For those who can’t or choose not to eat fatty fish, or who have certain health issues, supplementation is a way to increase omega-3 levels. “There are some conditions that might respond well to supplementation, such as depression or cardiovascular risk factors, including elevated triglycerides,” explains Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RDN, LDN.
If you decide to supplement, consider these words of advice:
1. Choose a cold-pressed supplement, which means the oil has been extracted with limited heat, says Jeanne Rosner, MD. “Always keep supplements in a cool, dark place.” This prevents oxidation from exposure to light and heat.
2. Look for third-party certification that indicates fish oil has been purified to remove PCBs, mercury, dioxins, and furans. Mark Pettus, MD, recommends researching products at consumerlab.com and labdoor.com.
3. Consider krill oil for its high bioavailability, says Pettus. “It’s a sustainable source of marine omega-3, and its bioavailability is as much as 30 to 40 percent better than other sources.”
4. Try blue-green algae supplements or spirulina for a vegetarian option, suggests Rosner.
5. Eat more ALA-rich foods like walnuts, flax, chia, hemp, and leafy greens. Rosner also recommends turmeric and black pepper, noting studies that suggest the active ingredients in these spices may together help increase the conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA.
6. Pare back on supplements when your diet is dialed in, says Kara Fitzgerald, ND. “If you’re eating more fatty fish some days, you can cut back on your supplements to balance out what you’re getting from your diet.”
This originally appeared as “The Omega Balance” in the September 2017 print issue of Experience Life.