Top Questions Asked & Answered About Fish Oils
QUESTION: How do I figure out how much EPA + DHA to dose my dog?
Reply: For skin and coat and joint anti-inflammatory health issues you would want to feed 20mg of combined EPA +DHA omega-3s per pound of body weight daily. For example, if your dog weighs 50 pounds you multiply that by 20mg/per pound body weight (50 lbs. x 20mg = 1000mg) weight to get a target dose of 1000mg of EPA + DHA omega-3 active ingredients required.
The amount of standard human grade 180 EPA:120 DHA fish oil needed is calculated by dividing the target amount of EPA + DHA required by the percentage of active ingredients in the fish oil. 1000mg of EPA + DHA needed divided by 0.30 (30% active found in fish oil) tells you that you should feed about 3330mg (3.3 grams) of standard human grade fish oil daily
The amount of standard human grade Wild Alaskan Salmon oil 90 EPA:110 DHA needed is calculated by dividing the target amount of EPA + DHA required by the percentage of active ingredients in the fish oil. 1000mg of EPA + DHA needed divided by 0.20 (20% active found in fish oil) tells you that you should feed about 5000mg (5 grams) of standard human grade Wild Alaskan Salmon oil daily
NOTE: For typical health maintenance and preventative measures HALF of the above of the amount is sufficient. ALWAYS USE FRESH FISH OILS - Freshness does matter.
QUESTION: Does the ratio of EPA to DHA matter?
Reply: Research does clearly indicate that EPA omega-3 provides a stronger and better anti-inflammatory effect than DHA omega-3. For most of the health issues that our furry friends need help with, skin and coats, allergies and joint pain issues) you do want to use a fish oil that is higher in EPA than DHA. . A standard human grade 180 EPA:120 DHA fish oil is technically a better choice than Wild Alaskan Salmon oil in this instance.
QUESTION: How long does it take before we can see results?
Reply: As with most natural dietary products it will be 3 -4 weeks before any significant change can be observed or measured. It takes 21 days to see the higher elevated levels in blood. If after 3 or 4 weeks of daily feeding the required amount for dog’s body weight daily and a notable improvement is not seen it is best to consult with your veterinarian regarding the condition. They may advise to double the dosage as some animals just need more nutrients.
QUESTION: Is there any danger of my overdosing my dog with fish oil?
Reply: Clean human grade fish oils are very safe to use at high dosages as there are no toxic short or long term effects. Human grade fish oils are very safe. The only issue would be that with extremely high fish oil dosages the dog’s ability to digest the TOTAL amount of fat in the diet (fat from dog food, treats and fish oil) is exceeded and the dog gets soft stools or diarrhea. Lowering the amount of fish oil fed would solve the problem.
QUESTION: Should I feed a3-6-9 Omega oils blend?
Reply: There are many good marketers that have made “3-6-9” omega oil blends popular! Typically they contain only the short-chain ALA omega-3 fatty acids (a-linolenic acid (ALA) from flax oil or other plant sources) along with short-chain omega-6 fatty acid (as linoleic acid from common vegetable oils or gamma-linolenic acid from sources such as primrose or borage oil) and omega-9 fatty acid (which is a common constituent of olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil and numerous other vegetable oils). The dog body has a capacity for naturally and readily biosynthesizing the omega-9 fatty acid (oleic acid) by the existing metabolic pathways in dogs. Omega-9 is not regarded as an essential fatty acid in the diet because of its ease of formation in the body.
Given that dogs in the USA and Canada and those in most other countries have very high intakes of short –chain omega-6 LA fatty acid spending money to feed them more
QUESTION: What is the difference between fish oil and flax seed oil?
Reply: All fish oils contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids including some EPA and DHA in varying amounts depending upon the specific fish type. Most fish oils contain very little to trace amounts of the plant-based short-chain omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In contrast, flaxseed and flaxseed oil contains approximately 53-57% of the total fatty acids as ALA omega-3 while being devoid of the long-chain omega-3s EPA and DHA.
The long-chain DHA omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils is very important for the provision of DHA for brain, eye and nerve development. DHA is the optimal functioning. Omega-3 and is physiologically essential nutrient for the brain. It is well established by researched that there is very little conversion of dietary/nutritional sources of short-chain omega-3 ALA into long-chain omega-3 DHA in the mammal body (including puppies). Thus feeding pre-formed DHA omega-3 is of great importance for ensuring an adequate supply of this important nutrient.
QUESTION: I heard that the omega-3 from KRILL oil was like 20 times more bioavailable and effective than the omeg-3s from fish oil. Is that right?
Reply: Controlled studies have indicated that omega-3 fatty acids from standard fish oil have bioavailability in the range of 80-90%. If any alternate omega-3 source oil actually delivered even just double the bioavailability then that would mean that it was 160-180% bioavailable. This is impossible since the maximum digestibility for any dietary fatty acids is 100%. Krill oil is indicated to actually be digested and thus absorbed slightly quicker than some forms of fish oil.
QUESTION: Are there any plant or vegetarian sources of EPA or DHA omega-3?
Reply: Natural plant nuts, oil seeds and vegetable oils are totally devoid of the long-chain EPA or DHA omega-3, they do have varying amounts of the short-chain omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Thus, the presence of ground flax seed or flax seed oil (naturally rich in ALA omega-3) in a food product would provide varying amounts of ALA but no EPA or DHA. Over the past several years, commercial sources of algae strains have been isolated and developed to produce an algal oil derived from these algae which does contain DHA omega-3. Today there are algae strains delivering both EPA and DHA omega-3. These algal oils do provide a vegetarian source of the highly bioactive omega-3s EPA and DHA.
QUESTION: Will cod liver oil provide EPA and DHA omega-3s?
Reply: Basic cod liver oil typically contains approximately only 9% omega-3 fatty acids EPA + DHA while a standard human grade fish oil will have 30% omega-3 fatty acids EPA + DHA and Wild Alaskan Salmon oil will have 20% omega-3 fatty acids EPA + DHA.
Fish oil and cod liver oil are very different oils although they do both naturally come from fish.
Fish oil is extracted from the body fat of fish like anchovies, tuna, sardines, herring, mackerel and salmon, typically oily ocean fish species. Fish oil is very rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA but has no vitamin A or D.
Cod liver oil comes from the liver of the cod fish. It has much less EPA and DHA omega-3s but is very rich in the fat soluble vitamins A and D. It was routinely spooned out to children in the 1960s as a source of vitamin D in northern Europe and Canada where sunlight is limited during their long dark winters.
QUESTION: Is there a difference in the amount of EPA + DHA omega-3 in Atlantic farmed salmon vs Wild Atlantic salmon?
Reply: Studies report that both farmed and wild Atlantic salmon have about the same amounts EPA + DHA in 100grams of salmon meat (One Canadian study showed that farmed had 855mg and Wild had 749mg per 100grams of salmon meat). NOTE: the amount of EPA + DHA omega-3 fatty acids in farmed Atlantic salmon fish will be directly reflected from the amount of EPA + DHA that has been added to the fish feed in the fish farming operations. Typically farmed fish have the same amounts as wild fish however this is not always true.
QUESTION: Are there any differences in the stability and efficacy of the natural Triglyceride (TG) form and the Ethyl Ester (EE) form of EPA and DHA fatty acids?
Reply: The natural form is the TG (triglyceride) form whereas the EE (ethyl ester) form is derived from further processing. The EE form is more readily concentrated to make up the fish oil to go into gelatin capsules that are the same 1000mg normal size however may deliver 2 to 3 times as much EPA +DHA in the 1000mg gelatin capsule than standard fish oil. Some humans hate to swallow pills so this way they just need to swallow 1 instead of 3 to get a high dosage.
Upon such concentration, the processor may choose to re-convert the EE form back to the TG form. Thus, both TG and EE forms of EPA/DHA concentrate exist in the gelatin capsule marketplace. The majority of studies, in humans, have shown very little difference if any in the bioavailability (if taken at or close to meal time) or efficacy of the EE as compared to the TG form assuming identical intakes of the omega-3 fatty acids. Some recent German studies have clearly shown that TG form is absorbed 15% better than the EE form.
When the EE form is consumed, the omega-3 fatty acid is released inside the gut along with the release of some small amounts of ethanol (alcohol). If 1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acid were consumed in the EE form, this would release/generate approximately 150 mg of ethanol which is approximately 1% the amount of ethanol in a 12 oz. bottle of beer.
Studies clearly show that the EE form is less shelf stable the TG form and the EE form will oxidize more rapidly.
Bottled fish oils which are opened and closed or those with shampoo bottle pumps are very prone to becoming rancid and oxidized compared to fish oils products that have had air (oxygen) excluded from them.
TG form of fish oils packaged in small dark bottles and kept in fridge or airless fish oil pumps and gelatin capsules are the best way to ensure that you have FRESH FISH OIL.
QUESTION: Some websites warn that fish oil that has become rancid and oxidized due to exposure to air, high heat or light and should be avoided. Do you agree?
Reply: Rancid fish oil can be responsible for creating free radicals which are harmful to health as they may cause damage at a cellular level. Fish oil can be harmful if it is rancid and oxidized as it can release large amounts of free radicals in the body, which can cause cancer and other diseases. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are known as polyunsaturated fatty acids. EPA and DHA are both highly unsaturated fatty acids. The more unsaturated that a fat is, the more likely it is to go rancid quickly. In contrast a saturated fat like coconut oil can be exposed to air for a long time without turning rancid. The fragile unsaturated nature of the fish oil fatty acids makes them very susceptible to light, high heat, and air oxidative damage. When damaged, the fats in fish oil oxidize and become lipid peroxides, which cause free-radical damage, hence proponents of diseases, such as cancer and auto-immune issues. Consumed rancid oxidized fish oils pull down the vitamin E levels in the body and well as the overall antioxidant status levels thus allowing more free radical damage to occur. The theory of premature aging is also associated with free-radical damage.
Preventing Fish Oil Rancidity and Oxidation
To prevent rancidity, choose products made only from quality human grade fish oils and minimize their exposure to air, high heat and light. Buy the freshest supplements (far away from the best before date) you can find. Choose pet supplements from reliable science based manufacturers and not marketing companies. Refrigerate your supplements as soon as possible. Only choose fish oils packaged in small dark bottles and keep them refrigerated after opening airless pumps or gelatin capsules.
DO NOT BUY fish oils packaged in a large jug unless you will repack it yourself into small 200ml dark bottles and keep them refrigerated, bottles with shampoo type pumps as these are pushing damaging air into the fragile delicate fish oil.
Most pet supplement manufacturers protect their fish oil supplements with natural forms of vitamin E known as tocopherols to help prevent or slow oxidation and rancidity from occurring; check labels for the mixed forms of tocopherols, gamma and delta tocopherols in addition to alpha tocopherols . The addition of rosemary oil extract as a natural antioxidant to protect the fish oil may also be used instead of vitamin E or in combination with vitamin E.