If you’ve ever dealt with dry eye disease, you probably know that increasing your dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids is helpful for easing symptoms. Found in oily cold water fish like salmon, herring and tuna, a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the inflammation that causes painful dry eye symptoms. In fact, a recent study confirmed that 70% of dry eye patients experienced an improvement in their symptoms after taking a daily omega-3 fish oil supplement.1
But with so many different brands to choose from, how can you be sure which omega-3 fish oil capsules are the best? Nordic Naturals, Carlson, Kirkland? It’s true that not all brands are created equal. In fact, there are many factors behind why certain omega-3 supplements are better than others. To be sure that you get the most out of your supplement, look for the following when selecting a brand:
EPA & DHA rich: Check that the eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA) and doosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels are listed on the label. For a concentrated fish oil softgel, opt for a brand that offers 500 mg to 600 mg of EPA & DHA per pill.
Expiration date: Check for an expiry date! Good quality fish oil will indicate when it expires somewhere on the bottle.
Enteric coating: If you absolutely can’t stand those “fishy burps,” consider an omega-3 supplement with an enteric coating. An enteric coating inhibits the capsule from dissolving in the stomach. Instead, an enteric-coated supplement will dissolve when it reaches the small intestines.
Mercury: It’s always a bonus when the manufacturer states that the product is free of any traces of mercury and is PCB free. Most quality fish oil products are safe from such a factor, but it is reassuring to see that the product has been tested and deemed safe.
Concentration: If the omega-3 content of the capsule is less than 50%, then it does not qualify as concentrated– look for a different brand!
Taste: Quite simply, omega-3 capsules should not actually taste like fish. Pharmaceutical grade omega-3 fish oil should taste relatively fresh. If the supplement tastes or smells rancid, that indicates spoilage, probably because the pills have come in contact with heat or oxygen. The best quality pills are often found in the refrigerated section. (Always check the label to see if you should store the product in your fridge to maintain quality!)
Ester form Vs Triglyceride form: The triglyceride form of omega-3 fatty acids is the same, natural form that is found in fish. The triglyceride form is more bio-efficient, meaning our bodies can more readily utilize it in this form. Nevertheless, some manufacturers leave their fish oil in the ethyl ester form because it is less costly. Check the label for this before purchasing. 1
Additionally, remember that omegas 3’s are essential fatty acids. “Essential” means that they cannot be produced by the body, so their inclusion in the diet is imperative for good health. And don’t assume that you can get the daily recommendation of omega-3 fatty acids through your diet alone. If you are not a fan of fish, or tend to eat on the go, a quality omega-3 supplement can guarantee that your body gets what your diet doesn’t always provide.
Taking an omega-3 supplement has many health benefits including the ability to efficiently reduce the risk or symptoms of dry eye disease. If you are not already taking this supplement, go to a local pharmacy and use our advice to carefully choose a premium product. Otherwise, head to your medicine cabinet and read the label of your current omega-3 supplement thoroughly to ensure you are using a quality brand.
Has taking an Omega-3 supplement eased your dry eye symptoms? Which brand do you prefer? Share with us!