GOED Omega3

Buying Omega-3 Supplements

What to look for when buying omega-3 supplements

Type of fatty acid
Look for omega-3s from marine sources

Amount of fatty acid
Look for the amount of EPA and DHA per serving [see How to Read a Supplement Label]. Many products list other omega-3s on the label; look for EPA and DHA.

Purity
Choose products that meet or exceed the international GOED standard for purity and are guaranteed by independent or 3rd-party testing.

Concentration
The amount of EPA and DHA can vary from 200-700 mg per capsule or serving. A higher concentration of EPA and DHA allows you to consume more of the health-promoting omega-3 in fewer capsules or teaspoons.

How to Read a Supplement Label

Follow these steps to make sure that you are getting enough EPA/DHA from your supplement.

  1. Find the recommended Serving Size or dosage in number of capsules or amount of liquid – omega-3/fat/lipids per serving or per capsule.
  2. Find the amount of EPA and DHA in each serving or capsule.
  3. Find the amount of EPA/DHA in relation to the amount of fish oil/fat/lipids.

Note: The amount of EPA and DHA is usually in milligrams per gram and is different from the amount of fish oil per serving.

Examples of omega-3 content labeling

Example 1


  • Serving Size: 2 softgels
  • Total omega-3: 2g (2000mg)
  • EPA: 800mg
  • DHA: 400mg

Total EPA/DHA=1200mg
The total omega-3s and EPA/DHA shows a difference of 800mg, which consists of other fatty acids. Each softgel therefore contains: 

  • EPA: 400mg
  • DHA: 200mg
  • Total of 600mg EPA/DHA

Example 2


  • Front label says: 1200mg Fish oil
  • Back label says: EPA + DHA is 360mg

Total EPA/DHA=360mg
There is only 360 mg of EPA/DHA in a 1200mg omega-3 capsule, meaning you would need to increase the intake to at least two capsules to get the recommended daily amount of EPA/DHA. 

Example 3


  • 2 500 mg softgel capsules
  • Total omega-3 for 2 capsules: 600mg
  • DHA: 90mg
  • EPA: 430mg

Total EPA/DHA=520mg
The difference, 80 mg consists of other fatty acids.
This also means that one capsule equals EPA+DHA of 520mg divided by two, which equals 260mg per capsule. You would therefore need the 2 capsules to get the daily recommended dose of EPA/DHA fatty acids.

The Difference Between Products

With highly concentrated EPA/DHA, fewer capsules are needed to achive the same health benefits.

 

EPA/DHA concentrations vary between products