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Which fish oil supplement should I take?

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Sarah Brewer graduated as a doctor from Cambridge University. Having worked in hospitals and general practice, she gained a Master's degree in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey. She is the author of over 60 popular health books and writes widely on all aspects of health including complementary medicine. More from this expert.


Oily fish is packed with the essential fatty acid omega 3, which could have beneficial effects on your health and well-being including hear, brain function, eyesight and skin.

It’s recommended we eat at least one portion of fish per week, but if this doesn’t always feature in your diet, you could benefit from taking a fish oil supplement.

Our bodies aren’t able to produce omega 3 so it’s essential we get enough. Research has shown the fatty acid could help lower cholesterol, reduce joint pain and stiffness, and help improve nerve, hair and nail health.

However, one of the first choices to make is the source of omega 3 oil you wish to take. “Each has distinct differences and benefits,” says registered nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer. “EPA and DHA are the beneficial fatty acids found in oily fish and they are also found in grass-fed wild game. Unfortunately, these two sources aren’t exactly a staple of our diets. So, for those who eat little fish or game, there are supplements available offering an omega 3 solution.”

  • Cod liver oil

    Cod liver oil is popular because as well as EPA and DHA it also contains high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin D, which provide additional health benefits. Vitamin D is especially important during winter when we are not exposed to enough UV light to trigger its formation in our skin. If you choose to take a cod liver oil supplement, look for one that provides the highest amount of the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

  • Omega 3 fish oils

    Pure omega 3 supplements are often the richest source of both EPA and DHA. Select an omega 3 fish oil supplement that is made to GMP standards to ensure they are virtually free from marine pollutants. Those offered in the triglyceride (TG) form are most easily absorbed as they are more ‘body ready’.

  • Krill oil

    Krill oil, extracted from a shrimp-like Antarctic crustacean, is a rich source of EPA and DHA. It also contains two powerful antioxidants, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin, which give it an attractive red colour. This combination of omega 3s plus antioxidants makes krill a popular supplement to take.

  • Flaxseed oil

    Flaxseed is another vegetarian source of the short-chain omega 3, ALA, some of which is then converted by your body into the beneficial fatty acid EPA. It also contains some omega 6s but the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is a useful 3:1, helping to correct nutritional imbalances.


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Nutrition Expert sources the latest information and advice from a range of qualified doctors, nutritionists and coaches. We always endeavour to have the most up to date information possible and publish new content weekly. However with the constant research in this field sometimes some of our older articles can become out of date. If you see anything that you believe needs to be updated please let us know via our Contact Us page