The Many Faces of Omega-3s
April 2015, Xtend-Life Expert
Most experts will say if there’s one supplement that should be part of your routine, it’s an omega-3 fatty acid. According to the experts at WebMD.com, omega-3 fatty acids may lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, ease the joint pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent depression while boosting the effects of antidepressants.
Most experts will say if there’s one supplement that should be part of your routine, it’s an omega-3 fatty acid.
According to the experts at WebMD.com, omega-3 fatty acids may lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, ease the joint pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent depression while boosting the effects of antidepressants. An important component to child development, omega-3s - which include the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA – have been linked to improved learning as well as reduced symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It has also been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in adults. (Ref. 1)
What’s not to love about this superstar of the nutrient world?
Your body can’t make its own omega-3 fatty acids, so they have to come from dietary sources. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish per week to meet dietary needs.
When possible, you should get as much of the omega-3 fatty acids you need from foods.
Eating fish with high levels of both DHA and EPA will help meet your omega-3 needs. They include:
Fish with high levels of mercury or other toxins include mackerel, wild swordfish, tilefish and some sharks (also known as swai in some supermarkets), and intake should be limited.
ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid) is another omega-3 fatty acid, but it is found in plants, making it a good option for vegans to boost the omega-3 levels in their diets. Sources include flaxseed, walnuts, olive oil, canola oil and soybean oil.
ALA is a desirable nutrient but it will not provide the benefits that DHA and EPA provide. Some younger people are able to convert a small fraction of it to EPA but less to DHA. On the other hand it is easy for the body to convert DHA to EPA and then down to ALA. This is because it just drops off some ‘carbon bonds’. For this reason vegetarians should consider taking fish oil for their overall health.
Still, since most of us don’t eat enough fish of the right type to get the essential omega-3s we need in our diets, we often turn to supplements to meet our body’s needs. And here, we can find ourselves struggling to make a decision about which supplement – fish oil, krill oil or green-lipped mussel – is right for us.
A tale of two fish oils
Given the hundreds of news stories celebrating the health benefits of fish oil – and the evidence which shows that healthier populations live in countries that consume more fish - it’s no wonder we’re adding it to our supplement regimen.
But here’s the rub.
For every fish oil that is crafted with good health in mind, there are many others on the market that offer little by way of benefits – just a fishy burp to remind you that you took it.
The majority of fish oil supplements harvest their oil from fish caught off the coast of South America, which is then shipped to refining facilities where it is processed – either with high temperatures or chemicals – in much the same way vegetable oil is crafted.
Before we developed our first fish oil product at Xtend-Life, we looked at how the others were doing it, and decided to do it differently.
Our fish oils are made from Hoki fish harvested off the coast of New Zealand, an area of the Southern Ocean that is amongst the most pristine in the world, as well as exceptionally pure tuna oil.
Our research showed that even though it is well established that much of the benefits from fish oil come from the DHA and EPA, there are essential components in natural fish oil which are lost when the oil goes through a concentration process to increase the levels of DHA and EPA.
So, we did something that no one else in the industry had done (and still haven’t), and that is we took natural hoki oil in a non-concentrated form and blended it with a very highly concentrated tuna oil. This ended up giving us and our customers the best of both worlds…natural fish oil with all the components intact but also with high levels of Omega 3 and in particular DHA.
Because of the sources of the oil and the processing, our fish oil products are exceptionally pure, and they avoid the need for unpleasant fishy burps.
Green-lipped mussel: An exotic – effective – omega-3
A good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – a group that includes omega-3s as well as some eicosatetraenoic acids (ETAs) – green-lipped mussel has power-packed nutritional benefits.
While Green Lipped Mussel offers great benefits, the modest Omega 3 content means that you should supplement with additional Omega 3. Our Xtend-Life Green-Lipped Mussel Powder is designed to help support the joints in coping with the discomfort associated with joint problems, soothe aches and pains from exercise or aging, stiffness from repetitive motions and inflammation.
Green-lipped mussel also contains natural forms of glucosamine and chondroitin. These assist in making it a powerful workhorse when it comes to joint health support.
While most processing erases many of the benefits of the green-lipped mussel, ours are transformed from fresh, live mussel to finished product in 30 minutes, ensuring that the end product is as fresh and close to its original state – the way most food items are at their healthiest – as possible.
Krill Oil: Not good value for money!
Krill oil is really an interesting product but it does not really appear to have the additional benefits that are often claimed, and compared to fish oil it offers poor value for money. There are a number of things that people should consider before buying krill oil.
- The marketers of krill oil claim that it is more sustainable than fish oil. Well, krill is caught solely for the purpose of converting into oil for supplements. The entire marine ecosystem starts with krill so by reducing the amount of krill in the ocean may severely affects the food chain, especially whales as they need large amounts of krill to sustain their metabolisms. At Xtend-Life, our fish oil does not impact fish resources because the Hoki and Tuna fish are not caught just for their oil...they are caught for their flesh for human consumption.
- Krill oil marketers also claim that the astaxanthin found in krill makes the krill oil more beneficial because of its antioxidant properties. Yes, this is true, astaxanthin is a great antioxidant but the amount found in krill is a fraction to the amount we use in our Premium and QH Ultra fish oils. In fact, most krill oil manufacturers have to add more astaxanthin to their product to even bring it up to the levels that we have in our Premium and QH/Ultra fish oil products.
- Finally, in terms of omega 3 content, you’ll be getting more DHA (the omega 3 fatty acid most readily absorbed and used by the body and especially the brain) by taking the Xtend-Life range of fish oil products than you would by taking krill oil… not to mention that the cost per mg/DHA is MUCH less.
Which Xtend-Life omega 3 product do you take? Share your comments and thoughts by commenting on our Facebook page.