Not all fish oil is created equal. Learn what is important in making your selection.
As eye doctors we often recommend that our patients with dry eyes increase their dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Our typical dosage is 2000mg to 3000mg in a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This translates into 4 oz of wild, Atlantic salmon per day. Regardless of how much we like salmon we probably don’t want it every day no matter how many different ways there are to fix it, therefore fish oil capsules are a necessary dietary supplement. Mercury consumption can also be a consideration, especially in the case of farmed salmon. Generally, oily fish such as salmon, anchovy, mackerel and herring are high in omega 3 fatty acids. It is easy to recommend that we increase the omega 3 fatty acids in our diet due to their many well documented health benefits in conditions such as dry eye syndrome, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels to name a few.
- A high quality fish oil capsule should have the following qualities;
- high in the omega 3 essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- be of a concentrated form (which also removes heavy metals such as mercury)
- the omega 3 fatty acids should be in the triglyceride form and not the ester form
- should not taste like fish
Always read the label and look for the amount of EPA and DHA. There may also be some other omega 3 fatty acids in the capsule, however EPA and DHA will make up the bulk of the omega 3s. At least 50% of the capsule’s contents should be of the omega 3 fatty acids.
Concentrated Omega 3 Fatty Acids
If the omega 3 content of the capsule is less than 50% then this is not a concentrated omega 3 capsule and you should find another one. One of the reasons why you want to only purchase concentrated omega 3 capsule is so that any mercury has been removed. Also if the capsule uses concentrated omega 3s then it is very unlikely you will experience indigestion and “fish burp.” In order to consume a therapeutic level of omega 3 fatty acids you will have to consume 8 or more capsule, virtually ensuring digestive problems. Furthermore, you should avoid omega 3 capsules with an enteric coating. A high quality fish oil capsule should not need a “special coating” in order to make it easier to tolerate.
Triglyceride Form vs Ester Form
Lastly, the triglyceride form of the omega 3 fatty acids is the same form that the omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish. A fish oil capsule manufacturer may elect to leave their fish oil in the ester form because it is cheaper. During the concentration process the fish oil is converted into the ester form where the fish oil is concentrated, purified and the fish taste is removed. The fish oil must then be converted back into the triglyceride form. The triglyceride form is more bio-efficient; our bodies can more readily utilize the triglyceride form of the fatty acids.
At Total Eye Care we recommend Dry Eye Advantage for patients suffering from dry eye syndrome and Eye Advantage for patients with macular degeneration, both of which are available via our office or mail order. The dosage is 2 capsules twice a day which will provide approximately 2200mg of omega 3 fatty acids. For patients with severe dry eye symptoms they take 2 capsules three times a day with meals.
We have done the leg work on finding a cost effective source of fish oil capsules. You can purchase Omega 3 capsules online from Total Eye Care specifically formulated for dry eye syndrome and macular degeneration. You will be taken to our partner website PRN Omega Health or you can call our office (817.416.0333).
About Total Eye Care
The comprehensive services available from the staff and doctors at Total Eye Care allow us to take care of patients of all ages. We also have an onsite ophthalmic lab to make your glasses quickly and accurately. Our optical keeps almost 1000 frames in stock to fit any face large or small with frames starting at $69. Especially helpful when buying glasses for children is our "bring us the pieces" eyeglass warranty. We are also on all of the major insurance plans.