Did you know that fish-based omega-3 supplements can help you see underwater? Or that their heart-healthy benefits are enough to prevent cardiac arrest with no other lifestyle changes?
Or how about this one: Too much of an omega-3 supplement can make you develop scales and gills like the aquatic creatures from which it’s sourced.
None of that is true, obviously. But isn’t it alarmingly easy to publish misinformation on the web without a second thought?
In the murky waters of the online wellness world, flashy sales tactics and red herrings reign supreme. Supplement enthusiasts are lured in with promises of total transformation for just $29.99, and there’s nary a life vest or buoy in sight.
It’s enough to make even the most health-forward person surrender to the tide!
Thankfully, we have holistic health expert and supplement strategist Dr. Neal to help us fish or cut bait when it comes to omega-3 supplements. (You know, the wellness shark who’s known for rocking the boat and pulling the mask off malevolent marketing schemes.)
So, drop your anchor and read on, sailor! You’ll come out of these waters with 5 newly debunked myths about omega-3 supplements.
In This Article:
- 5 common omega-3 myths debunked
- The optimal daily dose of omega-3
- How to find the best omega-3 supplements available
Myth 1: Omega-3 Supplements Don’t Work
This first myth is a doozy to debunk.
You’re most likely to hear, “Omega-3 supplements don’t work,” from a conventional doctor, but it’s not their fault. Supplements aren’t nearly as regulated as the pharmaceutical industry, and as a result, a lot of baloney science and crappy products reach the mainstream.
Healthcare professionals, then, are at the forefront of the battle against wellness misinformation. And subsequently, the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.
Fret not. Regardless of what you’ve heard or who you’ve heard it from, omega-3 supplements and their benefits are backed by some of the best modern research available:
- Higher cognitive performance
- Boosted neurocognitive functioning
- Positive effects on the gut microbiota
- Better emotional processing in ADHD patients
- Improved symptoms of inflammatory skin disorders (acne, psoriasis, etc.)
- Positive changes in symptoms of autoimmune diseases
- Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease
Learn More: Omega-3 Supplements: Are They Worth the Hype?
Myth 2: You Can Get All The Omega-3 You Need From Your Diet
If you’ve been hanging around the Woodstock wellness world for a little while, you’ll know that we’re diet-first, supplements-second kind of folks.
After 20+ years of clinical experience, holistic pharmacist Dr. Neal developed the Wellness Pyramid as a blueprint for optimal health. The bottom tier of this pyramid — AKA, the crucial foundation upon which you can actually build optimal health — is made up of the 5 lifestyle domains.
Diet, sleep, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle changes.
So you should always start your wellness journey there, in the mundanity of the lifestyle domains, optimizing your sleep, eats, and so on. But there’s a reason the second tier — strategic supplementation — exists.
Omega-3 is a vital nutrient that affects multiple bodily systems, but getting enough of it from your diet is dang near impossible.
Even the healthiest, most fish-forward eating habits won’t yield enough of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 to both counteract our intake of pro-inflammatory compounds and give us those benefits so highly touted by science.
Does that mean you should give up on eating foods rich in omega-3 entirely? Absolutely not! Your body needs a diverse range of nutrient sources to thrive.
Does it mean that you should start taking an omega-3 supplement to complement your dietary intake and ensure you hit the recommended daily dose? Yes. Yes, it does.
Myth 3: You Should Take 1,000mg of Omega-3 Daily
Here’s a two-for-one debunking extravaganza for you: Low-dose omega-3 supplements are not effective, and 1,000mg of omega-3 has not been shown to offer benefits in clinical trials.
As much as we hate to say that any supplement is total bunk or a waste of money, we will when we need to, and right now, we need to.
Low-dose omega-3 supplements, while cheaper upfront cost more in the long run when you realize how much you need to take every day.
The doses of omega-3 compounds ALA, EPA, and DHA that have been shown to have the incredible heart, brain, skin, and inflammation benefits you’re looking for are closer to 3,000mg per day.
Dr. Neal’s recommendation? Try to hit at least 2,000mg of omega-3 compounds APA, ELA, and DHA daily. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a false sense of accomplishment and your cold hard cash lining the pockets of a supplement snake oil salesman.
Sure, you can still take your 300mg omega-3 supplement if you want, just know you’ll be taking a lot of those capsules to reach the recommended daily intake that will actually make a difference.
Myth 4: 1,000mg on the Label Means You Get 1,000mg Per Dose
If you fell for this myth, don’t beat yourself up. You just made the simple mistake of thinking you could believe the well-branded claims on a supplement label without further research.
We’ve all been there!
Supplement labels, unfortunately, are neither fish nor fowl. Even though the bottle says there’s 1,000mg of omega-3 per dose, that doesn’t mean you’re actually getting 1,000mg of pure omega-3.
Unethical supplement manufacturers have an ocean’s worth of sneaky tricks and almost-illegal tactics for making their products seem almost magical. That’s why our whole deal here at Woodstock Vitamins is being ultra-transparent to turn the tides.
So, when choosing an omega-3 supplement, look for the ones that clearly delineate how much of what kind of omega-3 compounds are included.
1,000mg of omega-3 ALA, for example, isn’t worth the price tag.
On the other hand, a comprehensive formula that amounts to roughly 1,000mg of ALA, EPA, and DHA combined is pretty dang perfect.
(Just don’t forget to look for fishy additives and unnecessary filler ingredients before buying a new omega-3 supplement, too.)
Myth 5: Flaxseed is a Good Source of Omega-3
This one is going to hurt for our vegan friends…
Flaxseed has gained popularity recently for being a so-called great source of beneficial omega-3s, but here’s the deal: it’s not.
It is, however, a great source of fiber! Flaxseed can also support joint and cardiovascular health, so the humble seed is not without its merit. It’s just doesn’t really make a great omega-3 supplement.
You see, flaxseed, like the cheap omega-3 supplements used as an example above, only contains the omega-3 compound ALA. It’s got none of the really good stuff — EPA and DHA — that can offer the myriad of benefits studied in recent years.
Flaxseed oil, unlike fish oils, also contains phytoestrogens, a naturally occurring estrogen in the form of plant compounds called lignans.
Lignans act like and function as estrogen in the body, which is great in some cases and not so great in others. Considering that quite a few people are struggling with estrogen dominance — whether they’re aware of it yet or not — it seems wise to eat phytoestrogens in moderation and monitor your intake.
And, of course, get a different omega-3 supplement.
Omega-3 Supplementation Done Right
TL;DR: If you want to reel in the benefits of omega-3s — skip the flaxseed supplements, scrutinize your vitamin labels, focus on the science-backed doses, and ignore the skeptics.
Not too bad, right? It’s just like shooting fish in a barrel!
But, if you want direct, personalized guidance from an omega-3 expert, sail on over to our Counterside Consults. Always free, and always pun-free.