you are taking fish oil manufactured by one of the best fish oil supplements brand that has got an IFOS-certification, then you are safe.
If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle free from diseases and ailments associated with omega-3 fatty acids, then take 1 gram of IFOS certified fish oil supplements daily. However, before you take the same do consult your physician, especially if you are pregnant, have existing medical conditions or are allergic to fish. Your search for a best fish oil supplements will end only then when you genuinely derive healthy health benefits from it.