Saturday, April 4, 2015

Finding The Best OTC Prenatal Omega-3 Supplement

Best prenatal omega-3 supplement
Many doctors today recommend or prescribe omega-3 supplement for expecting women. This is because omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have important health benefit for the unborn baby as well as the mother. In this post we shall look at some of these benefits, how to find the best supplement to take during pregnancy, and some notes on what to avoid.

You should be especially diligent when choosing omega-3 or other health supplement including multivitamin, when pregnant. This is because of your own safety as well as the baby's.

There are two important things to look for in any supplement:

  • Safety: You don't want to ingest something that may be harmful to you or the baby
  • Efficacy: The supplement should contain the right ingredients in the right (optimal) amounts

Why Do You Need Omega-3 When Pregnant?

Also known as n-3 fats, omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that offer various health benefits. They are categorized as good fats. These fatty acids are essential for the healthy development of the unborn baby.

They are especially beneficial for brain and eye development in the womb, but can also benefit both mother and child in a number of ways. They may help prevent issues in the child such as:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Premature birth
  • Allergies
The fats may also help to mitigate postpartum depression, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Research suggests that fish oil consumed during gestation may improve:

  • Brain and eye development
  • Birth weight and size
  • Later hand-eye coordination
  • Later verbal-communicative skills

Getting Omega-3: Fish Oil, Krill Oil, Or Just Eat Fish?

Take omega-3 supplement or eat fish during pregnancy
Our bodies cannot make omega-3. This is why they are called essential fatty acids. We therefore must obtain it from external sources. You can get omega-3 from a variety of sources. Each source has its advantages and disadvantages. It is important to know these in order to make the right choice.

The two most important compounds that you get from omega-3 oils are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These two are fatty acids that supply the health benefits you want, for your baby and yourself.

Of the two fatty acids DHA is most important as it is linked to brain and eye development.

Now, there are animal sources and plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. While animal sources supply DHA and EPA, plant sources supply a type of fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The disadvantage of plant sources is that ALA must be converted into the more important DHA, something the human body is not well equipped for, and a lot of the oils go to waste.

It is therefore advisable to opt for animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids, in order to get DHA. There are DHA supplements extracted from certain ocean-dwelling algae that individuals who for any reason cannot consume animal products may opt for.

The Fish Oil Vs Krill Oil Debate

There has been a great deal of fanfare about krill oil supplements in the past few years. While it is true that they are a more potent source of omega-3 fatty acids, there are some concerns when it comes to prenatal health.

The primary difference between krill oil and fish oil, beyond the potency and amount of omega-3 fatty acids, is the amount of DHA in each source. DHA is the essential key to omega-3’s powerful developmental impact.

As previously mentioned, DHA is an omega-3 fat, which has been shown to feed the brain development engines in prenatal conditions. It has been found in every cell and every neuron, working to allow things to move freely from cell to cell. DHA is a consistent requirement for optimum brain function throughout life.

Krill oil, while an abundant source of omega-3 in general, lacks sufficient DHA to make a beneficial supplement to prenatal care. As it is obtained from a crustacean, there could be concerns for how the baby would take it even presuming expecting mother has no problem with consuming shellfish.

Also, most studies on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been done using fish oil. It is therefore only sensible to play it safe and use this during pregnancy.

Should You Just Eat Fish To Get Omega-3 When Pregnant?

Omega-3 when pregnant
Eat fish or take a supplement?
While eating fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and cod is a good way of obtaining omega-3 fats, there are real concerns for the pregnant mother.

You see, due to pollution of sea waters fish contain toxins such as mercury, lead, PCB, and dioxins. By consuming more fish, you run the risk of exposing the unborn child to these toxins. This is why fish consumption is restricted during pregnancy.

The best way of obtain these fats would be to take to take a good quality supplement, particularly fish oil supplement. A good supplement is processed in a way as to remove impurities while leaving the active ingredients intact.

DHA Benefits For Children

DHA is an essential nutrient in breast milk and is linked to certain postnatal benefits including infants' cognitive development. Therefore many experts advise taking omega-3 supplements even after birth, if only to boost supply, not to mention for the benefit of mom's health.

Children who do not receive sufficient DHA during gestation and in their first few years may suffer from cognitive difficulties, delayed development in terms of coordination, and immune deficiency.

In fact, studies exist that have show that taking DHA supplements may help school-aging children improve reading and behavior. But why wait until after birth? It makes sense to begin on a good supplement as soon as you know you are or might become pregnant.

Video:  Omega-3 Fish Oil - Memory improvement, learning, concentration

How Much Omega-3 Do I Need During Pregnancy?

Omega-3 dosage during pregnancy
What's in that pill?
The question about omega-3 dosage during pregnancy comes up frequently. While actual requirements have not been established, many experts recommend you take in more during pregnancy than you would take in non-pregnancy.

As dietary fish is restricted during pregnancy to avoid toxins, taking a good fish oil or algae-based supplement may be the most sensible way of getting these beneficial fats.

Can You Take Omega-3 With Vitamin Supplement?

Doctors often advise women who are pregnant or might become pregnant to take a folic acid (also known as folate) supplement or multivitamin containing folic acid. This is because these micronutrients are essential for healthy development of the baby as well as preventing miscarriage and certain birth defects. But can you take an omega-3 supplement with these?

While it is best to talk to your healthcare provider about this, typically fish oil can be taken safely along with vitamin supplements, and both are often prescribed or recommended together for pregnant women.

Side Effects

Fish oil supplements can be taken safely by most people. However, it is highly recommended that you consult your physician before starting on any supplement when pregnant. Ditto if you if you have a known health condition or are on medication.

Fish oil has blood-thinning and pressure-lowering properties, and you should therefore consult a healthcare professional if you are already on blood-thinning or blood pressure lowering medication.

Mild stomach upset, heart-burn and "fish burps" may occur, but some of these symptoms usually go away as your body adjusts to the supplement. Of course, avoid fish oil if you have a known allergy for fish or seafood (allergy to seafood and allergy to shellfish are not the same thing).

Tips To Find The Right OTC Prenatal Omega-3 Supplement

While it can be confusing when it comes to choosing prenatal supplements, by following basic guidelinesand consulting with your physicianfinding the right one is actually simple. Adding a fish oil supplement to your regimen is also a simple matter, now that you know what to look for—DHA.

Avoid Useless Marketing Terms And Gimmicks!

In virtually every industry there are certain terms that are meant to mislead you into believing that a product is something more than it really is. Here are two you should look out for:

  1. Prenatal or prenatal formula: As ironic as it may seem, there really is no special formula for making prenatal fish oil. The best prenatal omega-3 is one that is effective and safe to use before, during, and after pregnancy!
  2. Pharmaceutical grade: This is another popular but meaningless term. In short, there is no such thing.

Here are the things to look for when looking for a good quality over-the-counter (or over-the-internet) prenatal supplement:

  • DHA amounts: If a supplement does not list the actual amounts per serving, do not buy. DHA should be more than EPA (below). Try to get at least 600mg of this. If the product doesn't list amount of this, don't buy.
  • EPA amounts: Though not as important as DHA (above), EPA has a role to play in the health of mom and baby. Again, don't buy if the amount of this is not listed.
  • Purity: Look for a supplement that has been processed using cold methods such as molecular distillation. This ensures removing toxins without killing the active ingredients.
  • Freshness: Oxidation and rancidity are big concerns when it comes to fish oil supplements. Vitamin E is often added as a natural preservative. However, top quality manufacturers ensure freshness from the catch all the way to the finished product.
You also want to look for a product that does not contain artificial colors, preservatives and other potentially harmful additives.

Top Prenatal Fish Oil Supplements

1. Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

While the term "prenatal" is largely misleading (there is no special formulation for fish oil for pregnant women), this is a leading, quality prenatal supplement from a respected brand. Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA contains per serving:

- 450 mg DHA
- 90 mg EPA
- 400 IU vitamin D3

This supplement is made from anchovies and sardines. The label says the oil is purified but does not state which method is used. No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. No gluten or yeast. This product is available at Amazon.

Click Here to Check It Out

2. Xtend-Life Omega 3 / DHA

This would have been our top choice -- we only placed Nordic Naturals above because many people will not be satisfied if the label does not say "prenatal". Xtend-Life is an Australian supplements manufacturer with an almost pathological obsession to quality.

Each serving of Xtend-Life Omega-3 / DHA contains:

- 600 mg DHA
- 260 mg EPA

This product is made from hoki fish harvested from the pristine waters of southern New Zealand, and tuna. The product is processed close to source, and to ensure freshness the processing begins within a relatively short time from the catch, while ensuring the "raw materials" remain fresh throughout.

The method used to purify the oil is one known as molecular distillation, which removes toxins and other impurities without killing or removing the active ingredients.

Click Here to Visit the Official Site

A healthy mom equals a healthy baby. The opposite applies as well especially when the baby is still inside of you. Be sure your little one is ready to grow, learn, and live a fun-filled life that includes seeing and thinking, playing and exploring.


Statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Featured/recommended products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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