Now that we’ve heard from Dr. Mike Vaughn on the many health benefits of omega-3’s, (click here to read the post), I want to talk about how to read a fish oil label. Surprisingly, the most important information you need to know about fish oil is usually listed on the back, not the front, of the bottle.
Since Dr. Vaughn recommends 2000 milligrams a day of omega-3’s (EPA and DHA), let’s look at how we arrive at that number. It is important to learn the difference between “fish oil” milligrams and omega-3 milligrams.
First, look at serving size. This fish oil label lists the serving size as 2 softgels. (The more potent fish oil will contain more of what you need in fewer capsules.) The cheaper the fish oil, the more capsules you’ll have to take to get the amount of active ingredients.
Next, look at the amount of active ingredients, EPA and DHA. These are the omega-3’s, the most beneficial and important ingredients, so you want to look for the sum of these 2. This fish oil contains 360 mg EPA and 240 mg DHA per serving. That means that this fish oil actually contains 600 mg per 2 softgel serving. Therefore, to get close to the 2000 mg omega-3’s recommended by Dr. Vaughn, this is how many you would have to take of this particular product:
4 softgels-1200 milligrams
6 softgels-1800 milligrams
7 softgels-2100 milligrams
Now you see why the number on the front of the bottle, “1200 mg” is confusing. This is total fish oil-not total active ingredients (omega-3’s). Once again, the numbers you want to add together are the EPA and DHA. These amounts will always be listed on the back of the bottle. The number listed on the front of the bottle is not the important number. Just look on the back, and do the math.
So, to get the best bargain on a bottle of fish oil, find the one that has the highest amount of active ingredients (omega 3’s) in the fewest number of capsules. Cheaper is not better; it just means taking more capsules to get what you need.
I hope this information was helpful!