Many of us have heard about fish oil, and now the development of krill oil, calamari oil, emu oil... But which is best for ME?
Well firstly, which ever form you choose make sure your oil has an EPA/DHA ratio of 180/120mg to be effective to the body. (EPA stands for Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA stands for Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA))
Krill Oil vs Fish Oil vs Calamari Oil
Krill Oil is a nutrient-dense substance extracted from a tiny, bottom-of-the-food-chain crustacean that lives in the icy waters around the Antarctic.
Those in the krill oil business also say it is a safer and cleaner product because it is sourced from less contaminated waters.
The most important thing to know with Krill Oil, is that it needs to be taken with food (as the oil needs to mix with a digestive lipase to be "turned on". If taken on an empty stomach it will be lost)
Fish Oil does have the scientific evidence. The Omega-3 centre does not say Krill is better, but states
"At this stage, there are only a limited number of published studies on the benefits of krill oil compared to the extensive scientific evidence for long chain omega-3s from fish and algal oil. The Omega-3 Centre will watch with interest as further human studies on krill oil are published and will then assess the potential for recommendations regarding its intake".
Those allergic to a property found in Fish Oil, might prefer Krill oil, or those who need to take a lot of fish oil ie it is recommended to take 9 -14 fish oils a day if using to treat arthritis, may prefer the krill oil.
Calamari oil is not a deep sea oil and is not in the right formulation of EPA/DHA (the active components needed), its formulation is 400/100mg of EPA/DHA. So leave this one on the shelf.
How much omega 3s do I need?
For most of us, we need to have 2-3 serves of oily fish per week (150g/serve), which is equivalent to around 500mg of long chain omega-3s per day.
If you are not consistent with eating 2 pieces of Atlantic salmon each week, then a supplement will benefit you.
Can You have too much omega-3s?
Not really. (But if taking blood thinners, see your GP).
If you have a fatty liver, which is caused by a build up of triglycerides, fish oil will help to reduce them
Food Source Amt of omega-3 present
Fresh Salmon 120g 2.4g
Canned Salmon 100g 1.4g
Fresh Tuna 120g 1.4g
Canned Tuna 100g 0.2g
Canned Sardarines 100g 1.9g
NOTE!look at canned tuna!! It is really low in its active properties(its probably on par to chicken - lol, well maybe almost!)
Does eating canned tuna regularly give me my omega-3 recommendations?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer - the long chain omega-3 content in canned tuna does vary alot, so it can be hard to gauge how much is in your can. On Average canned Tuna is still very low in omega-3 amounts (check out the table below)
Reasons for variations in cans
• There are different species of tuna that have different levels of long chain omega-3s. Seasonal variations and the age of the tuna also effect the levels of long chain omega-3s.
• Some cleaning and cooking processes prior to canning can cause some of the oil to be lost from the fish. The oil that is lost is often collected, refined and re-enters the food supply as fish oil.
• The Omega-3 rich part of the tuna – the dark meat – may not be included in canned tuna as many consumers do not like the look or taste of the dark tuna meat so manufacturers do not include this part in specific canned tuna products.
My Tip: It is best to check the label to see if your canned tuna contains omega-3. Make sure you look in the Nutrition Information Panel for DHA and EPA and choose tuna with higher levels of these omega-3s, but don't rely on tuna to be your sole source of meeting your RDIs for omega-3s.
Did You know that the two oils omega 6 and omega 3 will compete for uptake, as they both require the same enzymatic pathway. Many of us eat too much omega 6 and when omega 6's is more in the bloodstream our omega 3s will not be absorbed by the body. Translation: lower your amount of omega 6 - this is safflower, sunflower, peanut, cottonseed, soybean and poly oils and use more of your olive and canola oil (hence check what oil your tuna is in)
Have you seen the "Heart Health" logo? This was introduced by the National Heart Foundation of Australia as a way of recognising fish oil's impact on cardiovascular health and to say that bottle of fish oil supplements has been independently tested and meet health requirements.
Concerned about safe marine practices?
It can be worth knowing which brands are supporting safe marine practices. Greenpeace released a document comparing all the different brands, if interested to know more (click below).