What You Need to Know When Choosing Omega 3 Supplements

Omega 3 fatty acids are some of the newest supplements that are reported to have a variety of health benefits. There are different types of Omega 3 fatty acids that fall into two distinct categories. Read ahead to make an informed decision about whether these supplements would be beneficial to you. This will help you out when you buy Omega 3 supplements.


The FDA requires manufacturers to provide certain information including ingredients and nutritional information on product labels for dietary supplements. The label lists contents other than the amount and source of fish oil contained in the supplement. Some fish oil supplements contain antioxidants such as vitamin E to maintain the quality of the oils and prevent rancidity. A product label may instruct consumers to refrigerate the fish supplement. The label also lists other ingredients, such as additives, fillers and preservatives. A careful review of the product label can help with your choice of supplements, especially if you need or prefer a supplement with few or no additives.


The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends purchasing omega-3 supplements made by familiar and established manufacturers that certify that the supplements do not contain mercury cadmium, lead or other heavy metals. You can avoid unsafe levels of mercury and other toxins by choosing an omega-3 supplement with fish oil from sardines, anchovies and other small, oily types of fish. Manufacturers may market and sell dietary supplements without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, manufacturers are legally responsible for ensuring that its supplements are safe. A reputable manufacturer will disclose all required information about its product and refrain from making unsupported claims.

Daily Dose Recommendations

Adults with heart disease should choose an omega-3 fatty acid supplement that provides 1 g of EPA and DHA daily according to the American Heart Association, or AHA. Adults with elevated cholesterol levels should choose a supplement that 2 to 4 g of EPA and DHA daily. The AHA recommends that healthy adults should eat fish at least twice a week. However, the AHA warns that medical supervision is required if you take supplements that provide more than 3 g of omega-3 fatty acid daily. Higher doses can increase your risk of bleeding.

Odor and Taste

Odor and taste are important in choosing an omega-3 supplement. Some fish oil supplements have a fishy taste or smell. Some cause indigestion and a lingering fishy taste. You may need to try a few brands to find one that is less fishy and that you are more likely to take consistently. Odorless omega-3 supplements are coated capsules that pass through the stomach whole and dissolve in the intestines. Also available is a more costly pure omega-3 supplement that does not have a fishy taste.