What you need to know about fish oil

Fish oil supplements have been around for decades because of the overall health benefits found in fish. This is one of the reasons that Health Canada recommends two servings of fish a week. Aside from being a healthy protein, they are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. The two main omega-3 fatty acids available through fish and fish oils are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  These are found in higher levels in certain fish than in other food sources.

EPA and DHA are found in the meat of cold-water fish. This includes mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, and seal blubber. While both EPA and DHA are found in fish oil supplements, their characteristics in terms of structure and benefits are different. DHA can be converted into EPA in the body, so there is a small overlap in terms of benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the body as components of phospholipids in cell membranes (1). DHA, in particular, is especially high in the retina, brain, and sperm (1-3). In addition to their structural role in cell membranes, omega-3s provide energy for the body and are used to form eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are signaling molecules that have wide-ranging functions in the body’s cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune, and endocrine systems (4,5).

One of the major benefits of fish oil is its ability to lower triglyceride levels (6,7). This claim has been recognized by the FDA. There is a broad range of research also linking omega-3 fatty acids to the prevention and reversal of heart disease (6,8-10), Alzheimer’s disease (11,12), dementia (11,12) and colorectal cancer (13). Many people also use fish oil supplements for asthma, painful menstrual periods, hayfever, lung diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and certain kidney diseases. EPA and DHA are also used in combination for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, psoriasis, Raynaud’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, bipolar disorder, diabetes certain inflammations of the digestive system (ulcerative colitis) and preventing migraine headaches in teenagers.  While these conditions can benefit from omega-3 fatty acids, it is important to note that they alone cannot treat the conditions.  Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to also reduce swelling and pain and prevent the blood from clotting easily. DHA is used as a supplement for premature babies and as an ingredient in baby formula during the first four months of life to promote better mental development. This practice probably started because DHA is found naturally in breast milk (1,14). DHA is also used in combination with arachidonic acid during the first four to six months of life for this purpose.

Commercially, a number of companies produce fish oil supplements because of their ability to improve general wellbeing. However, buyers should be aware of certain contaminants, formulation and spoilage issues that can be found in these supplements before making their purchase. Fish can carry high levels of mercury can wreak havoc on the nervous, digestive and immune systems. It is especially threatening to in utero child development. Fish can also accumulate dioxins and PCBs. PCBs and dioxins are carcinogenic. In addition, spoiled fish oil may produce peroxides which can have adverse effects on the body. Spoilage can occur during the process of pill production and transportation. These issues have come to the forefront in the last decade and companies have been taking measures to ensure the quality of their supplements. It is important to ensure that these measures have been taken in the description for the fish oil supplement.

The recommended dose of omega-3 fatty acids varies depending on age and sex. At birth, they are as low as 0.5 g per day. This increases to 1.1 g per day for females ages 14 and older and 1.6 g per day for males ages 18 and older (1). In the US, the average person is thought to consume 40-90 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day (15). This is a lot less than the recommended value, especially considering the benefits of these acids.  Fish oil supplements are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially for those suffering from any of the ailments mentioned earlier.

Maplelife Nutrition Corp. produces an excellent triple potency fish oil softgel supplement which guarantees excellent quality while providing high potency for omega-3 fatty acids to meet your daily requirement. As the North American diet does not provide a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, these fish oil supplements would prevent the onset of some of the diseases mentioned above, including heart disease, and help alleviate symptoms for those already suffering from these ailments. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by adding these excellent supplements to your diet. The benefits are immeasurable. You can trust Maplelife Nutrition Corp. for their dedication to putting your family’s healthy first for over ten years.


  1. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids (macronutrients). Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2005.
  2. Harris WS. Omega-3 fatty acids. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. London and New York: Informa Healthcare; 2010:577-86.
  3. SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY. The role of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in health and disease of the retina. Prog Retin Eye Res 2005;24:87-138.
  4. Jones PJH, Rideout T. Lipids, sterols, and their metabolites. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014.
  5. Jones PJH, Papamandjaris AA. Lipids: cellular metabolism. In: Erdman JW, Macdonald IA, Zeisel SH, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 10th ed. Washington, DC: Wiley-Blackwell; 2012:132-48.
  6. Wang C, Harris WS, Chung M, Lichtenstein AH, Balk EM, Kupelnick B, et al. n-3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary- and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:5-17.
  7. Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ, American Heart Association. Nutrition C. Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease. Circulation 2002;106:2747-57.
  8. Djousse L, Akinkuolie AO, Wu JH, Ding EL, Gaziano JM. Fish consumption, omega-3 fatty acids and risk of heart failure: a meta-analysis. Clin Nutr 2012;31:846-53.
  9. Del Gobbo LC, Imamura F, Aslibekyan S, Marklund M, Virtanen JK, Wennberg M, et al. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid biomarkers and coronary heart disease: pooling project of 19 cohort studies. JAMA Intern Med 2016;176:1155-66.
  10. Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ, American Heart Association. Nutrition C. Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease. Circulation 2002;106:2747-57.
  11. Dangour AD, Whitehouse PJ, Rafferty K, Mitchell SA, Smith L, Hawkesworth S, et al. B-vitamins and fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: a systematic review. J Alzheimers Dis 2010;22:205-24.
  12. Sydenham E, Dangour AD, Lim WS. Omega 3 fatty acid for the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;6:CD005379.
  13. Gerber M. Omega-3 fatty acids and cancers: a systematic update review of epidemiological studies. Br J Nutr 2012;107 Suppl 2:S228-39.
  14. S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 dietary guidelines for Americans.2015.
  15. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. What we eat in America, 2011-2012.2015.
nutralab corp logo
We are a leading Canadian contract manufacturer for private label and custom formula natural health and vitamin supplement product.

Enjoyed this Post?

Found this article useful or intersting?

Share this with your friends!

Browse our Latest Articles!

We are Canada’s leader in contract manufacturing for private labels. Explore our resoureces!