About Omega 3 Oils

Omega 3, what is it, health benefits,

and Omega 3 for vegetarians and vegans.


On this page:

What are Omega Oils?
Vegetarians, Vegans and Omega 3
Balancing Omega Oils
How Can Omega Oils Improve My Health?
Is Omega 3 Oil Fattening? + Oils to Cook with.
Omega 3 for Children
Natural Food Sources

Comparing Omega 3 Supplements: Fish Oil, Krill, Flax etc.
Cod Liver Oil
Fish Oil
Krill Oil
Vegan Omega 3 Sources
Flax Seed Oil
Hemp Oil
Buying and Storing Oils Safely
Recommended Products
Recommended Doses
Health Warnings PLEASE READ THIS especially if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Disclaimer

Information on this site is for educational and personal use only, and is not intended in any way as prescription or diagnosis. It is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have a medical condition, or take prescription medication, do not neglect good quality medical support.

The terms ‘treat’ and ‘treatment’, or similar, do not promise or imply cure.

Information given about products or their ingredients refers to research-based evidence; some sources of evidence are on the Links pages. It would be impossible to fit the information in these references onto each page.
Reference to ‘traditional use’ reflects well-documented common use, by ordinary people, over many years, often in more than one country. ‘Traditional use’ does not imply any research evidence or safety level, it is included for information only, and is not a recommendation.
No manufacturer or supplier has any financial interest in this website, or my business, nor do I have any financial interest in them. Although I sell Viridian products, they are also widely available elsewhere. Always read instructions on any product. Do not neglect medical guidance or treatment.

Please read Terms and Conditions before using this website.



What are Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 Oils?

Omega oils are given numbers because of their chemical structure. The molecules are shaped like chains, and have bonds in particular positions on the chain. The numbers 3, 6, 7 and 9 represent the place in that chain.

The technical name for these oils is ‘essential fatty acids’ or EFAs.

Omega oils are essential for the healthy function of our bodies. They are called ‘essential’ because we need to get them from food or supplements; our bodies cannot make them. For health benefits see: How Can Omega Oils Improve My Health?

Omega 3 is essential for many aspects of health, including cardio-vascular health, brain, bones and mood.

Omega 3 oil is made from several different ‘fatty acids’. The three most nutritionally important omega 3 fatty acids are:

• ALA - alpha-linolenic acid

• EPA - eicosapentaenoic acid

• DHA - docosahexaenoic acid.

Why do you need to know this? Because these fatty acids are not all equally easily digested. EPA and DHA are the most important, they are the usable, ‘animal’ forms of Omega 3. As human beings are animals, we need Omega 3 in this animal, usable form. Read more under Vegetarians, Vegans and Omega 3.

Omega 6 is also an essential oil for health, but is more widely available, as it occurs in most vegetable oils such as sunflower, groundnut etc. and foods such as poultry and eggs.

Omega 6 oils contain

• LA - Linoleic Acid

• AA - Arachidonic Acid

• GLA - Gamma Linoleic Acid

  GLA is often taken as a supplement, usually for PMS. Rich sources include Evening Primrose oil, Hemp oil and and Borage/Starflower oil.

Omega 7 is found mainly in Sea Buckthorn Oil. Omega 7 Consists of:

• Palmitoleic acid

• Cis-vaccenic acid

Omega 9, or oleic acid, occurs mainly in olive oil, also in Borage/Starflower oil. Oils rich in oleic acid
are generally very absorbent, good at carrying nutrients into the skin, and are commonly used in the skin care industry.

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 Vegetarians, Vegans and Omega 3

Omega 3 in vegetable foods occurs mainly as ALA. If food contains ALA, our bodies must convert it into EPA and DHA before it can be used.

Our bodies use a series of enzymes to convert ALA into a usable (animal) form. For this to work well, we need a healthy digestive system. We need adequate supplies of vitamins and minerals for the conversion. Other factors also inhibit the conversion to usable Omega 3: alcohol, saturated and hydrogenated fats, smoking, caffeine, stress.

Some people may have less of the conversion enzymes. This includes those with atopic allergies (asthma, eczema and hay fever which run in the family) diabetics, and older people.

Vegans and vegetarians need to be particularly careful to consume enough Omega 3 from ALA, as their bodies may only convert a small proportion to usable EPA and DHA. Although Flax oil is extremely rich in ALA, we may only convert between 2-15% of it. Poor health, digestive problems, and increasing age also slow the conversion rate.

vegan omega 3 from algeOmega 3 as DHA can be made from algae (micro seaweed), which are farmed in clean conditions. This is the same sort of algae as oily fish eat in order to become oily fish!  Algae is straightforward for the body to absorb. Other newer plant sources are becoming available.

See Vegan Omega 3 Sources

Further scientific advances may improve this situation, and it will also take some pressure off the world’s fish populations. It takes around 500Kg fish to make 1 Kg fish oil.

Health Tips

• Regularly include foods rich in Omega 3, see Food Sources.

• Take an algae-based supplement, particularly if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant.

• Ensure your diet includes good sources of the nutrients which aid Omega 3 conversion – zinc, magnesium, calcium, biotin and vitamins B6, B3 and C.

• Avoid things which inhibit conversion - alcohol, saturated and hydrogenated fats, smoking, caffeine, stress and excess vitamin A and copper.

• Balance your Omega oils. Excess Omega 6 reduces your body’s ability to convert Omega 3. See Balancing Omegas.

• Make sure your nuts seeds and oils are fresh and not rancid: see Buying and Storing Safely.


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 Balancing Omega Oils.

It is generally recommended that we keep a good balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in our diet. Excess Omega 6 reduces your body’s ability to convert Omega 3, because the two types compete in our bodies.

This balance should be around 1:3*, that is, one unit Omega 3 for every 3 units Omega 6. Modern diets are often have a ratio of 1:10 or even more, which contributes to an increase in long-term inflammatory diseases. It is easy to get Omega 6 from our modern European/American diet, and difficult to get Omega 3. This is why an Omega 3 supplement is a good idea.

    *or 1:1 - 1:4 or some say 1:6, but a low ratio.

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How Can Omega Oils Improve My Health?

Omega 3 oils have wide range of health benefits, in fact there are no systems of the body that do not benefit from Omega 3 oils.

  • Bone maintenance
  • Eye health
  • Immune balance and allergy
  • Mood and concentration, including hyperactivity, depression and Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Blood vessels, blood pressure, heart and cholesterol.
  • Cancer prevention
  • Help make Prostaglandins (a kind of hormone) in particular PGE 3 which is anti-inflammatory.

  Omega 3 has natural anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful in many conditions including the skin.

Omega 3 oil has 2 constituents, EPA and DHA.

EPA is best known for its cardio-vascular benefits. (See Heart, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol.) It may also protect arteries, lower cholesterol, and slightly thin the blood (see Health Warnings). There is also some research evidence for help with cystic fibrosis, asthma, mood problems, and colitis.

DHA is essential for the development of the infant brain and nervous system, and it is a good idea to take extra if you are planning pregnancy, or are pregnant. Breast milk contains DHA but not EPA and nature knows best. Research also shows benefits for blood pressure, cholesterol, arthritis, and the effects of stress. (See Heart, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. )

All Omega 3 has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and may help some people with migraine, painful periods, and skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Omega 3 is also thought to be beneficial in depression, although recent preliminary evidence suggests that depression may be aggravated more by an excess of Omega 6, than by a deficiency of Omega 3. See Balancing Omegas.

Omega 6 is frequently taken as a supplement, as GLA in Evening Primrose, Borage or Starflower oil, and Blackcurrant oil. It is often helpful for hormone balance, especially for PMS in the reproductive years.

Omega 6  like Omega 3, is also involved in making Prostaglandins (a kind of hormone), but this time PGE 1 & 2. PGE1 helps dry skin and blood circulation. PGE2 helps blood clotting and is also an inti-inflammatory - but only if the other prostaglandins are in balance. Excess Omega 6 disturbs the balance, and can lead to more inflammation. See Balancing Omegas.

Omega 7 has been marketed in recent years. It is commonly derived from Sea Buckthorn oil. It is used for mucous membrane health, including menopausal vaginal dryness.

Omega 9 is beneficial for cardio-vascular health and immune function. The easiest way to get it is by using good quality olive oil.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is another form of naturally occurring fat. Some cholesterol is essential for a healthy life! The important thing is a good balance of the different types of cholesterol – high density, low density and tri-glycerides. Contrary to popular belief, scientific opinion is divided on what is a healthy cholesterol level.

Omega 3 oils are generally beneficial for cardio-vascular health and healthy cholesterol levels. Some people avoid oil and margarine, and use cholesterol-lowering margarines. These contain small amounts of compounds called phytostanols. Phytostanols block the absorption of dietary cholesterol. They are very expensive, and if you do need to reduce your cholesterol, it may be better value to take a supplement, and use ordinary butter or olive-oil margarine. Please see Natural Remedies for Heart, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol, or use the Natural Health Answers REPORT.

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Is Omega 3 Oil Fattening?

+ Oils to Cook With.

omega 3 is not fatteningSee also Natural Remedies for Weight Control.

It is true that large amounts of oil or fat can be fattening, because they contain a lot of calories. Fats and oils contain on average 9 calories per gram, while carbohydrate contains on average 4 calories per gram. However, most of the fatty foods that we eat do not contain Omega 3. The amount of Omega 3 we eat is usually a very small proportion of our total calorie intake. An average supplement of 500 - 2000mg Omega 3 contain very few calories, and is essential for health!

Omega oils like Omega 3 can actually help you optimize your weight. They help balance blood sugar, reducing cravings. They help us feel full for longer. And they help our bodies to burn fat appropriately.

Types of Oil

All oils in the diet can be divided into types, depending on their chemical structure:

• Mono-unsaturated: A few vegetable oils: Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Canola Oil, Olive Oil, Peanut/Groundnut Oil. These oils are suitable for cooking.

• Poly-unsaturated: Most vegetable oils: Corn Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Hemp Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil, Soybean Oil, Sunflower Oil. These oils are not suitable for cooking.

• Saturated Fats: Animal fat and some tropical oils: Beef fat, Butter, Coconut Oil, Ghee, Lard, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Oil.

• Trans-fats: Oils that are modified (hydrogenated) to be solid. We have known that these are very dangerous to health since 1957. They are carcinogenic; avoid any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats or oils. Found in margarines and many processed foods.

Fats and oils are necessary for health.

They contain nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins and anti-oxidants (A, E, K, carotenoids), that we cannot get anywhere else. Here is how to safeguard your health and watch your weight:

• Use only the healthiest oils for cooking: mono-unsaturates such as olive or peanut/groundnut oil.

• Use small amounts of oil and avoid deep-frying.

• Buy good quality oil, cold pressed, and if possible organic and virgin oils.

• Avoid all trans-fats (hydrogenated fats). Use an olive-oil spread, or butter, in moderation.

• Avoid low-fat or no-fat diets, use your common sense instead.

• Include Omega 3 foods and/or take an Omega 3 supplement.

• Get enough exercise!

See also: Natural Remedies for Weight Control.

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Omega 3 for Children

Omega 3 is essential for children as it is for adults. The DHA component of Omega 3 is particularly important for the developing brain and nervous system, in the womb and infants.
There is some debate about the benefit of Omega 3 in children’s intelligence and concentration. Some research suggests that Omega 3 is very helpful in improving children’s concentration, IQ scores, and for problems such as ADD and ADHD, sometimes in conjunction with vitamins. Others dispute this.
I believe all children should receive adequate Omega 3, from diet or supplements, whether or not they have learning difficulties. It has many long-term health benefits in addition to brain health – we have nothing to lose. Whether you give your child Omega 3 as a supplement or through diet, is your choice. If you want to use a supplement for attention or behaviour problems, read the directions carefully, and be aware that if it produces any benefit, this may takes around a month to begin to show.
children and omega 3
Children often cannot take pills or capsules.
It is unlikely that small children will take oil from a spoon.
Children may not eat oily fish, shellfish or green vegetables!

See Recommended Products, and also try these ideas:
• Some children’s Omega 3 supplements, such as EyeQ, are flavoured, chewable capsules or pastes. They are often colourful or animal-shaped, although they are expensive.
• some children’s Omega 3 oils are flavoured with citrus or vanilla and quite easy to take by the spoonful; worth a try though some do not like the oily feel.
• An Omega 3 sprinkle is easy and tasty to add to vegetables, cereal, salad, fruit or yogourt. Look for powdered flax seeds such as Granovita ‘Linusprout’, available plain or with added fruit. Buy small amounts, store cool and use it quickly for maximum value.
• Grind your own nuts or seeds. A small coffee mill will do the job. Grind fresh each day, they oxidise quickly.
• Add Omega 3 oil to foods such as mashed potato, yogourt or fruit puree, after cooking. Start with small amounts. or add the powder from a Viridian vegan DHA capsule to food.
• Just add plenty of different Omega 3 rich foods to the family menu. See Food Sources.
• See also: My Child Can’t Take Tablets, on the Children’s Illness pages.
For more information about children's health, see Children's Illness,  or use the Natural Health Answers REPORT.


Natural Food Sources of Omega 3

Over an evolution of millions of years, humans have been designed to need, and to consume, Omega 3 oil in foods. This is clear because we cannot make it in our bodies, yet without it, our health will suffer. Neolithic people would have obtained Omega 3 from a range of foods – they ate a much wider range of foods than Western European/Northern American people do now.

It is significant that most early human communities were alongside water or the sea, and relied heavily on water for sources of food, many of which naturally contain Omega 3.

Omega 3 occurs naturally in the following foods:
Eggs                     especially free range.

Meat                         such as wild game, venison, buffalo. Meat from grass-fed animals, such as lamb. Also, seal                                 meat and blubber, though I am not recommending this.

Milk                      Milk and cheese from naturally grass-fed animals.

Nuts/Seeds          walnuts, flax seeds(linseed; must be crushed). A little in pecans.

Oily fish/Seafood                   

Here is a list of fish classed as oily.

Anchovies, Bloaters, Cacha, Carp, Crab, Eel, Herring, Hilsa, Jack Fish, Kippers, Mackerel, Mussels, Oyster, Pilchards, Salmon, Sardines, Shrimp (not prawns), Sprats, Squid, Swordfish, Trout, Fresh Tuna, Whitebait (reference: thewhitbycatch.co.uk and other sites).

Canned Tuna is not classed as oily but fresh Tuna is. This is because the canning process of the tuna reduces the Omega 3 fatty acid content. The Omega 3 fatty acid content of other canned fish is not affected.

The livers of certain non-oily fish such as cod or halibut.
Vegetables          squash, raw tofu, soybeans, some algae (seaweeds), dark-green leaves such as spinach, chard, kale. Also Purslane, Sea Buckthorn. See Vegetarians, Vegans and Omega 3.

Oils                          especially flax, hemp, walnut.
For risks in food, see Health Warnings.


Links on this page

What are Omega Oils?
Vegetarians, Vegans and Omega 3
Balancing Omega Oils
How Can Omega Oils Improve My Health?
Is Omega 3 Oil Fattening?
Omega 3 for Children
Natural Food Sources

Comparing Omega 3 Supplements: Fish oil, Krill, Flax etc

Buying and Storing Oils Safely
Recommended Products
Recommended Doses
Health Warnings




Buying and Storing of Oils Safely
storage of oilsOils are mostly extremely vulnerable to damage by heat, light and oxygen. When exposed for too long, Omega 3 oils become oxidized and are no longer healthy. They produce ‘free radicals’ which may be carcinogenic. The highest risk is in bottled oils once opened, especially when little oil remains and the bottle is full of air.

In natural whole foods, oils are protected by other ingredients in the food, such as anti-oxidants, and by the natural shell or skin. Whole seeds and nuts keep for a while, but cracked seeds or ground nuts oxidize very quickly. Always store nuts and seeds sealed, in a cool dark place; use within the ‘best by’ date, and use ground nuts or seeds very quickly, ideally within 24 hours.

Store oils in a dark brown or green glass bottle, away from direct sunlight and in a cool place, preferably in the fridge. Olive oil in particular may set into white flakes when cool, this is natural and the oil will become clear when warm. Buy small quantities and use quickly.

Store capsules according to directions and always in an opaque container. Keep all supplements out of reach of children.

Extraction methods.
Vegetable oils can be extracted from nuts and seeds by several methods: check your label.

• Cold-pressed oils may be pressed slowly, or use faster water-cooled machinery. Virgin oil is the first cold-pressing and is the tastiest and healthiest oil. This method is less efficient and more expensive.
• Most mechanically pressed oils use high pressure and heat to extract more oil.
• Solvent extraction use solvents to dissolve oils from crushed seed and nuts; the mixture is then heated. It is very efficient and cheap, and often used for cooking oils.
• Unrefined oil is simply filtered. It may have sediment.
• Refined oils are clear, odourless, and less tasty than unrefined oils, and are more suitable for high-temperature cooking. Refining can include as many as 40 different steps, including bleaching, deodorizing, and degumming.

Cooking
When heated, many oils oxidise and lose their health value. Some even become dangerously carcinogenic. Avoid overheating or burning any oil. This also applies to fried or grilled meats or nuts: do not burn or overheat them. Do not cook at all with Omega 3 oils such as flax or walnut oil. Use them raw and fresh as a dressing.

The safest oils for cooking are olive and peanut/groundnut oils: mono-unsaturated oils are more stable at high temperature. Other oils may become carcinogenic if overheated.

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Comparing Sources of Omega 3

Read here about the many different sources of Omega 3 in supplements, both capsules and bottled oils

Cod Liver Oil
Fish Oil
Krill Oil
Oil from Algae
Flax Seed Oil
Hemp Oil


Cod Liver Oil

cod liver oilOne of the oldest established sources of Omega 3; this was originally only available as bottled oil, sometimes taken neat, sometimes with orange juice or malt. Most people hate the taste but some love it! Now it is available in capsules, even vegan capsules for those who do not want gelatine.

The livers of some fish such as cod and halibut are rich in oil, although the fish itself is not an ‘oily fish’. This is not the richest source of Omega 3, containing on average only 25% Omega 3. Due to the high vitamin content of vits A and D, which can accumulate in the human liver, it is not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or infants: see Health Warnings.

Modern oils are all filtered for contaminants such as heavy metals (mercury, cadmium). However it is worth remembering that the liver is an organ designed to filter and accumulate toxins. And the cod population is over-fished, and needs protection.

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Fish Oil

fish oilUnlike fish liver oils, pure fish oil is made from whole fish. Oily fish have oil in the whole body and are more economical. They also have lower concentrations of toxins than the liver oils, although in modern products, all contaminants are filtered out.

Fish oil is an economical source of Omega 3, containing on average 30% Omega 3. This means a 1000mg capsule will contain 300mg Omega 3 – the rest is just ordinary oil.

However it is not economical in terms of fish. It takes very many kilos of fish to produce a kilo of Omega 3 oil. Eating the whole fish ourselves gives us many other nutrients in addition to the Omega 3 oil.

Send me your favourite oily fish recipes!

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Krill Oil

this is not krill but a related crustaceanRecently, Omega 3 has become available in the form of krill oil.

Krill are tiny sea creatures related to shrimp; they are a major food source of many marine organisms, including the great whales, seals, and penguins. There are several species. They are numerous in the oceans, especially cold oceans such as the Antarctic. In fact collectively, they form one of the greatest bio-masses (largest living organisms) in the world.


Omega 3 from krill is excellent in quality. Like most fish oils, it is processed to exclude any toxins. It includes anti-oxidants such as vitamins A, E, and astaxanthin (related to carotenoids), and it is readily absorbed by our bodies. Unlike Cod Liver Oil, it does not contain vitamin D (too much Vit. D can be toxic).

Manufacturers claim that because krill is so numerous, harvesting it poses no threat to the marine environment. I am not sure we can be so certain. Certainly, a small amount of krill has been harvested as a food source for a long time. More recently, a huge amount of krill is being
harvested as food for industrially farmed fish. New technology is increasing harvests, and fishing for supplements can easily exceed recommended levels. Krill is also very vulnerable to global warming. I suggest that we pay attention to any warnings issued by marine ecological groups about krill fishing.

For these reasons I do not recommend krill oil.

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Vegan Omega 3

vegan omega 3 from algeOmega 3 consists of two essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Both of these components have health benefits. Please see How Can Omega Oils Help My Health?  for more details.

Vegan sources are difficult and may be considerably more expensive than animal sources. Until recently, only vegan DHA was available, made from algae. Algae are micro-seaweed, which for this purpose are farmed in clean conditions.

Recently, a method has been found to extract both EPA and DHA from algae, and products are becoming available. I am sure more will be available in the future. I do not know if these are available in shops; maybe you can buy online. See Vegetarians and Omega 3.

News 2010: new products are appearing with vegan DHA and EPA. The EPA is derived from newer plant sources such as Echium. I will publish more information when I have it.
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Flax Seed Oil

flax seed linseed“wherever flax seed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Flax is also known as Linseed. Linseed oil from DIY shops is NOT suitable for food use!

Golden Flax seed is a form developed for human food, but its health benefits are no different from brown flax. Flax oil comes from the seeds.

The Omega 3 oil in flax seed is ALA. Flax oil is the richest source of Omega 3 that is commonly available, containing on average 50-55% Omega 3. Compare this with 30% in fish oil. However it is not as easy to absorb (see Vegetarians and Omega 3).

This Omega 3 oil has all the benefits you might expect, cardio-vascular, cholesterol levels, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritis, immune balance and skin health.

Flax oil is available as capsules or as pure oil. Flax oil has a pleasant buttery, nutty taste. You can take the oil from a spoon, or it combines well with many foods, so it is easy for children to take. Flax oil is ideal to add to salads, cooked vegetables, mashed potato, yogourt or cooked fruit. Do not cook with flax oil. Around 1 tbs/15 ml day is a good dose. Store correctly, and do not use if it tastes bitter or rancid (see Storage). Unlike fish oil, flax oil causes no fishy burps!

Flax seeds have many other benefits including bowel health, and hormone and immune balance. Our bodies can only extract the oil if the seeds are ground or crushed. If you grind your own seed, do this fresh every day.

Ground flax is available in the UK and is a wonderful healthy Omega 3 sprinkle for food, suitable for children too. You can also buy cracked flax seed.

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Hemp Oil

hemp oilHemp is a form of the same plant as marijuana, but has no significant quantities of the psychoactive compounds. Hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and hemp fibre have been used for thousands of years.

Hemp seed is the seed richest in all Omega oils. It contains a ration of 1:3 Omega 3 to Omega 6, an ideal ratio for health (see Balancing Omegas).

Hemp oil contains GLA and Magnesium, which can be beneficial for PMS and menstrual problems.
Hemp oil has all the benefits of Omega 3: cardio-vascular, cholesterol levels, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritis, and immune balance. Hair, skin and nails have shown benefits in trials with hemp oil.

Hemp oil has a pleasant taste and can be added to food like flax oil, above. 1 tbs/15ml hemp oil is a useful daily dose. Hemp seed can be eaten, it is very crunchy. Shelled hemp seed is easier. 1-2 tbs day is a good measure.


Recommended Omega 3 Products

  Products are widely available in shops and online. Try your local independent health shop first!

These are Omega 3 products.
For Recommended Omega 6,7 and 9 products, please use the Natural Health Answers REPORT.

Bottled Oils

Store with care and use quickly, see Buying and Storing Safely. Children’s oils are often flavoured. Flax and hemp oils are useful to add to the diet.

Cod Liver Oil

Not recommended, for these reasons: Only contains an average 25% Omega 3. Highest risk of contaminants, as a fish liver, like a human liver, filters contaminants. Cod numbers are in serious decline. Contains high levels of vits A and D which are a risk to infants and pregnant/breastfeeding women. Fishy after-taste, see Health Warnings.

Fish Oil: 

Contains an average 30-35% Omega 3 and usually good value. May leave fishy after-taste, see Health Warnings. Many brands available and I believe all are carefully filtered for contaminants.

DHA from Algae, other Vegan Omega 3:

See above Vegan Omega 3 Sources.

Children’s Omega 3:

There are many children's products on the market, and I cannot give reliable up-to-date information on this website. This is a rapidly changing market. My personal preference is to persuade children to eat foods containing Omega 3 as part of their diet. If this does not work for your child, look for a pure bottled oil or a ground flax seed you can add to food. 
Consider a chewable product, they are easier than swallowing capsules. Check ingredients of these especially carefully
. Some contain dangerous sweeteners, colours and other additives. I consider Xylitol, Sorbitol and even sugar to be suitable sweeteners for children in moderation, but not others, particularly: Aspartame, Acetsulfame, Saccharin.
Some companies produce special small children's capsules.
For nursing infants and pregnant women, specialist DHA oils are available, but it is OK to use regular fish oil, just don't use fish liver oils because of the vitamin A content. Breastmilk itself contains DHA.



Recommended Doses of Omega 3

dosage of omega oils You will see widely different recommendations on dosage. For example between 500mg and 4 grams Omega 3 oil per day. Recommended doses should be considered in conjuction with the individual needs and dietary intake of any adult or child. Common sense and finances should limit our intake somewhat.

Suggestions:
Children 3 to 12. 100-500mg/day
12 to adult, 500-1000mg (1g) fish oil or equivalent per day, as a health maintenance dose. Higher amounts are quite safe and may be beneficial, as long as you have no contraindications (see Health Warnings), and are working with a doctor or qualified health professional.

For young children with healthy digestive systems, an Omega sprinkle based on flax seed is very easy. Flavoured pastes and chews are also available. For infants, specialist DHA supplements are available, use the
Natural Health Answers REPORT for more info. See Omega Oils for Children.

In the case of particular illnesses, please use the
Natural Health Answers REPORT for more detailed information.

Remember, the oil content of a supplement is not the same as the Omega 3 content.
For example:
Cod Liver Oil average Omega 3, 25%
Fish Oil average Omega 3, 30%
Flax Oil average Omega 3, 55% though mostly ALA


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Health Warnings

These warnings are for educational purposes only, and are not intended to be comprehensive.
Please consult your doctor or other qualified health professional for individual guidance. See also Terms and Conditions of this website.

If you would like health advice for your individual situation you may use the
Natural Health Answers REPORT.

Fat-soluble vitamins

Pregnant and breastfeeding women need to be cautious about their intake. Fish liver oils such as cod or halibut liver oil, and krill oil, contain large amounts of vitamin A and D that can accumulate in the liver, and are toxic to a growing baby. Oily fish and shellfish are also high in vits A and D. Choose a different source.

Blood-thinning medication

If you take any medications similar to warfarin, you should avoid Omega 3 oils until this has been cleared by your doctor. Naturally, Omega 3 is helpful for your whole heath including your cardio-vascular health. However, the dosage of blood-thinning medication is critical, and needs to be stabilised. If you are taking an Omega 3 supplement when your medicine is stabilised, you must continue to take the same dose of Omega 3, or you may de-stabilise your medication.

Gall Bladder Problems

You do not need a gall bladder to effectively absorb omega 3 oils. With any medical problem, it is wise to begin any new supplement slowly, this includes omega 3 oils. Consult your doctor if you think it is causing problems.

Seeds

Avoid whole or cracked seeds if you have any history of bowel obstruction. Ground seeds may be safe, ask your health professional or doctor.

Fish/shellfish allergy

If you are sensitive to shellfish, do not take Krill oil supplements.
If you are sensitive to fish, obviously you should avoid fish oil and cod liver oil supplements!

Farmed fish

Farmed salmon contain long-lived industrial chemicals that increase the risk of cancer, as a major study in 2004 showed. Farmed salmon may also contain more Omega 6 than Omega 3 because it is fed artificial food.

Wild salmon and other wild oily fish carry lower levels of PCBs, dioxins and other contaminants, but may be a cancer risk if eaten too often. It is safest to limit oily fish intake to 1-3 portions per week, less for children and none for pregnant women. Be sure to include plenty of other Omega 3 foods in the diet, or take a supplement.

After-taste

Some people find fish oil supplements leave a fishy aftertaste or give them fishy burps. Always take with food. Vegetable sources and krill oil do not taste fishy.

For more detail on individual foods or nutrients, please use the Natural Health Answers REPORT.

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Links on this page

What are Omega Oils?

Vegetarians, Vegans and Omega 3

Balancing Omega Oils

How Can Omega Oils Improve My Health?

Is Omega 3 Oil Fattening?

Omega 3 for Children

Natural Food Sources

Comparing Omega 3 Supplements: Fish Oil, Krill, Flax etc.

Buying and Storing Oils Safely

Recommended Products

Recommended Doses

Health Warnings


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