Q: I’ve read and heard about the benefits of omega-3. How can I supplement my diet with it and how much should I have?
Omega-3 is great for your overall health no matter what your health concern is. You need 2000mg of omega-3 everyday. We all know fish is a great source of omega-3, but you cannot rely on that to meet your daily omega-3 requirements.
[Food talk: fish high in omega-3 fatty acids]
The issues with getting omega-3 from food are:
1. With increasing marine pollution, fish mostly has a lot of contaminants.
2. The amounts of omega-3 are not enough in most foods, salmon being an exception.
3. Oxidation of fat on cooking fish may not let the omega-3 benefit you much.
4. The bioavailability of omega-3 from seeds is disappointing.
It’s safer to rely on a high-quality omega-3 supplement, which would give you pure, non-contaminated form of omega-3 that usually comes with an antioxidant like vitamin E or others, making it more stable and bioavailable. You need to look for the following things when buying an omega-3 supplement:
• If the supplement says 1000mg omega-3 per capsule, you need to have two of these everyday. The front label would say 1000 or 2000mg omega-3 but the back label would show 300-ish mg DHA and similar amount of EPA, and the rest will be from other omega-3 fatty acids. You need to go for the one that has comparatively more EPA and DHA.
• It should have an antioxidant added so that the oil doesn’t go rancid or oxidised.
• For better absorption, look for omega-3 in the form of FFA (free fatty acids), TG, rTG (triglycerides and reformed triglycerides), and PLs (phospholipids), rather than EE (ethyl esters).
• Some supplements contain soy bean oil, sunflower oil or canola oil. Check the ingredients and make sure these are not on the list.
Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.