How Omega 3 can help you stay fit in Thailand: PART 2: what is the best Omega 3 supplement?
(Continued from Part 1)
[OMEGA 3S SUPPLEMENTS]
This is why I’ve been taking Omega 3 supplement just to make sure I have a good, well-balanced intake of fatty acids throughout the week. If I had a ‘cheat meal’ and I knew that I took too much Omega 6 containing foods, then I just take a bit more of fish oil. I got obsessed with this topic because I just want the best for my baby since I am still breastfeeding him, and I intend to do so for longer.
So which Omega 3 supplements should we consider taking? There aren’t many options in Thailand, unfortunately. Until recently I have been importing krill oil from the US as recommended by Dave Asprey in his book the Bulletproof Diet. Why is it superior than fish oil? He said:
- EPA and DHA are packaged as PHOSPHOLIPIDS, which is more bioavailable than triglycerides for the case of fish oil.
- Krill oil contains astaxanthin, which protects the fats from oxidizing. It is this deep orange color!!!
- They are also less contaminated than fish oil, i.e. less toxin.
There are many krill oil brands but I selected few brands based on the amount of phospholipids and astaxanthin. Cheap products contain very little amount of these two substances. Many are mixed with ordinary fish oil from unknown origin. I used both Olympian Labs and Sports Research, they were the best in these regards, and available readily at iherb.com, i.e. I could import privately without any stress.
However, I was never 100% of their quality. How is the oil extracted from these mini shrimps. Either heat, chemicals, mechanical methods must be used! And these processes can oxidize the oil and destroy any naturally occurring vitamins. Many manufacturers therefore add synthetic vitamins so that it does not look like it lacks those micronutrients.
Then I found out about fermented cod liver oil during my research on baby nutrition. I have been convinced that fetus and infants can benefit significantly from quality fish oil to fully support the brain and nerve development. On top of eating things like grass-fed meat, butter, pasture raised eggs and wild caught salmon, I just wanted to have a quality source of fish oil… this product sounded great! There is a brand called Green Pastures, which produce fermented cod liver oil in a very traditional way. I almost ordered a bottle but as I researched further, I found out that there is a competing product, which has been gaining popularity: Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil from a company called Rosita.
[EXTRA VIRGIN COD LIVER OIL VS FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL]
It seemed that many people who used fermented cod liver oil have moved to use extra virgin cod liver oil, after an independent report published by Dr Kaayla Daniel to highlight some flaws in Green Pasture’s products. From what I have gathered, it seems that some remarks are slightly biased but several facts have been highlighted, such as:
- One of the three batches of FCLO that were tested was found to be rancid, based on free fatty acid values.
- Levels of vitamins D, A, and K are lower than Green Pasture claims on its website.
- DNA testing of the livers purportedly used to make FCLO suggests that it is not made from cod, but from Alaskan pollock. Oils from Alaskan pollock liver have a different nutritional and fatty acid profile than those from cod livers (which explains the next finding).
- While all other cod liver oil products contain more DHA than EPA, FCLO contains more EPA than DHA. This EPA-to-DHA ratio is consistent with what you would find in Alaskan pollock liver oil.
The deciding point for me was THE TASTE and ODOUR. EVCLO is still mildly fishy but is tolerable. The fermented one – oh god, it must smell and taste so fishy! Many reviewers mentioned this. I need to feed this to my baby and to my fussy husband. I want them to take the oil willingly, not by force! lol
Only good quality oil such as this can be offered in a liquid form. Most of the cheap ‘crap’ is inside capsules because it is probably already rancid and oxidized, and there is no way of finding out unless you squeeze some oil out of them.
By the way, it is worth mentioning that the liquid form is much cheaper than capsules. Rosita offers the oil in capsules but it is something like 2.9 times more expensive than that. If you consume half a teaspoon every day, that’s only 32 THB a day. Don’t say it is expensive – an iced cafe latte at Starbucks here costs 100 THB and I used to be one of those Starbucks addict who would order 2-3 cups every day! Right now only Healtholicious Organic Cafe & Health Store stocks this oil in Thailand. A bottle of 150ml is sold for 1900 THB, and it lasts for 2 months if you take half a teaspoon daily. They do free delivery in Thailand over 2000 THB order.
My 5 month-old baby has been taking it, too, except we have been rubbing the oil on his tiny bum cheek since he was 4 months old. It would have been horrible if we rubbed krill oil or fermented cod liver oil. I don’t want him to smell so fishy, besides, krill oil would stain his tiny bum! Now he is almost 6 months old and I have started to mix few drops in his mashed avocado for lunch. In any case I will continue to take a teaspoon of it every day, as recommended for a lactating mother. No need to exaggerate the intake!
I just feel safe taking this oil because it is a natural product. These days I really stopped taking other kinds of supplements because I just don’t think they bring any benefits to me. It’s one of those sickness people suffer these days. Take everything in pills. The more is better. BULLSHIT. This oil is from wild caught cod livers, extracted using the ancient method of naturally releasing the oil from the fish without the use of any solvent nor heat. This means, it is rich in naturally occurring vitamins A (retinol) and D3 (Cholecalciferol, the most active form of Vitamin D), which are often lost in a standard manufacturing process of cod liver oil. Many company adds synthetic vitamins additionally, isn’t that wrong?
Rosita is extremely transparent in their website, discloses every test they have conducted, and their FAQ is extremely detailed. Sometimes I had some questions and they were very happy to answer immediately. For example, I wondered why they needed to add Vitamin E additionally. They did not specify from which source it was. Could it be synthetic? Their answer:
Great! Thank you!
Oh one interesting thing. Cod liver oil is especially efficient if taken with grass fed butter. Vitamin K2 in butter works synergistically with vitamins A and D. My baby doesn’t take it just yet, but I do consume grass fed butter and ghee so he should benefit from my breastmilk!
Here are some pictures from the company. I must admit, I have never seen what the real cod looks like. I only knew it from fish & chips!
I think these graphics from Corganic explains the different manufacturing processes of fish oil well.
There is a company called Mitolife, which sells Omega3s sourced from algae. There are so many great reviews and in many Facebook groups I follow, people say a lot of good thing about it. It is also perfect for vegans. Why shouldn’t I try it? Well, I am happy with cod liver oil and other whole foods I’ve been eating. I see the fish oil to be more whole food than some algae extract. I appreciate that cod liver oil is rich in retinol (Vitamin A) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), which are not present in the Mitolife products.
* You see that I name the blog category as ‘my blah blah’, meaning, I do not intend to post this blog in order to educate others. My sources are mostly internet, research studies and books, but I don’t quote them because these are readily available information. What I write is just a collection of notes I have gathered, so please do let me know if I said anything wrong. I openly admit that I am not an expert. I am just a normal person who wants to be healthy, that is all. Thank you!