Mental health clinicians often recommend omega-3 acid supplements to their patients. However, we need some guidance as to which specific product(s) to recommend.
Why is this so important?
It is important to recommend a specific product because:
1. The product must be extremely pure (not contain mercury or other toxins).
2. The product must be manufactured without exposure to oxygen that causes fish oil to deteriorate.
3. Plant sources do not contain the right EPA/DHA ratio that is recommended for mental health.
4. Taking too much DHA can actually raise LDL levels.
The following products are recommended by otherz but they do not have the high EPA/DHA ratio that is recommended for persons with mood disorders.
1. Lovaza (also called Omacor), which is a prescription medication
2. Fish oil from Vital Nutrients (recommended by the leading guide to alternative medicines in mental health)
Below are some brands that we should consider recommending. I have spent many hours researching specific omega-3 fatty acid products and consulted experts in complementary medicine. Here are my top two choices: OmegaBrite and ProEPA by Nordic Naturals. Fish oil by NatureMade is a cheaper alternative.
Note: This article is for general informational purposes only. Also, the products are listed in no particular order.
From the manufacturer’s website (www.omegabrite.com):
“Developed by Carol Locke, MD while on faculty at Harvard Medical School, OmegaBrite has a specific 7:1 EPA to DHA ratio. Only OmegaBrite provides you with 70% EPA (eicosapentanoic acid)…”
The manufacturer claims that the product is of pharmaceutical grade quality, etc. (https://www.omegabrite.com/about-us/)
Their signature product for adults is OmegaBrite Gelcaps that can be bought on Amazon.com using the link below. At one gram of omega-3 per day, i.e., 60 gelcaps per month, the cost per month is $31.60 as of January, 2017.
Nordic Naturals® ProEPA®.
Each softgel contains 605 mg of omega-3 of which 425 mg is EPA. So, the ratio of EPA to DHA is more than 2:1, which is good.
Cost: on Amazon.com, 120 count for $45, so 37 cents/softgel. At two softgels per day, a one month supply will cost about $20.
Nature Made brand fish oil
Contains 540 mg of omega-3 fatty acids of which 365 mg is EPA. So, the ratio of EPA to DHA is greater than 2:1, which is good. However, the dose of one capsule per day recommended by the manufacturer is probably too low. At least one capsule twice daily with food is probably more appropriate. So, at one gram per day (i.e., two softgels per day), a one month supply costs $22.99 as of June, 2021.
Don’t get confused–it is 1000 mg of fish oil, which contains 300 mg of omega-3. So, three to four capsules per day should be recommended. A month’s supply will cost only about $9.
Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not list the ratio of EPA to DHA for this product.
Vascepa is an ethyl ester of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that has an FDA-indication as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride levels in adult patients with severe (≥ 500 mg/dL) hypertriglyceridemia. For that indication, its recommended dose is 4 grams per day taken as four 0.5-gram capsules or two 1-gram capsules twice daily with food.
Vascepa® contains only EPA and no DHA.
It is available by prescription only.
It is expensive–60 capsules of 1 gram each (i.e., a one-month supply) costs about $140 according to goodrx.com.
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