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The omega-3s in fish oil are some of the most powerful heart support nutrients you can take and many of us simply aren’t getting enough of them. In her new PBS health special, Heart of Perfect Health, Brenda Watson reveals that an estimated that 84,000 people a year die from a lack of omega-3 in their diet.

So where do we get omega-3? It’s found in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, in flax seeds, and in certain nuts such as walnuts. Experts recommend 1,000 mg or more of omega-3 each day for optimum heart health support, an amount that can be difficult to get from diet alone.

Many are now turning to a fish oil supplement to help boost their omega-3 intake. Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in the overall health of the body.ǂ They are integrated into the membranes of almost every type of cell in the body, helping to balance the excessive omega-6 fatty acids that come from the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Scientific research confirms that Omega-3 supplementation supports heart health by helping to maintain healthy cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels already in the normal range.ǂ Omega-3s help maintain these key markers by supporting the body’s normal  inflammatory response, promoting optimal heart, blood vessel, and joint health.ǂ

Your 4 Point Fish Oil Checklist

Not all omega-3 fish oils are created equal. Use this checklist to ensure you are getting the most heart health benefits out of your fish oil:

  • Potency. Make sure each fish oil capsule contains at least 1,000 mg of omega-3, not just 1,000 mg of fish oil. Reaching your recommended 1,000+ mg of daily omega-3 is pretty tough to do if you have to take a whole handful of fish or krill oil capsules with a low omega 3 content.
  • Absorption. You are only what you absorb. Choose a fish oil that is enteric coated to help deliver omega-3s to the intestines where they are absorbed.ǂ Enteric coating also reduces the fishy burping or repeat you can get with fish oil supplements.
  • Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 helps to promote the body’s healthy inflammatory response as well as supports the immune system  and strong bones.ǂ  A fish oil with added vitamin D3 is ideal because this vitamin is best absorbed when taken with healthy fats, such as omega 3s.ǂ
  • Highest Purity. Look for a fish oil with the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) stamp. IFOS is the industry’s most stringent independent certifier of fish oil quality that promises you aren’t getting the mercury, PCBs, and contaminants that show up in certain fish oil sources.

Norwegian Gold EPA 1000 meets all the above criteria plus it contains a pure blend of omega-3 EPA , which has been clinically researched for its specific heart health benefits.ǂ

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From piling on wrinkle creams to dying those nagging grays, it seems Americans are obsessed with preserving youth, but what about age-proofing your brain? New science reveals a smarter way to keep the brain young; fish oil. According to a new study published in the journalNeurology, diets lacking in omega-3, the essential fat found in fish oil, could lead to memory loss and dementia and cause the brain to age faster.

Click on the following link to watch a video on the topic: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/46548774/#46548774

In addition to supporting brain health and cognitive function, the main omega 3 fats found in fish, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), have also been shown to support a healthy mood, normal inflammatory response in the body, immune health, eye health and heart health.

Wondering how much to supplement? As Dr. Snyderman points out in the video above, current national guidelines suggest at least 2 servings of fatty fish per week or a minimum of 500 mg combined EPA/DHA per day. However, some people, like those with heart disease or other health issues, may need to take up to double that dose.

If you’re thinking it might be tough to fit fatty fish into your weekly meal plan, you’re not alone. Whether it’s personal taste, limited availability or the increasing concern about the high levels of mercury in fish, many people are much happier getting the benefits of omega 3 fats in one convenient softgel rather than head to the fish counter at the grocery store. Just be sure that you choose a high quality fish oil that offers high concentrations of EPA and DHA, and has been purified to remove contaminants and is third-party tested for freshness.

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‡These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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