Omega supplements can be confusing and many of my readers have questioned whether or not they really need to supplement with them. Supplements can get pricey, however, if it’s important for our health, it’s a relatively small price to pay. So, the big question is: Do we really need them?
I’m a big fan of Nordic Naturals Omega supplements because when I was researching for The Gorgeously Green Diet, I not only found this company to be the most ethical, transparent, but also one that had the kind of purity standards that I really wanted to see in something I was going to recommend to hundreds of women.
I realized that they carry so many different supplements that it can be a bit confusing. I caught up with Dr. Keri Marshall, who is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in pediatrics, women’s medicine, chronic disease management and integrative health. She has published several scientific papers, writes and blogs for print publications, and has written a book on proteins and amino acids. Here’s what I asked her:
Nordic Naturals carries so many different products that it’s hard to tell which one is right for which individual. What is the best supplement for: a woman in her 20’s, a woman in her 30’s, a woman in perimenopause, a woman in menopause and, finally, for a woman over the age of 60.
Dr. Marshall: The good news is all Nordic Naturals products surpass strict international standards for purity and freshness, so you don’t have to worry about environmental toxins, or the oxidation, that is responsible for the fishy burps associated with poor quality fish oil. Also, all Nordic Naturals adult omega-3 products contain the international expert-recommended 500 mg of combined omega-3s EPA+DHA.
Women in their childbearing years should definitely consider Nordic Naturals DHA or Prenatal DHA. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) provides mood and general nervous system support for women and supports brain and visual function in developing babies. Prenatal DHA also happens to be the official omega-3 of the American Pregnancy Association. For women in perimenopause and menopause, Nordic GLA, Omega Woman and Complete Omega-3.6.9 all support positive mood, hormonal balance, optimal body-fat metabolism and radiant skin and hair. For women over 60, products like Ultimate Omega-D3 and Omega-3D are great for high intensity heart, brain and bone support. DHA Xtra supports memory, cognition and emotional well-being.
What about our husbands? If a man is relatively healthy, relatively active, is there a good generic supplement?
Ultimate Omega is an excellent all-purpose omega-3 concentrate. It also happens to be the top-selling omega-3 supplement in the United States. It is clinically shown to support heart health and the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, functions that men benefit from at all ages, but especially as they age.
How about a supplement for an athlete?
Athletes need essential fatty acids for the same reasons that we all do, but to a heightened degree, due to the increased stress put on their bodies from prolonged activity. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-D3 Sport is specially formulated with athletes’ needs in mind and is Certified for Sport by the NSF. This product benefits athletes by promoting cardiovascular and respiratory function and supporting joint mobility, fat metabolism and body composition.
I notice that Nordic Naturals carries omega oils for specific conditions such as: skin, cognitive function, pregnancy etc. If I were to pick out one of these supplements, would I use JUST that supplement or add it to my regular daily omega supplement. For example, I take Omega Woman, but if I wanted to add the Omega Joint supplement or Algae Omega, is it okay to take both?
Estimating your current and target EFA index is important when choosing an omega-3 supplement. If your diet is sufficient in omega-3-rich foods like wild fatty fish and greens, you will likely benefit best from simple maintenance support. But if you eat foods high in saturated fats, or refined foods, you should consider a supplement with higher amounts of EPA and DHA to get the full benefit of targeted support with adequate amounts of EPA and DHA.
International experts agree that we need a minimum of 500 mg combined EPA+DHA daily. Nordic Naturals takes responsible dosing seriously, and all of our adult omega-3 products hit the 500 mg target. This is true for our condition-specific products as well; you will receive a healthy dose of omega-3s in each serving, along with any synergistic nutrient that has been added, such as glucosamine sulfate in Omega Joint, for example. Omega Woman is a special case because it is rich in evening primrose oil, balanced with just a small amount of omega-3s. So, in this case, it would be advisable to also take one of our general omega-3 supplements.
Do you think everyone needs to supplement, regardless of their diet?
It is a fact that omega-3s are long-chain essential fats that our bodies need for optimal health, but cannot produce on their own. They must be consumed through diet or supplementation, much like important vitamins and nutrients. Whether you need to supplement depends on your daily intake of omega-3s, as mentioned, but it is important that everyone gets enough essential fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA. In my experience, most people do not get enough omega-3s through diet alone, so supplementation is recommended.
Do you think it’s safe to replace the recommended “junior aspirin a day” that doctors recommend for over-50s with omega supplements? Does it thin the blood in the same way?
It’s always important to consult with your doctor before starting or discontinuing any course of therapy. In my view, high-quality purified fish oil is the safest, most effective source of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA. An increase in EPA in the diet has been shown to support a healthy heart, circulatory system and the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response. The American Heart Association cites evidence that 500–1800 mg EPA+DHA daily significantly reduces the number of deaths from heart disease.
Finally, why do pets need omegas in the form of a supplement?
Before cats and dogs were domesticated, they received omega-3s from their prey, such as rodents and birds. Today, of course, our pets depend on us for their food. Commercial pet foods are convenient, but they don’t provide the necessary amounts of omega-3s needed to promote pet health and wellness. Nordic Naturals Pet Cod Liver Oil and Omega-3 Pet are formulated according to the same strict standards we use for all our omega-3 supplements.
Nordic Naturals are offering an exclusive deal for my readers – so take advantage:
Online discount only: 15% off entire order using code: GORGEOUSLYGREEN
Good May 2 through May 9, 2012
Free shipping on 3 or more bottles of Nordic Naturals products