Fish oil is oil from fish, quite simple!
Fish oil is taken as a supplement due to its rich concentration of omega 3 fats, which are otherwise found in low amounts in most diets. Omega 3’s from fish oil are rich in two types of fatty acids:
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The fatty acids EPA and DHA are involved in regulating various biological processes such as the inflammatory response, various metabolic signaling pathways, and brain function. They can be synthesized in the body from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but in small amounts for most people.
EPA and DHA fats are important in the body for many different reasons, including:
Providing structure to the eyes, brain, and nervous system
Keeping cell membranes healthy, which allows cells to behave and communicate properly
Improved blood triglycerides
Reduced blood pressure
It improves mood in people with major depression
Fish oils can be sourced from different fish or a combination of fish. Common sources include:
sardine, mackerel, anchovy, herring, and salmon. Sometimes fish oil is derived from fish livers, such as cod liver oil or halibut liver oil. Fish oil can also be sourced from a variety of other sea life, such as fish roe, krill, shark, tuna, and squid.
Smaller fish like sardine, mackerel, and anchovy are often preferred sources for fish oil because they are more environmentally sustainable and are lower on the food chain, and therefore are less likely to accumulate environmental toxins such as heavy metals, PCBs, and dioxins.
Fish oil is an oily liquid that, depending on the source, can be colorless or have a subtle yellow tinge. Fresh fish oil generally smells and tastes only slightly fishy.
If fish oil smells or tastes strong, it is usually because of excess oxidation, meaning it has gone rancid.
Some sources of fish oil, such as those from salmon, krill, or fish roe will have a stronger fish taste as well as a mild to deep orange color, which comes from the presence of astaxanthin, a carotenoid in the vitamin A family.
Many brands flavor their oils (the most common flavor being lemon), so your fish oil will take on the taste and odor of whatever flavors have been added to it.
Generally, fish oil is sold as a liquid, or in capsules.
Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details
Fish oil doses vary depending on the goal of supplementation. For general health, 250mg of combined EPA and DHA is the minimum dose and can be obtained via fish intake.
If the goal of supplementation is to reduce soreness, a 6g dose, spread over the course of a day, will be effective but this is mainly for athletes
2-3g of Omega-3 per day is what most experts recommend for optimal health through our diet but it’s not likely to happen unless you eat fatty fish every day (which itself is a risk for heavy metal toxicity, depending on the fish you choose and it’s quality). Thus supplementation is regularly seen to be effective in research and cost effective.
One of the reasons we recommend Awesome Fish Oil capsules is because by taking 3 capsules per day means we get 2.25g total EPA and DHA, ensuring we never fall short of our needs and we support our health and recovery.
Since fish oil is a combination of two different fatty acids, these numbers reflect a combined total. Total eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) consumption should come from a mix of real food and supplements. The more EPA and DHA is provided by the diet, the less supplementation is required.
Fish oil can be taken throughout the day. To minimize the "fish burp" taste, take fish oil with meals or freeze the capsules.
First and foremost, follow the instructions on the supplement label for information on how to store your fish oil.
Generally, liquids should be stored in the fridge after opening. After three months, discard the bottle and whatever is left in it. Unless stated otherwise on the label, most fish oil will become rancid around this time.
Capsules are shelf-stable, unless the label says differently, but should be kept in a cool, dark, dry area to maintain freshness.
Follow the label for expiry dates.