Choosing High Quality Fish Oils

High-Quality Fish Oil – How to pick one

Fish oil has become a favorite supplement for many people. These days it seems almost everyone is taking it! Fish oil and other omega-3 fatty acids are most popular for their beneficial effects on heart health. <3 However, the heart is just one of the body systems fish oil can help with! High-Quality fish oil can improve skin, eye, lung, nerve, gut health and so much more. See below for a brief list of conditions fish oil is used in.

Why Do I Need “High-Quality” Fish Oil?

Naturopathic doctors have been recommending diets high in omega-3 fatty acids to improve general health for ages. Unfortunately, it can be hard to obtain adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from diet alone. When diet isn’t cutting it, “high-quality” fish oil is suggested. Fish oil is jam-packed with omega-3s! Per cost and quantity, fish oil is the most efficient way to get these healthy fats into our much deserving bodies.

People always ask me: “but do you really need a ‘high-quality’ fish oil?” What they usually mean is: “Do I have to buy expensive fish oil that is only sold by a doctor?” I understand the speculation. Supplements and eating healthy is very costly these days. And, although you don’t “have to” buy high-quality fish oils from a health professional, I highly recommend asking them for advice on where to get a good fish oil product. Your doctor or other health professional is suggesting a high-quality product because poorly handled or sourced fish oil is actually harmful to your health.

So, yes, you most certainly need high-quality fish oil. BUT, there are some trustworthy options sold at most grocery stores!

What is a High-Quality Fish Oil?

Let’s take a step back. First, we need to understand why fish oil was recommended in the first place.  Usually, fish oil is recommended because of it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are helpful in neutralizing damaging chemicals that naturally occur within our body. Anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation. Inflammation is actually a good thing when it occurs briefly, but cause many other health conditions when it persists for a long time, called chronic inflammation. We’ll get into this another day. In short, as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, fish oil helps the body to maintain an optimal environment for a healthy life!

During production, fish oil supplements need to be handled carefully and reliably tested for consumer safety (that’s you!). When fish oil is extracted with poor practices, it can actually become more harmful than helpful to our health. YIKES! It becomes oxidized and encourages inflammation. It can also carry heavy metals which can lead to many nervous system complications. Plus, the additives or method of extraction can make it harder to absorb and be used by the body at which point you’re spending money and unable to receive the benefits. (Not to mention how sustainably the fish is harvested)

Brands I trust

  • They make sure to sustainably harvest the product and process the fish oil in ways that prevent oxidation.
  • They test for heavy metals, potency and provide quality and quantity assurance (so you know you get what you paid for).
  • Their products are highly absorbable
  • Each of these brands can be sold by health professionals. I have indicated the 2 found in grocery stores.

Integrative Therapeutics
Nordic Naturals (also sold in Natural Food aisles at grocery stores)
Carlson’s Laboratory (also sold in Natural Food aisles at grocery stores)

What type of conditions can fish oil help with?

Heart health – High blood pressure, high or imbalanced cholesterol levels, improve blood vessel health to prevent heart attacks or stroke
Joint health – Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Skin Health – Psoriasis, eczema
Gut Health – Leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, pancreatitis
Diabetes – vision decline, reduced sensation in hands and feet
Lung Health – Asthma, allergies, cystic fibrosis
Eye Health – Cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration
Autoimmune conditions – Lupus, RA,
Mental and Emotional Health – Depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD
Behavioral Health – ADHD, autism spectrum disorders
Nerve Health – coordination, multiple sclerosis


Dr. Lexie Ching
Naturopathic Doctor Bend
(541) 797-0167
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Fish Oil – Professional Monograph. Natural Medicines website. https://naturalmedicines-therapeuticresearch-com.nunm.idm.oclc.org/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=993. Updated 8 July 2019. Accessed 18 July 2019.

  • Jan
    Posted at 09:56h, 10 December Reply

    What vegan Omega 3 products do you recommend?

  • Dr. Lexie Ching, Bend Naturopath
    Posted at 16:42h, 11 December Reply

    Nordic Naturals has a couple of great Algae-Based (vegan) essential fatty acid (EFA) / omega products. Nordic Naturals is a trusted brand for quality and efficacy. For any EFA, due diligence to assure sourcing and chemical purity is highly recommended as both the animal-derived and plant-derived EFAs can be highly contaminated, contain heavy metals, or have a poor nutritional profile. To complicate the matter, absorption is not the same with all products.

    Nordic Naturals is a solid brand to trust their vegan EFAs!

    There are also great land-plant-based oils to support health EFA profile, Please be sure to refrigerate these oils as they’re very sensitive.

    I hope this was helpful!

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