Bargain on Top-Notch Mega EPA/DHA Omega-3 Fish Oil

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August 31st, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Life Extension’s Mega EPA/DHA fish oil is on sale through September 14, 2009, at 65% off regular price. It is a very good quality fish oil supplement and also very well priced at $6.98 per bottle of 120 softgels. It is a double strength formulation with reduced cholesterol, meaning that it is equivalent of 240 typical fish oil softgels. As you may know, fish oil is well-reputed for managing blood lipid levels, particularly helping to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. What you may not know is that many common brands of fish oil supplements contain a considerable amount of cholesterol in each softgel. Mega EPA/DHA has twice the EPA and DHA (the primary beneficial Omega-3 fish oil compounds), half the calories, and 80% less cholesterol per softgel versus Costco’s Kirkland Signature Fish Oil Concentrate that is regularly priced at $9.69 (plus tax) for 400 regular strength softgels.

Life Extension Mega EPA/DHA Fish Oil is useful for improving your health in many ways. In addition to helping cut down unhealthy blood lipid levels (LDL cholesterol and triglycerides), it is also helpful for reducing the risk of depression, blood clots, inflammation disorders, heart attacks, and strokes. Fish oils containing significant quantities of DHA in particular are believed to improve brain and nervous system health.

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Mothers and Babies Need DHA

Fish oil supplements aren’t just for your own health. If you’re a pregnant or nursing mother, the DHA in fish oil supplements you consume will help provide a critical ingredient for the proper growth and development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Pregnant and nursing mothers are advised against eating a lot of fish due to mercury contamination, but quality fish oil supplements are safe and free from mercury. Yet American mothers who are pregnant or nursing tend to consume only about 1/4 of the DHA recommended by research studies:

(from The Importance of DHA During Pregnancy & Nursing)

  • DHA is important for optimal infant visual and mental development both in utero and throughout infancy.
  • Developing infants cannot produce DHA efficiently, and must receive this vital nutrient from the mother through the placenta during pregnancy and in breast milk after birth.
  • A workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) recommended an intake of 300 mg/day of DHA for pregnant and nursing women.
  • On average, pregnant and nursing women in the U.S. consume 60-80 mg of DHA a day, only 20-25% of the intake recommended by the NIH/ISSFAL sponsored workshop.

Given evidence that fish oil supplements can also help reduce the risk of depression, expectant mothers might be able to reduce their risk of post-partum depression by incorporating into their diets low-risk supplements with known anti-depression and brain and nervous system support including fish oil, folic acid, and vitamin B12.

Save Money, Calories, and Your Health

Mega EPA/DHA Fish Oil can let you get higher dosages of EPA and DHA of 2400mg per day, suitable for people with high LDL cholesterol and/or triglycerides, while taking half the number of softgels per day versus typical fish oil products. Furthermore, it significantly reduces your intake of cholesterol and fat calories from the fish oil supplements. The added cost is only a little more than $1 more per month than Costco’s regular strength fish oil product which has 5 times the amount of cholesterol and twice the calories per the same amount of EPA and DHA.

The 64mg of cholesterol you’d save per day is about the reduction in cholesterol intake you would get from eating one less McDonald’s Quarter Pounder per day. If you like eggs, cutting down on cholesterol intake is particularly important as just one egg can have well more than 200mg of cholesterol. Simply taking regular fish oil supplements plus an egg a day would lead to cholesterol intake beyond the 300mg recommended maximum daily intake.

Omega-3 Fish Oils vs. Flax Seed Supplements

Life Extension Mega EPA/DHA Fish Oil is one of the better quality supplements for Omega-3 fish oils and very well priced during this overstock sale. It contains twice the EPA and DHA per softgel as many popular brands, but with 80% less cholesterol and half the calories. Keep in mind that both members and non-members enjoy the same pricing on Life Extension overstock items. You can use this sale to try out Life Extension products without becoming a member.

If you’re familiar with omega-3 supplements, you may know that ground flax seed and flax seed fiber are sources of alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which is similar to omega-3 EPA and DHA. Moreover, plant sources generally have little to no cholesterol. However, what you might not know is that only about 10% of the ALA in flax supplements gets absorbed usefully by the body. You may need to consume very large amounts of flax products to get similar benefits as common omega-3 fish oils supplements that have far more effective EPA and DHA.

Life Extension vs. Costco Fish Oil

Many of you may be Costco members who have bought Costco’s Kirkland Signature Fish Oil Concentrate product. It’s a great product and very well-priced. It consists of 400 softgels of fish oil containing 300mg of EPA and DHA per serving. This Costco product typically costs about $10 per bottle of 400 capsules and is sometimes on sale for as little as a bit under $7 per bottle.

However, on overstock sale the Life Extension product is a better choice. It is just slightly more expensive than the regular price for Costco’s standard fish oil product, but is significantly better in terms of nutritional content. Each capsule of Life Extension Mega EPA/DHA Fish Oil has twice the EPA and DHA of the Costco product but 50% fewer calories and 80% less cholesterol. So you get more omega-3 with far less undesirable cholesterol and fat calories for just slightly more money.

Premium Fish Oils — Consider Cost vs. Benefit Tradeoff

As with many Life Extension products, there is an even higher quality product variant available, but at a much higher price. While the Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans & Olive Fruit Extract product is even higher quality, even at its 10 bottle member pricing it is almost 3 times as expensive as the sale price on Mega EPA/DHA. If you’re interested in the benefits of sesame lignans (which help reduce lipid peroxidation) and olive fruit extract, you could apply the savings from buying Mega EPA/DHA Fish Oil to buy them separately. For instance, you could get them from another product (such as Life Extension’s Super Booster Softgels with Advanced K2 Complex, Gamma E Tocopherol with Sesame Lignans, and Tocotrienols with Sesame Lignans products) that contain 20mg of sesame lignans per softgel with other useful nutrients and get your olive oil from extra virgin olive oil for cooking.

Costco also has a premium fish oil product, their Kirkland Signature Enteric Coated Fish Oil. During the overstock sale, Life Extension Mega EPA/DHA Fish Oil is less expensive than this brand, but still has 50% fewer calories and about 60% less cholesterol for the equivalent dosage.

Recommended Dosages of EPA and DHA

Recommendations for omega-3 supplements are usually around 1200mg of combined EPA plus DHA per day for people with borderline or mildly high triglyceride or LDL cholesterol levels, 1800 mg per day for moderately high levels, and 2400 mg per day for very high levels which unfortunately is quite common. Keep in mind even if your LDL cholesterol levels are not sky-high, your triglycerides may be and omega-3 supplements can help with this problem, too. Dosages for people with elevated risk of blood clotting range even higher, even over 4800 mg per day.

Product Comparison

In the chart below, I’ve provided a comparison between the four omega-3 fish oil products mentioned in this article. Although the basic Costco product is the cheapest, if you have very high trigylceride or LDL levels and take 2400mg of EPA plus DHA per day, by taking the necessary 8 softgels per day of that supplement you’d be getting 80mg of extra cholesterol (about 25% to 40% of the typical daily cholesterol intake) and 80 calories, mostly from fat.

Comparison of Omega-3 fish oil supplements Life Extension Mega EPA/DHA Fish Oil Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans & Olive Fruit Extract Costco Kirkland Fish Oil Costco Kirkland Enteric Coated Fish Oil
EPA + DHA (mg) 600 600 300 684
EPA (mg) 360 350 not stated 410
DHA (mg) 240 250 not stated 274
Vitamin E (IU) 4 not stated not stated not stated
Olive fruit extract none 300mg none none
Sesame lignan extract none 10mg none none
Calories 10 10.5 10 10
Cholesterol (mg) 4 4 10 10
Price per container $6.98 $18.68 $9.69 $16.49
Softgels per container 120 120 400 180
Price / softgel $0.0582 $0.1557 $0.0242 $0.0916
Price / 1200mg $0.1163 $0.3113 $0.0969 $0.1607
Daily dosage of 1200mg of EPA+DHA per day (typical dosage)
Softgels per day 2 2 4 2
Calories per day 20 21 40 20
Cholesterol per day (mg) 8 8 40 20
Annual cost $42.46 $113.64 $35.37 $66.88
Containers per year 6.08 6.08 3.65 4.06
Daily dosage of 2400mg of EPA+DHA per day (high blood lipid dosage)
Softgels per day 4 4 8 4
Calories per day 40 42 80 40
Cholesterol per day (mg) 16 16 80 40
Annual cost $84.92 $227.27 $70.74 $133.75
Containers per year 12.17 12.17 7.3 8.11

Tips for Using Omega-3 Fish Oil Products

Be sure to take fish oil products well apart from dietary fiber supplements and other supplements that reduce fat absorption. Omega-3 EPA and DHA are fatty acids that the body will better absorb if they are not soaked up by fiber supplements.

If you are taking dietary supplements that inhibit fat absorption, you should take fish oil supplements several hours before or after these supplements. Many such supplements work by inhibiting the lipase enzyme necessary for digesting fat. Products that contain lipase enzyme inhibitors including Life Extension’s Enhanced Irvingia with Calorie Control Complex and GlaxoSmithKline’s Alli (Orlistat). By the way, these two products really do work well. A friend of mine has been taking them on a daily basis for about two months and has lost nearly 10 pounds as they help reduce his appetite and reduce the number of fat and carbohydrate calories absorbed. He also takes Mega EPA/DHA, but times it to be several hours before or after dinner when he takes the Irvingia and Alli supplements along with fiber supplements including oat bran, psyllium, gymnema sylvestre, and a colon cleanser product. The fiber supplements help absorb excess fat and flush it out of the body, thus reducing some of the side effects from lipase inhibitors leaving undigested fat in the intestines.

Omega-3 fish oils made by reputable manufacturers do not have mercury, PCB, and other similar contamination found in fish meat itself. Please see our previous article Statin Side Effects, Risks, and Alternatives for more information.

As mentioned earlier, pregnant and nursing women in particular need a lot of DHA because DHA is critical to the growth of fetal and infant neural and nervous systems, especially the brain. Pregnant women should get their omega-3 intake from supplements that are mercury-free rather then from fish that is much more likely to be contaminated with levels of mercury that could harm an unborn or nursing baby.

Fish oil supplements may “thin” the blood and thereby decrease the risk of clots and increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. If you are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications such as Coumadin, warfarin, or Plavix, be sure to tell your doctor about taking fish oil supplements as they may affect the medicine dosage you should take. You may want to discuss with your doctor taking high-dosage fish oil at 3000mg per day or more in conjunction with supplements such as nattokinase and enteric-coated bromelain that can help reduce inflammatory conditions and high fibrinogen levels that can result in dangerous blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. Recent studies show that such supplements work independently of vitamin-K agonist drugs such as warfarin and Coumadin, so your doctor may consider using them in conjunction or in place of such drugs as these supplements may help lessen diet-dependent effect variability and long-term side effects such as increased arterial calcification and atherosclerosis.

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Further Reading

Last Life Extension “Final Clearance” Sale for 2009

Statin Side Effects, Risks, and Alternatives

No More Heart Attacks!

The Great American Heart Hoax (excerpt from Dr. Ozner’s book)

How to Circumvent 17 Independent Heart Attack Risk Factors

More Weight Loss than Any Other Discovery in Supplement History

Why Aging People Fail to Lose Weight

Physician’s Guide: Using Blood Test Findings To Safely Induce Weight Loss

Hidden Cardiac Risk Factors

Variable Hypocoagulant Effect of Fish Oil Intake in Humans:
Modulation of Fibrinogen Level and Thrombin Generation

Vitamin K and Warfarin: What You Should Know

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned in this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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