Q: How many different fish oil forms are there, and what is the difference?
A: Fish oils are available in three forms:
A: While there are three forms of marine oils, Carlson fish oils fall into four categories:
A: No. Whether you choose TG, EE, or rTG fish oil, what's most important is the end result. Omega-3 supplements from fish oil are lifestyle supplements meant to be taken long-term for the benefits associated with an EPA and DHA red blood cell concentration above 8%. An appropriate daily dose of any form can achieve this goal and help maintain optimal blood EPA and DHA levels.
by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
Calcium is required at every stage of life. It’s crucial starting in childhood when we really develop a solid foundation for healthy bones in the future. Throughout adolescence, bones grow rapidly. It’s also very important during pregnancy and lactation, as well as when one is healing from injuries. In later years, bones can begin to lose some of their sturdiness and strength, so a calcium-rich diet and supplementation become even more important. But with all of the options, it can be difficult to decide which type of calcium to take.
Some of the forms you’ll find on store shelves include: calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium bis-glycinate, calcium citrate malate, calcium phosphate, calcium gluconate, calcium lactate, MCHC (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite), and others. Before choosing a type, there are several factors that need to be addressed. First, one should grasp the concept and importance of elemental calcium. Elemental calcium is the actual amount of calcium within the calcium supplement.
Looking at the differences between calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, there is more elemental calcium in calcium carbonate (40% elemental) than in calcium citrate (21%). A label may state 1,250 milligrams (mg) of calcium carbonate, which contains only 500 mg of elemental calcium. We can determine this because it is 40% elemental. This is important to note, because it can result in taking a lot of pills with the potential of absorbing little actual calcium into the blood stream.
Second, we need to look at solubility. Each form has a different degree of solubility and absorption. "Solubility” means the amount that can be dissolved in water at a neutral pH. If stomach acid levels are high, most forms of calcium are soluble. This is the case for most younger individuals, but as we grow older several issues can come into play (less stomach acid, acid-blockers) increasing the need for a more soluble form of calcium.
Third, it is important to remember that our body also needs other helper nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, and other minerals to better absorb any form of calcium. A more pH base intestine can interfere with calcium absorption, but vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and several other minerals increase intestinal absorption. All forms of calcium are absorbed best when taken with meals.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for daily calcium is around 1,000 mg for adults, with upper limits ranging from 2,000-2,500 mg/d. This amount should be the daily total coming from a combined food and supplemental source. Calcium supplements are available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, chews, liquids and powders. So whichever form of calcium you choose, remember that all varieties of calcium supplements are better absorbed when taken in small doses of 500 mg or less at a time, during mealtime.
by Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
In our modern times of high stress, insufficient sleep, and unbalanced diets, it can be very difficult to maintain balance and achieve optimal wellness. Men are no different than women as far as having hectic schedules, which can put quite a burden on our bodies. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top four leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. No matter where we are in our lives: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond, there are basic supplements all men need for overall general health. These include a men’s multi, omega-3s, additional D3 and K2, and probiotics.
Choose a multivitamin made specifically for men, which typically provides specific nutrients targeted to men’s needs. A good quality multivitamin and mineral formula can help ensure we receive the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of important vitamins and minerals.
It should contain enough B vitamins to help combat stress and promote energy production. Look for a formula that provides vitamin D3 and K2 as MK-7, which are both important for heart and bone health. Nutrients that support prostate health include vitamin E, zinc, and selenium. Nutrients that help maintain normal blood glucose levels include chromium, vanadium, and alpha lipoic acid. It would be excellent if the formula also provided the beneficial omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) too.
Beyond the omega-3s we receive in our multi, additional omega-3s are beneficial for many reasons. A substantial amount of researching shows omega-3s support mood, memory, brain, nerve, vision, joint, and cardiovascular health. The AHA (American Heart Association) and GOED (Global Organization of EPA and DHA) recommend we receive 500 mg of the omega-3s EPA and DHA per day for the general healthy adult population. Some research shows we should receive more like 1,000 to 2,000 mg of EPA and DHA daily.
Multis usually contain about 25 mcg (1,000 IU) of vitamin D3, but recent research is showing we need even more. Vitamin D3 is incredibly important for promoting healthy growth and development; supporting teeth, bone, and muscle health; assisting with healthy immune and cardiovascular systems; and aiding with a healthier mood. It’s difficult to synthesize adequate amounts of vitamin D3 from sunlight due to restricting time out in the sun, sunscreen, latitude, time of year, and color of skin, so a supplement can be a great option.
Vitamin D3 is important for calcium transport and absorption, and vitamin K2 is critical for the formation of a strong bone matrix and cardiovascular health. Many multivitamin and mineral formulas don’t provide any or enough vitamin K2, so search for one that does, or take an additional vitamin K2 supplement. Most adult recommendations for vitamin K2 are around 45 to 180 mcg per day.
Anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of our immune system is located in our GI (gastrointestinal tract). Probiotics are beneficial bacteria located throughout our body, but mainly housed in our intestines. They help support GI health and immune function. If our body depletes these healthy bacteria, it can’t maintain homeostasis, which is essential for good health. Look for a formula that provides a variety of strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Whether we start in our 20s or 60s, we can maintain or work to regain our health with a variety of lifestyle, nutritional, and supplemental changes. Be sure to keep up on the core basic supplements mentioned above in order to keep up with the pace and demands of life.
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.
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