What Are The Health Benefits Of Omega Three?

Written by on December 4, 2010

November 20, 2010 by Michael Lange OD, CNS


Omega three fatty acids are creating quite a lot of excitement and media coverage due to their potential health benefits.

What are the health benefits of omega three?Krill oil, fish oil, flax seed oil and squid oils all claim to be the best omega three sources. However, all of the different sources of omega three can be quite confusing to the consumer as well as the physician. What is the best source of omega three fatty acids? Which omega three oils have been studied the most? Where should you purchase your omega three fatty acids? Whom do you trust when purchasing omega three fatty acids?

Clearing up the confusion surrounding omega three fish oils

Recent negative media publicity on ‘Good Morning America’ in March 2010 alluded to the fact that many of the fish oils being purchased over the counter at some of the local commercial wholesale clubs and drugstores were contaminated with higher than acceptable amounts of PCB, a persistent organic pollutant banned in 1979 but still present in ocean waters.. This combined with Whole Foods Markets discontinuing all krill supplements sold in their stores for sustainability concerns has really created a lot of confusion about omega three.

Fish oil and cardiovascular disease

Omega three essential fatty acids are crucial for life and essential for optimal health. Demographic studies indicate that populations that consume more fresh fish are less prone to a variety of diseases. Populations that consume higher than normal levels of cold water fish have less heart disease and are less likely to have a fatal heart attack. The Inuit Indians of Greenland are an example of a particular culture that reaps the benefits of a diet higher in omega three fatty acids. The cultures that consume more cold water fatty fish seem to be less likely to have cardiovascular disease.

Sources of omega three

Wild Alaskan salmonMost of the large clinical studies that have documented the positive health benefits of omega three fatty acids have used fish consumption or fish oil consumption. There are thousands of studies supporting the positive health benefits of omega three from fish and fish oil. The FDA has given a “qualified health claim” for omega three fatty acids EPA and DHA stating “supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” The medical community has readily accepted these positive health benefits and is prescribing and recommending fish oil supplements to their patients. Many consumers are also becoming proactive in their health and practicing prevention by consuming more fish or purchasing fish oil supplements from the drug store or health food store. However, one must be careful with consuming too much fish because of the potential contaminants that are in particular types of fish. With all of the contaminants that are accidentally and purposely deposited into the oceans it is becoming more and more difficult to recommend consuming large amounts of fish. I personally feel that most sardines, wild Alaskan salmon and wild caught rainbow trout are still species of fish that are relatively safe. I do not recommend people to consume large amounts of tuna, grouper, sword fish, redfish or other large predatory fish, and I am reluctant to eat anything from the Gulf of Mexico since the BP oil spill. I highly recommend people avoid farm raised fish especially farm raised salmon. Farm raised salmon have a higher ratio of omega six than wild caught salmon and are relatively high in contaminants and contain a synthetic astaxanthin (a dye in place of real astaxanthin) that gives it the orange color.

Ethyl ester fish oil versus triglyceride form fish oil – which is better?

Omega three fish oil basically comes in two readily available forms, ethyl ester fish oil and triglyceride form fish oil. I do not recommend taking the ethyl ester version of omega three fish oil for a variety of reasons. The ethyl ester form of fish oil is highly unstable and therefore it can oxidize and become rancid quicker than the triglyceride form of fish oil. If you open up a capsule of fish oil and it smells really bad and then you bite into it and it tastes really bad then it is possible it is rancid. This is one of the reasons many people get a nasty after taste or problems burping up an unpleasant taste from the ethyl ester form of fish oil. Studies also indicate that the triglyceride form omega three fish oil absorbs much faster and more efficiently therefore increasing bio availability. Most fish oil that is being sold OTC or as a prescription in the United States is the ethyl ester version because it is significantly less expensive to manufacture. The final phase in the purification of a triglyceride form fish oil requires the ethyl ester molecule to be cleaved off and replaced with a triglyceride molecule thus making it a more natural omega three fish oil than the ethyl ester version. The triglyceride form omega three fish oils are highly concentrated and highly refined and purified making them the ideal choice for consumers. If you do not know if your fish oil is an ethyl ester version or triglyceride version then call the customer service department on the bottle. You can also squeeze the contents of your fish oil into a Styrofoam cup and see what happens. If the cup starts to melt after 15 to 20 minutes then you have an ethyl ester version. However, some products with very low concentrations of ethyl ester fish oil may not melt the cup. When looking for a triglyceride form fish oil look for levels of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA that will truly have some effect. I recommend finding an omega three fish oil supplement that has an EPA between 400-450 per gel cap and a DHA of around 250-300 per gel cap. These are the levels that I have studied using the latest in omega three testing and have found that the consumption of two gel caps a day of this concentration can increase your omega index to a desirable level over 8%. The omega 3 index measures the concentration of EPA and DHA as a percent of total essential fatty acids in the red blood cell membranes. Recent research is proving that the desirable level for cardio protection is an omega index over 8%. This research claims that levels greater than 8% correlate with a 90% reduction in the potential for a fatal heart attack. The vast majority of Americans have an omega index around 4%.

Are all omega three fatty acids pretty much the same?

I have tested numerous ethyl ester fish oils, flax seed oils and krill oils and have not found anywhere near the improvements in the omega index with these other types of omega three fatty acids. So all omega three supplements are not created equal! Most of the inferior brands of fish oil will be relatively inexpensive. A highly refined and purified triglyceride form omega three fish oil will cost between $20- $45 for a one month supply. I recommend investing in your health and spending a little extra when purchasing a fish oil supplement.

What are the health benefits of omega three fish oil?

Omega three fatty acids have been associated with a variety of positive health benefits. Omega three fatty acids are associated with a healthier heart, decreasing your risk of a heart attack, and new studies also indicate it may help lessen the chances of developing atrial fibrillation. Omega three fatty acids may help improve cognitive abilities and reduce depression. Increased circulation to the brain and the entire body is also one of the benefits of omega three consumption. Omega three fatty acids may slow down chromosomal aging by slowing down the rate the end cap of a chromosome (the telomere) shortens. Omega three is a very potent natural anti-inflammatory and may help with a variety of inflammatory conditions in the body. Many people notice improved health of their skin, nails and hair after consuming a good omega three supplement. Omega three consumption is proving to be helpful in patients with dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction and macular degeneration. Ischemic stroke reduction and the treatment of elevated triglycerides are potential benefits of taking a good omega three fish oil. Children experience increased attention span and are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD when they consume more omega three fatty acids. Taking a good triglyceride form omega three fish oil on a daily basis is one step in prevention that everyone at any age should be taking. Another recent study suggests that an increase in omega three fish oil may decrease prevalence of breast cancer and prostate cancer.

How do I choose between fish, krill, squid or flax seed oil?

Earlier in the article I stated, “All omega threes are not created equal.” This is so true. You hear infomercials, you see ads in magazines and the paper, and watch talk show hosts on television all promoting their particular omega three, all the while stating they offer “the best on the market”. How do you figure out what is legitimate and what is marketing hype? I think all omega three experts will agree that the most bio available form of omega three comes from marine sources like fish, squid or krill. Plant based omega three are not a readily available source of the two most important essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Flax seed oil is a poor source of omega three essential fatty acids and it oxidizes very quickly. It may be rancid by the time you consume it. Chia, hemp, perilla and marine plant life may be a better plant source of omega three fatty acids than flax seed oil. You must determine which form of omega three is right for you. If you have a shell fish allergy you should stay away from krill oil since it is possible to have an allergic reaction to krill oil. The proteins and antigens are not refined out of the krill oil. I think krill has a future as a good alternative to omega three fish oil; however the concentration of krill in most supplements is still relatively low and quite expensive. Krill does have phospholipids that improve the absorption of this omega three and a small amount of astaxanthin (a super carotenoid) naturally in the oil. If there becomes available a more concentrated, highly refined krill oil on the market, then I may change my mind. However, at this time the majority of krill oil only has approximately 40 to 100 mg per serving of total omega three and this amount has shown very limited improvement in the omega three index and other omega blood studies we have been analyzing. Krill oil studies are very limited at this time and therefore it is very difficult to determine the potential positive or negative impact krill may have. A good quality omega three concentrated triglyceride fish oil will have an omega three value of approximately 1500-1600 per serving combined EPA, DHA and DPA. There are some that say krill is being over harvested in the Antarctic region and this could hurt the ecological system. This is why Whole Foods pulled all krill off the shelves in early 2010.

Get a good quality highly refined triglyceride form fish oil

I think squid oil has a future as a player in the omega three industry, but currently I do not recommend it since it is still an ethyl ester form fish oil. However, once squid oil is available in the triglyceride form I think it will be a good alternative to TG form fish oil. There is a class action suit that was initiated in early 2010 claiming many of the ethyl ester fish oils that are purchased at the local drug store, warehouse club or vitamin store were filled with higher than acceptable levels of contaminants, especially PCPs. Consumers must be careful when purchasing fish oil from a local store or on the Internet unless you know what you are getting. Ethyl ester fish oils may taste and smell bad due to a fast rate of oxidation. These oils have a much poorer rate of absorption than a triglyceride form fish oil and may have higher than the acceptable levels of contaminants in the oil. I recommend spending a little extra money to get a good quality highly refined triglyceride form fish oil and start to gain the valuable health benefits of omega three fatty acids from fish oil. When looking at the label make sure it states triglyceride form or TG form fish oil on the bottle. If it doesn’t say it, it probably isn’t a triglyceride form.

The highest quality omega three fish oil possible

Fortifeye Super Omega-3 Fish Oil box imageAfter becoming very frustrated with the lack of good quality fish oil available to the consumer at the local drug stores and health food stores I decided to develop the highest quality omega three fish oil possible. Years of research and a trip to the most advanced omega three factories in the world in Norway led to the development of Fortifeye Super Omega, a highly refined and concentrated triglyceride form fish oil with an EPA of almost 900 and a DHA of almost 600 in two gel caps. This omega three fish oil is designed to be swallowed or chewed. It has a very good natural lemon flavor and has no after taste or odor. This is a great fish oil for patients that have difficulty swallowing or vegetarians that do not want to swallow the gel outer capsule. This high quality omega three fish oil is independently evaluated to be free of any contaminants. Fortifeye Vitamins has done multiple blood tests proving the superior bio availability and absorption properties. The omega three index rises significantly at two weeks and almost 100% of participants in the studies had an omega index of over 8% after one month with a daily dose of two capsules. Studies suggest that an omega index greater than 8% correlates with a 90% reduction in the possibility of a fatal heart attack. Doctors all over the globe are recommending Fortifeye Super Omega and thousands of people world wide are enjoying the health benefits of this higher quality fish oil. Fortifeye Super Omega is concentrated and refined by one of the most experienced teams in Ålesund, Norway. If you want the very best fish oil then consider taking Fortifeye Super Omega. You can purchase this highly purified and concentrated omega three fish oil at www.fortifeye.com or call toll free 1 866 503-9746. Do it today. Take a step into the right direction of prevention and become proactive in your health. If you want to know for sure if your omega three supplement is helping you or wasting your money ask your physician to run an omega three blood test. You can learn more about the new at-home omega three blood test at www.fortifeye.com.

Dr. Michael P. Lange, O.D., C.N.S.
Dr. Michael P. Lange
Board Certified Optometric Physician and Board Certified Nutritional Specialist

Dr. Michael P. Lange
Board Certified Optometric Physician
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Syndicated Daily Talk Show Host (Ask the Doctor)
CEO and founder of Lange Eye Care and Associates
CEO and founder of the Lange Eye Institute
CEO of Lange Sun and Nutrition Centers
November 20, 2010


Author: Dr. Michael Lange, Ocala, Florida, Optometric Physician and Certified Nutrition Specialist is involved in multiple nutrition, bio availability and absorption studies. Dr Lange’s nine eye care wellness centers, Lange Eye Care and Associates, utilize the latest in omega three nutrition to help their patients on a daily basis. Dr. Michael Lange and the Lange Eye Care team use specific intracellular and plasma blood tests in a clinical setting to help determine what levels of specific nutrients are right for their patients. Dr Lange preaches the power of proper nutrition, exercise and life style changes daily on his radio talk show “Ask The Doctor“, to his patients in clinical rotations, the public at seminars and to doctors from all over the world at conferences. Dr Lange reaches out to many others via the Internet in forums and through numerous articles he has authored. Learn more about Dr. Lange and view his fish oil comparison demonstration at www.DrMichaelLange.com.


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More information: Dr. Michael P. Lange is a Board Certified Optometric Physician and a Certified Nutrition Specialist who started Lange Eye Care and Associates in Ocala, Florida, in March 1993. Lange Eye Care has grown to nine locations throughout the state of Florida with three Lasik centers. The Lange Eye Institute at The Villages in central Florida is home base for many of the nutritional studies that Fortifeye is involved in. Dr. Lange is one of the first doctors in the industry to utilize intracellular blood tests and blood absorption studies to improve the Fortifeye vitamin line. Dr. Lange travels the world for nutritional research gathering valuable information to continuously improve Fortifeye vitamin formulations. Dr. Lange is still involved in the clinical practice of eyecare. He is a guest lecturer, contributing author to many eyecare magazines, and a daily syndicated talk show host of ‘Ask The Doctor’ which broadcasts every weekday at 9am and Saturdays at 2pm from Tampa Bay on radio stations throughout the country and video streaming all over the world via the Internet.





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