Fish oil: A stressed person’s guide to crafting a daily vitamin and supplement regimen – Part 1
What supplements should I take?
It’s a common question, and the answer varies for each of us. However, there are a few key nutrients that most people can benefit from, especially if they’re dealing with stress, sleep issues, and anxiety – the struggles many of my clients face. I refer to these key nutrients as “foundational,” and they are worth supplementing if your goal is to maintain and achieve optimal health in the long term.
In this six-part series, we are going to explore how to create a daily vitamin and supplement regimen or what I refer to as your “Foundational Supplement Regimen”.
To simplify things for you, once you’ve gone through this information, you can visit my online dispensary. There, you’ll discover professional-grade supplements that I recommend to my clients and personally use. For instance, if you’re seeking a top-notch multivitamin, you’ll find it there.
Fish oil could be one of the most crucial supplements to incorporate into your daily routine. Firstly, the majority of Americans fail to get sufficient omega-3s from their diet. Unless you eat fish two-three times a week, you are likely at risk. Secondly, most Americans overconsume processed vegetable oils, which contain a different type of essential fatty acid—omega-6. An imbalanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 can activate inflammatory pathways in our bodies.
Many people dealing with depression have low levels of omega-3, and chronic stress can also lower these levels. For the women I work with who are experiencing high stress and mental health challenges, and are aiming to improve their mental and emotional well-being, fish oil can be helpful.
Fish Oil Supplement Tips:
Choosing a high-quality fish oil supplement is important because they are not all created equal. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for fish oil:
- Different Forms: There are different forms of fish oil that are absorbed differently. The “natural triglyceride” form has much better absorption than the “ethyl ester” form that most over-the-counter fish oils contain.
- Beware of Marketing: Many over-the-counter and well-known brands to consumers will list the total grams of fish oil on the front of the bottle and NOT the total milligrams/grams of omega-3s (EPA and DHA). Often, you will see the actual amount of omega-3s in the Supplement Facts falls short. This is a common marketing tactic. Always look at the total omega-3s on the label.
- Third Party Product Testing: It is important that the brand of fish oil you are choosing does not contain harmful substances such as heavy metals, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins, and other contaminants. Reputable manufacturers of high-quality fish oil supplements often engage in third-party testing to verify the purity and potency of their products. Look for certifications from organizations like the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) program or the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
- Know What Fish Species Your Fish Oil is Sourced From: Some species are more prone to contamination than others. High-quality fish oil supplements often specify the source of the fish oil, ensuring that it comes from reputable, low-contamination fish sources.
- Consider Cod Liver Oil: Cod liver oil can be a good choice (I like Rosita brand). It provides additional Vitamin D and Vitamin A, but the total omega-3 level will be lower compared to regular fish oil supplements.
I recommend aiming for 2000mg daily of omega-3 fatty acids. For people with inflammatory bowel disease, depression, or conditions associated with inflammation like autoimmunity, 3000mg daily can be more therapeutic. Caution if you are taking any blood-thinning medication since fish oil can thin your blood.
- Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002;21(6):495-505.
- Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochem Soc Trans. 2017 Oct 15;45(5):1105-1115.
- Hibbeln JR. Fish consumption and major depression. Lancet. 1998 Apr 18;351(9110):1213.
Putting it All Together: Your Personalized Path to Wellness
Taking daily supplements is a practical step toward a more vibrant, stress-resilient life. Remember, the path to well-being is unique for everyone. If you need advice or personalized recommendations tailored to your individual needs, feel free to reach out—I’m here to assist. Book a free virtual consult for personalized guidance on your wellness journey.
Access Professional-Grade Supplements
Visit my Fullscript Dispensary to explore a selection of my go-to professional-grade supplements. Each product in this dispensary has been handpicked to meet the highest standards of quality, ensuring you have access to supplements that support your well-being.
Remember, wellness is a personal and evolving journey. Together, we can tailor a supplement routine that aligns with your unique needs, helping you achieve your health and wellness goals.
This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. Read my full Disclaimer.
About the Author
Audrey Fleck - MS, RDN, LDN
I’m Audrey Fleck, a dedicated dietitian with over a decade of experience, and the founder of Functional Origins, my private practice located in Bucks County, PA. With a strong educational background, including a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics and an MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, I specialize in providing an integrative and functional approach to healing, primarily tailored for women.