Calamari Oil is a relatively new source of omega-3 fatty acid which supports your heart, brain and eyes. Calamari Oil also contains more omega-3 than fish oil and krill oil combined, and is ecologically sustainable. It is specifically high in omega-3 DHA, which has benefits for many parts of the body including brain, eye, heart, nervous system and more. We take a look at omega-3s, which ones are the most important, and why calamari oil might be a better choice for getting your daily omega-3 boost.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
It has become a common marketing catch phrase: “Now with added omega-3”. We increasingly see claims like these on bread packs in the supermarket. Or popping up on cereal boxes. And increasingly on TV advertisements for baby-formula. Omega-3s are, seemingly, everywhere. However, it is important for consumers to know that not all omega-3s are created the same. Importantly, there are three different types of omega-3: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Some of these omega-3s are more important for your health than others. The most potent, and most important type of omega-3 for human life, is DHA. We will take a closer look at DHA and it’s benefits in a moment. EPA is the second most critical form of omega-3, followed closely by ALA.
Omega-3s are “essential fatty acids” – they are called “essential” because humans cannot survive without them, yet the human body is unable to produce these fatty acids itself. Hence, it is ‘essential’ that we get these omega-3s from food. Most plant sources of omega-3, such as flaxseed oil, hemp oil or chia seeds contain the omega-3 called ALA. ALA, whilst still being an “essential fatty acid” and important for health, does not provide the same broad benefits that the omega-3 called DHA does. This difference is critical in understanding which omega-3 you should be taking – marketing claims that a product is “high in omega-3” or has “added omega-3” does not necessarily mean it is high in DHA. Research shows that DHA has very broad health benefits, from supporting healthy brain function and heart health to healthy eyes etc. Only products that are high in omega-3 DHA provide these benefits. DHA is typically found in marine sources, such as oily fish (salmon, tuna), or fish oils or algae sources. Calamari oil, a relatively new player in the omega-3 supplement market, is richer in DHA than all other sources of omega-3, including fish oil, algae sources and krill oil. Given the broad health benefits offered by DHA compared to other omega-3 types, Calamari Oil potentially offers a more potent omega-3 supplement than regular fish oils. More on that in a moment.
For the vegetarians among you: the omega-3 ALA typically found in most vegetable sources such as hemp oil or flaxseed oil is still an essential fatty acid and important to health. And the human body can convert ALA and EPA to the more crucial DHA. However the conversion rate is inefficient… from ingested ALA, 2.8% is converted to EPA and only 0.04% to DHA. In many people, particularly the elderly, this conversion process is even less efficient. This is important when choosing vegetarian omega-3 supplements – the ALA found in most plant sources is not the same as DHA and EPA. If you are looking to boost your omega-3 DHA levels and fish oil or calamari oil are out of the question, we recommend supplements algae sources, which contain some DHA.
Why is DHA in Calamari Oil important?
There is little debate that calamari oil is richer in omega-3 DHA than fish oil or krill oil. There is a growing body of research that confirms omega-3 fatty acids as essential for numerous aspects of human health. Several established facts are already well known include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids can’t be synthesised by the human body and must be provided from the diet
- Omega-3 fatty acids are a structural element in all tissues of the body
- Omega 3-fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain, eyes, nervous system and other vital organs
- Several molecules from omega-3 alleviate inflammation
Researchers have been able to identify the specific action of these fatty acids and have proven that DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is the preferred omega-3 for:
- growth and development (Approximately 60% of the human brain is made up of fats, of this 40% of it is DHA.)
- prevention of cardiovascular disease (The Australian Heart Foundation recommends 500mg daily of combined DHA & EPA)
- prevention of an eye disease called age-related macular degeneration
- improving communication between brain cells and making cell membranes more fluid
- development and proper maintenance of the brain
- development of the brain and retina membranes of developing foetus when taken during pregnancy
They also believe that DHA might be the preferred omega-3 for eye health and the prevention of brain decline in the elderly. Recent studies also suggest that low DHA may also impact ability to get restful sleep in both children and adults. The more research we see on omega-3 DHA here at Health365, the more we are convinced it is absolutely crucial for health.
Advantages of Calamari Oil Omega-3
Calamari is the highest known source of DHA and currently the most ecologically sustainable. The Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australian has recently added the product to the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
EPA and DHA content of any batch of omega-3 supplements are analysed to ensure and confirm that the content matches the manufacturers claims. Below is a comparison of the DHA levels in the most popular omega-3 supplements.
DHA Content of popular Omega-3 Sources
- Calamari oil – 470mg/g
- Algal – 350mg/g
- Fish (salmon, anchovies)– 120mg/g
- Flaxseed – 0mg/g
Is Calamari Oil Sustainable
Key to many consumers’ choice of supplement is sustainability. More than 2 million tons of calamari is caught around the world yearly. Of this, 10% of the food-grade raw material is discarded / not used for human consumption. Calamari Oil is refined from this unutilised portion of the catch – which is approximately 200,000 tons.
Calamari have short life spans of approximately 450 days. They also have a low reproductive age and are inherently resilient to fishing pressure. This means that, even with current fishing levels, the available biomass of calamari continues to grow. Rather than being trawled or harvested by industrial means, the calamari used to produce calamari oil is fished by hookline, by small vessels which means:
- Highly selective hooklines that primarily target adult specimens
- Virtually zero collateral damage to other species
- No negative impact to the ocean floor or coral reefs.
Who Should Take Omega-3 Supplements
Unless you are currently consuming the recommended amount of fish in your diet, you should consider supplementing your diet with omega-3 supplements. The recommendation is the same for adults, pregnant and breastfeeding women and children.
The Australian Heart Foundation recommends 500mg daily of combined EPA & DHA which means eating two to three serves of oily fish each week. If you have a history of heart disease, you require more.
As a quick guideline here is how you can eat your recommended dose of DHA:
- 150gms of salmon, mackerel or trevalla three times a week
- 300gms of dory, flounder, snapper, cod or bass three times a week
- 1 calamari oil tablet daily
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