In my new PBS special, Heart of Perfect Health, I tell viewers to look for four things in a fish oil supplement:

  • 1000 mg of Omega-3 per softgel
  • Enteric coating
  • IFOS (International Fish Oil Standard) seal for purity, potency, and freshness
  • Added Vitamin D

1000 mg Omega-3. There are many fish oil products on the market and many of them, unfortunately, are misleading. For example, just because you are taking 1000 mg of fish oil doesn’t mean you are getting 1000 mg of omega-3. Further, just because you are getting a certain amount of omega-3 per serving doesn’t mean you’re getting that amount per softgel! Make sure the serving size is one capsule or you’ll have to take twice as much to get the same amount of omega-3. You must read the label! Look for the amount of Omega-3 per capsule to know how much you are really getting.

Enteric coating. Most fish oil supplements are not enteric coated. Yet enteric coating helps deliver the fish oil to your intestines, where they are absorbed and utilized. Enteric coating of a high-quality fish oil supplement ensures a burp-free experience with no fishy aftertaste, and it helps enhance absorption of the fish oils

IFOS seal—International Fish Oil Standards. It’s a simple fact that our oceans are polluted and our fish are contaminated with toxins. That’s why taking a purified fish oil is an excellent way to get your omega-3s without concern about excess toxins. The IFOS seal assures you that your fish oil exceeds world standards for purity, potency, and freshness.

Vitamin D. The majority of Americans have deficient or insufficient levels of vitamin D, and many do not know it. While the Institute of Medicine recommends a scant 600 IU of vitamin D daily, this is far too little according to many experts. I’ll refer you to the Vitamin D Council for some great information on the subject. I am trying to raise awareness about this vital nutrient because it is often overlooked. I recommend vitamin D as a component of fish oil because of its importance to overall health. I also recommend, in my books and blog, that people get their vitamin D levels checked regularly. An optimal vitamin D levels is key.

Vin Kutty from OmegaVia recently applauded three out of four of my recommendations on what to look for in a fish oil product. He didn’t agree about added vitamin D, however. He made some valid points, especially when it comes to testing your vitamin D level, but I still believe that 1000 IU added to a quality fish oil supplement is helpful. People simply aren’t getting enough. I want to help people understand that. Glad we’re (mostly) on the same page, Vin. Thanks for the mention.