Omega-3 capsules. When do they make sense and why?

Omega-3 capsules. When do they make sense and why

Omega-3 capsules contain the omega-3 fatty acids that give their name. There are several representatives of these. The three most important are:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

These polyunsaturated fatty acids can be obtained from various sources. ALA from linseed oil, chia oil or from the rather unknown perilla oil. EPA and DHA are mainly taken from high-fat fish such as herring, mackerel or salmon.

The fish get this again via algae and can also produce DHA themselves. We cannot. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential,i.e. our body needs them, but we cannot produce them in our own organism.

So we have to take the omega-3 fatty acids out of the diet. Now some questions arise: Is it enough if I eat fish once a week, or do we need omega-3 capsules? What does science actually say? We did some research.

What does science say about omega-3 capsules?

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important for:

  • Maintaining normal blood pressure (at 2 to 3 g daily).
  • Contribution to normal brain function, vision and heart function (at 250 mg daily).

For infants, including products for pregnant women, there is the following scientific evidence regarding one of the most important omega-3 fatty acids, the DHA:

  • Ingestion of DHA (100 mg daily) contributes to the normal development of vision (until the infant is 12 months old).
  • The uptake of DHA through the mother (in addition to 200 mg daily) contributes to the normal development of the brain and eyes of the fetus and infant – if breastfed.

In addition, there is the proven positive effect of another omega-3 fatty acid: alpha-linolenic acid(ALA). If the omega-6 fatty acid is mixed in the product (5 parts linoleic acid on 1 part ALA), the following still applies to children:

  • ALA and linoleic acid needs a child for healthy growth and for healthy development.

Matthias Schulze of the German Institute for Nutritional Research Potsdam-Rehbrücke considers the recommendation of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) to take 250 mg DHA and EPA daily to be justifiable. But here it is a brief look: The DGE recommends this amount in addition to the one or twice weekly consumption of fish.

Do you need Omega-3 capsules?

If you follow the recommendation of the DGE, you should add supplements in addition to the weekly fish. The research confirms some of the positive aspects, but is in doubt in others attributed to omega-3 fatty acids.

If you forgo fish or eat vegan, it becomes more difficult with the supply. If you have a particularly hard workout, you’ll need even more nutrients than before.

Especially vegan capsules, which are obtained from the algae Schizochytrium or Ulkenia, can possibly help you with appropriate nutrition. These algae also absorb the fish for their own omega-3 supply – quite naturally.


Fish oil capsules
with omega-3 fatty acids, especially the important DHA, are of course also available and can help just as well.

Despite the recommendations of the DGE, you should always check with your doctor what and above all how much your body needs in nutrients.

Isn’t the usual diet enough here?

Unfortunately, the diet alone is not always enough. Especially when fish is rarely on the menu, you get little EPA and DHA. Here you need supplements or foods enriched with omega-3 fatty acids.

The following high-fat sea fish should already be there:

  • Herring
  • Bückling
  • Mackerel
  • Sardine
  • Tuna
  • Salmon

In addition, the Consumer Centre recommends using linseed oil or other oils with ALA. In addition, small amounts of walnuts and almonds are not misplaced daily.

As you probably notice, a balanced diet can be sufficient. It is often not the case in German-speaking countries due to our diet.

In particular, the important ratio between omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids of 5:1 is hardly achieved here. We often absorb far too much omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids. Factors such as 20:1 occur.

In short about triglycerides: you may know them from blood analysis. The triglyceride level indicates how much of these fats are in your blood. An elevated level, for example, indicates a fat metabolism disorder. Too many triglycerides pose a risk to your cardiovascular system.

Omega-3 fatty acids also influence this. That’s why your triglyceridemirrormeans that you also exercise enough, eat low-sugar foods and, if possible, abstain from alcohol.

This is what you should pay attention to with omega-3 capsules

Many dietary supplements only indicate the total content of omega-3 fatty acids, as this is mandatory. Few saywhat is ALA, EPA and DHA. Exactly this award is important for a healthy diet.

The Consumer Centre therefore notes that products can hardly be compared.

It is also pointed out that one must pay attention to possible side effects and interactions. In particular, the maximum daily intake of 1.8 g EPO and 5 g of EPA and DHA in combination should not be exceeded.

Eating foods enriched with omega-3 fatty acids in addition to dietary supplements can backfire. Higher dosages can affect blood flow properties and, above all, prolong the bleeding time and increase the risk of bleeding.

Especially as a diabetic or diabetic or in case of infectious diseases, you should first contact a doctor. The intake of omega-3 fatty acids can make it difficult to adjust blood sugar and increase the risk of infection.

A similar problem occurs when taking medication at the same time. If you take anticoagulant medications, the effect can be further enhanced.

With supplements, you should always pay attention to the purity of the products. Since dietary supplements are foods and not medicines, some producers do not take it as accurately and do not provide any information on them.

Here, the foods enriched with omega-3 fatty acids must always be questioned. Due to the lack of prescriptions, there is no setting of maximum quantities for the enriched omega-3.

Verdict: Don’t buy any Omega 3 capsule for no reason

After all the information, we’ll summarize this for you.

Buy omega-3 capsules for no reason if you already eat fish several times a week? That is probably not a good thing.

If, on the other hand, you don’t get the recommended once or twice a week fatter sea fish on your menu, it’s going to be more interesting. Especially if you eat vegan, you can’t do without vegan seaweed oils. Otherwise you are missing EPA and DHA:

Even if you can do that, the German Society for Nutrition recommends an additional daily supplementation.

Your doctor can help you here and tell you what you really lack in nutrients.

When you reach for capsules, always pay attention to the purity and whether a distinction is made between ALA, EPA and DHA.

A balanced, conscious diet is the beginning and the key to health.

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