Choosing the right fish oil supplement may not always be easy. One of the things to consider is that one should know about what makes such supplements valuable to health, which is its omega 3 fatty acid content. There are various sources of such essential fatty acids. It can be easy to question if there is indeed a difference between getting this nutrient from different sources.
Three Types Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
One of the things that people should know is that there are three known types of omega 3 fatty acids, the essential nutrient found in fish oil supplements. The three types of omega 3 fatty acids include EPA, DHA and ALA. ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid is a short chain omega 3 fatty acid that is usually found in plant sources such as flax seed, walnuts, canola and soybean oil. DHA or docosahexaenoic acid and EHA or eicosapentaenoic acid are considered as long chain omega 3 fatty acids. The latter two are those found in fish oil supplements.
The difference between short chain omega 3 fatty acids such as ALA and long chain omega 3 fatty acids has to do with how the body processes them. In order for the body to make use of such essential fatty acids, it has first to convert the short chain types into its long chain form. This does not usually happen readily. That is why fish oil supplements are considered more effective in providing the omega 3 fatty acids that it needs because it is already the long chain form which does not require any more conversion before the body can use them.
Effectiveness of Fish Oil Supplements
One of the other things to consider when choosing between fish oil supplements, and ones that are derived from plant sources, deals with their effectiveness and benefits. Experts believe that the long chain omega 3 fatty acids being sourced from fish oils prove to be more effective in terms of health benefits. These essential fatty acids have already been known to offer some benefit in preventing heart disease. With the short chain fatty acid ALA however, experts are not too sure if ever it does provide the same benefit because it may still require additional conversion before it can be used by the body.
Sources of Fish Oil
Now that you already know the difference between omega 3 fatty acids sourced from fish as well as those from plants, it seems that fish oil seem to have the upper hand. But this time there are some other things to consider. In order to get the type of fish oil supplements that offer the best source of long chain omega 3 fatty acids, people should know where they are being sourced from.
One important thing for consumers to look at when buying a fish oil supplement is the label. It should contain information of where the fish oil used in the supplement is being sourced from. Because there can be more than just one fish species to source out such supplements, it is important to clearly know what types of fishes these may be.
Certain labels may contain information of the fish oil being sourced from salmon, tuna or anchovies. This might be considered safe. But if labels on the said supplements only tell of fish oil or marine lipids, this should ring some warning bells. It may be possible that fish oils in such supplements may not be too sure where the source may come from, which might also cast some doubt on the purity of the fish oil being used