gel capsulesAmong the top five supplements in my naturopathic nutraceutical tool kit – I would place fish oil in the top 2 (maybe only second to magnesium whose magical mineral qualities have been celebrated in a separate post). What I value most about using fish oil in my practice to support my patients’ health and well-being is the versatility and trusted response from this age-old remedy. All ages can benefit from the healing properties of the omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are the main components of fish oil supplements. EPA and DHA are referred to as essential fatty acids because our bodies cannot synthesize them and they must be obtained through the diet. Aside from wild cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, cod and mackerel, additional food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flax seeds, green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables.

In infants, DHA supplementation supports early stages of neurocognitive development and similarly, boosting levels of DHA in aging populations can help prevent cognitive decline. Increasing EPA levels often results in a lowering of inflammation in the body – whether that inflammation is expressed as eczema on the skin or as arthritis in the joints. A wide range of health conditions have demonstrated benefit in response to fish oil supplementation in clinical research including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, recovery from concussions, mood disorders, and general improvements in immune health.

When selecting a fish oil supplement for a patient, there are several factors I take into consideration:

  1. Quality: A high-quality fish oil supplement will generally not smell fishy (if you are using capsules) and will rarely be burped back up when taken with food. Since toxins are naturally stored in fats, selecting a fish oil product that has been highly tested for heavy metals and toxins by a third-party lab is critical.
  2. Dosage: Whether using capsules or a liquid version of fish oil, I typically recommend that patients take a minimum of 1,000 mg of EPA + DHA daily.
  3. Affordability: Liquid fish oil is often more affordable than capsules (i.e. you get more for your money per dose.) With fish oil, you do get what you pay for, so it is always better to invest in quality when possible.

Based on these criteria, one of the brands of fish oil that I have used consistently in my practice over the last 8 ½ years is Pharmax’s Finest Pure Fish Oil liquid blend. In one teaspoon of this preparation, patients can intake a high dose of both EPA and DHA once per day rather than taking up to 4+ capsules of an encapsulated fish oil product, thus making the liquid preparation more affordable. I especially recommend the Finest Pure Fish Oil for patient experiencing dry/scaling skin conditions, cardiovascular health concerns, mood disorders, and arthritic conditions associated with pain.

As with all fish oil products that I recommend, Pharmax ensures the quality of their fish oil supplements through third party testing which screens for heavy metal toxicity, pesticides and radiation. In May 2014, Pharmax’s fish oils were tested as “best in class” for quality assurance by third party vendor Silliker, Inc., an international network of leading accredited testing and consulting laboratories for the food industry.

Please consult your healthcare provider before introducing new supplements to ensure safe dosages and to avoid any contraindications. Fish oil can cause thinning of the blood and therefore should be avoided before surgery. If you are taking blood thinning medications or have a clotting disorder, please consult your physician before using fish oil as a supplement.

DisclaimerWhile Dr. Telfair has been recommending Pharmax’s Finest Pure Fish Oil liquid orange flavor for over eight years in practice without any financial affiliations with Phamrax, Pharmax provided a free sample of their Finest Pure Fish Oil strawberry flavor for this product review. Dr. Telfair and NDHealthcare.com did not receive any monetary compensation for publishing this product review.