Are you interested in learning why and how omega-3 fatty acids are so darn good for you? I’ll fill you in on all the healthy details in this article. And include some special product reviews and recipes using Barlean’s fish oil and other forms of omega-3 supplements from one of America’s top-selling brands of omega-3 supplements.
I love this topic so much that I’m willing to scream about the benefits of omega-3’s from the mountaintops. Just check out all these amazing benefits below and I’m sure you’ll agree you need more in your life as well!
*Disclaimer: I was generously gifted these products from Barlean’s. However, no other compensation was given, and all content and opinions are my own.
Table of Contents
Types of Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are ones in which the body cannot produce on its own. Hence the word “essential”. So, humans need to get these from food sources. There are two types of essential fatty acids, also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These are:
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids
For the sake of this review and recipe post, I am only going to focus on omega-3’s. However, if you are looking for recommendations on the appropriate ratio of omega 3-6, I briefly go over this below. >Skip to ‘Recommended Dosage of Omega Fatty Acids’<
FYI, there are also omega-9 fatty acids which are NOT considered “essential” since your body can produce them. Omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). Some sources of omega-9 fatty acids are olive oil, almond oil, peanut oil, almonds, walnuts, and cashews.
It’s also important to know that most people get enough omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids from their diet. So supplementation may not be necessary. Omega-3 supplementation on the other hand, is more likely to be needed.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Within the realm of omega-3 fatty acids, there are three different forms. These are DHA, EPA, and ALA.
DHA and EPA
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are omega-3 fatty acids that come mainly from marine sources, like salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, and sardines. However they can also be obtained through consuming fish oil, krill oil, and vegan sources like algae oil supplements (1).
Barlean’s, a Washington-based company that has been producing and selling quality omega-3 supplements since 1989, has a line of fish oils to meet this need. Their line includes fruit flavored emulsions, oils, and softgels. Some examples of products include:
- Mango Peach Smoothie Fish Oil + Vitamin D3
- Key Lime Pie High Potency Fish Oil
- Passion Pineapple High Potency Fish Oil
- Fresh Catch® Ultra EPA-DHA Fish Oil Softgels
They even accommodate vegans and those that prefer algae oil by offering a line that includes:
- Vegan Omega which is a combination of flax and algae oil
- Seriously Delicious Plant-Based Omega-3 in Pink Lemonade Swirl
- Seriously Delicious Plant-Based Omega-3 in Ginger Peach Swirl
Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is the plant-based source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Some of these plant sources include flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. Walnuts are also one of the only nuts that are a good source of plant-based omega-3 ALA (1).
Your body is capable of converting ALA to DHA and EPA although it can only convert a small amount (up to ~15%) (1).
At Barlean’s, they also sell a variety of flaxseeds and flax oils to use as dietary supplements and add-in’s when cooking and baking. I suggest trying the:
- Strawberry Banana Smoothie Flax Oil
- Blackberry Smoothie Flax Oil
- Organic Forti-Flax™ Flaxseed
- Organic Chia Seed
Health Benefits of Omega-3’s
Research shows that substituting omega-6 and 9 containing foods in place of foods high in saturated fats are beneficial to health. However, there is even more research and supportive evidence on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. I’ve outlined a few of these major health benefits below.
Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol). They are also known to decreased platelet aggregation (2). This is the clumping together of platelets in your blood that can potentially lead to the formation of blood clots. Other heart health benefits include:
- lowering resting blood pressure
- decreasing risk of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias)
- decreasing risk of atherosclerosis
- reducing inflammation
Brain and Cognitive Health
There are also many benefits documented on omega -3 intake and brain development. The benefits are shown thoughout all life stages, from the time we are tiny babies with developing brains until we age as older adults (3).
Dietary fatty acids are able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Because of this, many neuronal processes can be influenced. For example, omega-3 fatty acids may prevent cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and other dementias, depression, and help retain brain structure and thinking skills as we age (4,5,6).
Additionally, one systematic review states that those who are lonely, elderly, or eat fewer healthy foods with omega-3 may benefit from an omega-3 supplement (7).
Joint and Inflammatory Health
Omega-3’s also have an anti-inflammatory effect. One meta-analysis shows that supplementing with marine oil >2 gm/day may benefit those with inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis (8).
Study participants also reported less morning stiffness and swollen joints (8). Which is great news for those with any type of arthritis or possible inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions.
Skin Health and Aging
The fatty acids in fish oil and other marine oils may also relieve inflammatory skin conditions. Such conditions include:
- and skin cancers
These benefits were found in both animal and human studes. Additionally, other benefits may include helping heal wounds and reducing symptoms of dermatitis (9).
And finally, research conducted over the past 2.5 years has shown benefits of omega-3 fatty acids to those with COVID-19 infection (10).
The study shows that by adding omega-3 fatty acids to a regimen that includes other nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D, you may help reduce the inflammatory process that results from a COVID-19 infection. This is said to also improve immune health and the respiratory issues that are associated (10).
Recommended Dosage of Omega Fatty Acids
DHA and EPA Recommendations
When it comes to food, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we consume at least 2 servings of fish per week. This includes fatty fish that contain essential fatty acids DHA and EPA. They specifically encourage getting sources low in methylmercury, such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, Pacific oysters, and trout (11).
The American Heart Association also encourages intake of omega-3 intake and supplements for those with coronary heart disease as it is proven to reduce CVD risk and stroke.
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for DHA and EPA, although most health organizations agree that consuming 250-500 mg/day of combine EPA and DHA is beneficial (12). Studies also show that higher dosages of between 3 gm and 5gm of combined EPA and DHA per day are also effective and safe when it comes to reducing triglycerides and other cardiovascular health factors (12,13).
Plant-Based ALA Recommendations
Vegans or those sensitive or allergic to fish products can get omega-3 fatty acids too. This is in the form of plant-based alpha linolenic acid (ALA).
The recommended daily intake of ALA for adult women is 1.1 gm/day and for men it is 1.6 gm/day (1).
If supplementing with a product containing omega-3,6, and 9, it’s best to stick with a higher ratio of omega-3 compared to omega-6’s and 9’s. This is because we likely get enough omega-6 and 9 from our diet.
Most of us following a Western diet easily get a large amount of omega-6 versus omega-3. According to one study the ratio is as high as 16:1 which increases chances of developing chronic and inflammatory diseases (14). Lower ratios actually show the opposite effect. For this reason, a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is more beneficial to reducing chronic and inflammatory diseases.
If you’re looking for an adequate ratio, aim anywhere from 1:1 to 4:1. The study above states that a ratio of 4:1 as secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, helps reduce total mortality by 70%.
So the bottom line here is that ratio is important. A good balance of omega-3 to omega-6 needs to be kept.
Omega-3 Product Reviews & Recipes
Review #1: Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Mango Peach Smoothie Fish Oil + Vitamin D3
Form: Creamy Liquid Emulsion
Flavor/Taste/Appearance: As the name of the product suggests, this really is “seriously delicious”. The appearance is a light, orange color that is honey-like in consistency. And the mango peach flavor is fruity, creamy, and sweet. It really does taste like a smoothie. And can easily be licked straight out of the spoon. YUM!
When I first tried this, I was expecting at the minimum, a fishy aftertaste. But guess what? None whatsoever! My almost 3-year-old son loves it and asks for more every time. No joke.
Nutritional Profile: Each 16 oz. bottle provides (29) 1-tablespoon servings to last nearly a month. With each serving you get:
- 60 calories
- 15 mcg or 600 IU of Vitamin D
- 660 mg EPA
- 420 mg DHA
- 270 mg other omega-3 fatty acids
This provides 1,080 mg of combined EPA/DHA per serving!
Ingredients: water, fish oil (anchovy, sardine, and/or mackerel, xylitol, glycerine, gum arabic, natural flavors, citric acid, xanthan gum, antioxidant blend [Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol), rosemary extract, green tea extract, and ascorbyl palmitate], guar gum, beta-carotene, vegetable juice, sorbic acid, Vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol).
Review Summary & Comments: This is a great option if you are looking for a supplement you can take orally. It does not have a fishy taste when consuming and there is no need to worry about “fish burps” afterwards. The added vitamin D3 is also a welcome bonus for those not already taking a vitamin D supplement. And it provides the recommended amount of combine EPH and DHA per serving, making it a suitable supplement to take on a daily basis.
Try this recipe using Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Mango Peach Smoothie Fish Oil + Vitamin D3:
Review #2: Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Pink Lemonade Swirl Algae Oil
Form: Creamy Liquid Emulsion
Flavor/Taste/Appearance: Upon first sight, this pink, creamy emulsion looks as good as it’s about to taste. The consistency is honey-like. And the taste is just as you’d expect; a delectable, bright lemony flavor. This does not at all taste of the sea, no saltiness, no algae or greenish hue. Just pure deliciousness by the spoonful.
- 70 calories
- 420 mg DHA
- 210 mg EPA
This provides 630 mg of combined EPA-DHA per serving!
Ingredients: water, high oleic sunflower oil, xylitol, glycerine, algal oil, natural flavors, gum arabic, citric acid, antioxidant, blend [Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol), rosemary extract, ascorbyl palmitate, and green tea extract], xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, vegetable juice (for color), guar gum, sorbic acid.
Review Summary & Comments: This vegan omega-3 algae oil supplement is a great option if you are looking for a great tasting VEGAN way to add omega-3’s in your diet. It has such a pleasant, sweet taste that taking it daily is a treat, not a chore. While Barlean’s also makes a special line for kids, this one is also suitable for all ages. And it provides the recommended daily amount of combine EPH and DHA per serving.
The high oleic sunflower oil does add some omega-6 monounsaturated fats, however it is a much more beneficial ratio than regular sunflower oil. And studies show that replacing saturated fats with omega-6 fats is still effective at lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels (15).
Try this recipe using Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Pink Lemonade Swirl Algae Oil:
Review #3: Barlean’s Organic Forti-Flax™ Flaxseed
Form: premium ground flaxseeds
Flavor/Taste: Flaxseeds are mildly nutty and earthy in flavor and the fibrous consistency makes it perfect to use in baked goods and hot cereals.
Nutritional Profile: Their 14 oz. bag provides about 26 servings. Each serving size is 2 tablespoon (15 gram), which provides:
- 80 calories
- 4 grams of fiber
- 3 grams of protein
- 4.5 grams polyunsaturated fat
- 1 gram monounsaturated fat
Ingredients: organic flaxseeds
Review Summary & Comments: This is as pure and unadulterated as it gets. And the fact that the flaxseeds are already ground for you is very convenient, since the nutritional benefits are best utilized by our body when the seeds are ground, not whole.
This is a great option for those who want more fiber and a plant-based form of omega-3. Or those who would rather add omega-3’s to baked goods and hot cereals.
One serving provides about 3.2 grams of omega-3’s from plant-based ALA (16). This meets the recommended daily amount of ALA.
Try this recipe using Barlean’s Organic Forti-Flax™ Flaxseed:
Where to Buy Barlean’s Products
Barlean’s products are sold in many locations around the United States, in-store and online. Here are few places you can get some of your own:
- Barlean’s Website
- sign up to their newsletter and get 15% off your order!
- iHerb.com Website
- click on autoship at checkout and get at least 5% off + recurring shipments of Barlean’s at the frequency of your choosing!
- You can also try your local health food store or Walmart, Target, or Amazon.
- If purchasing online from Walmart, Target, or Amazon, just type in “Barlean’s” in the search bar.
Follow Barlean’s on social media to stay up-to-date with products, news, and special discounts!
I hope you can see how beneficial omega-3 supplements can be to your health. Remember that most people get enough omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids from food sources. And the American Heart Association actually highly encourages intake of fatty fish at least 2 times per week, so if don’t currently do this, a supplement may benefit you. Additionally, research indicates that intake of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
I truly hope that these recipes using Barlean’s fish oil and other products have inspired you to find creative ways to use them. Continue making sure you get an adequate amount of omega-3’s from all sources and your heart will thank you. 🥰
Want to get more omega-3’s in your life? Check out these recipes below.
- Broiled Salmon with Marmalade Dijon Glaze
- Cookie Butter Overnight Oats
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies [Egg-Free]
Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.