Supplement Sources of Omega-3s: What's the Difference?

Filed Under: Nutritional Support

Supplement Sources of Omega-3s: What's the Difference?

As you probably know, omega-3 fatty acids are essential because your body cannot manufacture them, and they must be obtained from diet or nutritional supplements.

There are two primary omega-3s: EPA and DHA. EPA has potent anti-inflammatory effects and plays multiple roles in cardiovascular health, while DHA is particularly abundant in the brain. Both EPA and DHA, however, are present in tissues throughout the body and are required for optimal health.

One of the best—and most recognized—dietary sources of omega-3s is fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and tuna. Eating these types of fish several times a week will give you plenty of these crucial fatty acids. However, most of us just don’t eat fish that frequently.

That’s why I’m an enthusiastic proponent of omega-3 supplements—fish, squid, and krill. That said, there are a few differences between these omega-3 supplements that you should be aware of:

  • Fish Oil: As with diet, omega-3s from sardines, anchovies, and other fatty fish are the most widely recognized and utilized supplement source of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s found in fish oil have been the focus of the majority of the scientific research, and these supplements are the most economical.
  • Squid Oil: The primary difference between this newer omega-3 source (also called Calamarine®, which is the brand name of the largest producer) and fish oil is the percentage of EPA and DHA—squid contains more DHA.
  • Krill Oil: This is another popular supplement source of omega-3s, especially in recent years. Derived from tiny shrimp-like crustaceans, krill contains phospholipids, which may increase omega-3 absorption, and astaxanthin, a carotenoid with significant antioxidant properties.

The bottom line? I suggest choosing your omega-3 supplement according to your personal preferences. For example, if you’re looking for higher DHA concentrations, go for squid oil. If price is your focus, fish oil is likely the most economical choice. Just make sure your supplements are from a reputable manufacturer and are guaranteed for purity.

WATCH: What Is the Best Source of Omega-3s?



Now it’s your turn: What type of omega-3 supplement do you take?

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DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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