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Dietitian advises how to choose a fish oil supplement

What should I look for when choosing a fish oil supplement? - Linda Starr

Look for omega-3 fish oil supplements that are high in eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, says Lise Gloede, a registered dietitian and owner of highly rated Nutrition Coaching LLC in Arlington, Va. She recommends anyone with heart disease take omega 3's either through supplements or diet. "Among the benefits of taking fish oil are lower triglyceride levels and they help with reducing inflammation," Gloede says.

Gloede advises that a good, quality supplement should cost roughly $20 or more a bottle. "If you're burping when you take the supplement, it's probably rancid and you should get a better quality one," she says. Fish oil supplements should be filtered and free of PCBs and toxins.

While fish oil is relatively safe, Gloede cautions you shouldn't exceed 1,000 milligrams of fish oil supplements a day without consulting a doctor. "Fish oil can have a blood thinning effect, so you don't want it interfering with any types of blood-thinning medications," she says, adding that a recommended dosage is approximately 500 milligrams a day.

If possible, Gloede champions getting omega-3 fatty acids by adding fish to your diet. The American Heart Association recommends two to three servings a week. While salmon is the No. 1 source for omega 3 in food, Gloede says sardines, rainbow trout and mackerel also work.


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