Pur-EFA fish oil concentrate
We prefer this brand because ...
PurEFA acts like a concentrate of fish oil, meaning that more of it is absorbed than regular whole fish oil, and it has no fishy after-taste. Because of its ultra-high absorption, far fewer capsules are needed to obtain good levels of omega-3 fats in your body. Two or three PurEFA capsules daily work as well as two tablespoons of whole fish oil, which would translate to about eight to ten regular fish oil capsules! In the past we carried other high quality whole fish oils in our clinic, but even our most enthusiastic patients could not take eight pills daily. People were under-dosing, and not receiving benefits. With PurEFA, we see ongoing outstanding results for cholesterol, cardiovascular and brain health, asthma, joint pain, skin conditions, eye protection, and mood support, and our patients continue to request it year after year. This formula is one of our favorite recommendations, as a cornerstone of health, for over a decade.
PurEFA has no fishy flavor because it is a concentrate, and patients love that it does not burp up an after-taste. The capsules are a moderate size, not huge. PurEFA has been the subject of over twenty peer-reviewed clinical trials and scientific papers. It was developed by a research group at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, using a method to preserve the natural omega-3 fat profile along with its innate whole-oil antioxidants and all elements of naturally-occurring fish oil. We like the 8:5 ratio of EPA to DHA, the proportions found together in Nature. PurEFA is still made in Uppsala derived from fish living in the least polluted waters. Independent testing confirms that it is free from environmental contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins, and heavy metals. Studies show that PurEFA, extracted with a specific stabilization technique Pufanox®, is up to ten times more stable and resistant to oxidative degradation than comparative fish oils. The availability of high-quality fish oil concentrates, free from damaged lipid peroxides, is a major advance in nutritional medicine.
PurEFA is excellent value: at about 27 cents per capsule or $16-24 per month, depending on daily dose, it is as effective in our view but a fraction of the price of a popular prescription fish oil concentrate called Lovaza, approved by the FDA in 2007. Cardiologists recommend Lovaza for its heart and lipid benefits, but it is prohibitively expensive for many people. Lovaza costs $1.15-$2 per capsule, at least $160 per bottle online or in Canada, $300 or more in the US, and often $100-150 per month with insurance coverage.
About fish oil and omega-3 fats
The key fact is that our human bodies cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, so they are essential fats that we must consume as they have numerous wide-ranging health benefits for many body systems. The term 'omega-3' refers to the chemical structure of the long-chain fat and the location of its double bonds. The main food sources of omega-3 fats include oily fish in the animal kingdom including salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines, and flax seed oil in the vegetable kingdom. For vegetarians we recommend one to two tablespoons of organic cold-pressed flax oil daily, eaten with cool food as it is heat-sensitive.
Omega-3 fats are an integral part of every cell membrane throughout the body, and required for membrane cell receptors to function. All cells are wrapped in a membrane that acts as a selective barrier to regulate passage of nutrients and waste in and out of the cell. The membrane is made of fatty acid phospholipids and cholesterol, in one of its very important jobs. Each new cell will try to form its membrane with optimal amounts of omega-3 fats, but if these are lacking the membrane will include saturated or other fats. An impaired cell membrane deficient in omega-3 fats is less fluid, less able to function as a vital barrier to keep electrolytes, water and vital nutrients within the cell; it cannot efficiently communicate with other cells or receive regulating hormones such as insulin. Then homeostasis that should maintain stable conditions within tissues is compromised.
Just as important, omega-3 fatty acids are building blocks for prostaglandins, types of regulatory mediators which help control inflammation, allergic tendency, immunity, blood pressure, platelet stickiness and clot risk, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and more. Omega-3 oils promote the pathway that forms the beneficial prostaglandin 2 series and the less-inflammatory leukotrienes. They also bind to cell receptors that regulate genetic function.
Disturbance of membrane quality and prostaglandin balance underlie most disorders related to omega-3 deficiency. It is through the helpful influence on membranes and prostaglandin balance that omega-3 fats have their widespread beneficial actions.
As an aside, omega-6 and -9 fats are not essential: they can be made in the human body; and they are found in many foods including olive and other vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, eggs and legumes. There are a few omega-6 fats like GLA that taken as concentrates have specific medical benefits, discussed under GLA-240.
There are many documented cardiovascular benefits for omega-3 fats: There is strong scientific evidence from many human trials that omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce total cholesterol levels by 20% or more, and drop triglycerides by 20% to 50%. Several multiple large-scale population studies and randomized controlled trials found that sufficient DHA and EPA intake may lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, stroke, and can slow the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques. We have often seen fish oil concentrate improve 'good' HDL cholesterol and risk ratios. Numerous double-blind trials have found that high blood pressure drops by 4-5mmHg for systolic and 2-3mmHg for diastolic pressure, and blood flow can improve, lipoprotein (a) levels decrease, and the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 supplementation further helps reduce atherosclerosis risk. Omega-3 fats enhance normal electrical conduction in the heart, to keep a steady rhythm: helping prevent arrhythmias that cause most of the 500,000-plus cardiac deaths in America each year. For heart attack survivors, omega-3 oils reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 50% and they are less likely to have a repeat heart attack, unstable angina or stents or bypass surgery on blocked coronary arteries. Higher intake of fish oil for an average of 3.9 years reduces the risk of heart failure 15%. But all of these benefits appear to be dose dependent: omega-3 fats only work if you get enough.
Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory, partly by improving prostaglandin balance. Silent inflammation and C-reactive protein canbe decreased, reducing risk of heart disease and potentially cancer. Many published studies show that for inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid, lupus and psoriatic arthritis, omega-3 oils reduce joint pain, the number of tender or swollen joints, morning stiffness, fatigue, and serum markers of inflammation. For auto-immune conditions where the body attacks its own tissues causing severe inflammation and tissue destruction, including multiple sclerosis and Raynaud's, omega-3 supplementation is looking effective.
For allergic conditions, including asthma and allergic rhinitis, seasonal nasal allergies and possibly chronic sinusitis, omega-3 oils are very important for calming the allergy response, so that tissues are less likely to react to pollen, dander, mold, irritant foods or other triggers. Changing the balance of fats and oils in the body to prevent or defuse allergic reactions is fundamental treatment for these conditions. When cells and their membranes have higher omega-3 levels they make less of the highly inflammatory 4-series type of leukotrienes and favor the lower-inflammatory 5-series type. It may take six to twelve months for full improvement to take effect, as new cells with richer omega-3 levels are gradually made. Clinical research has found that fish oil improves peak flow, and reduces medication use and cough for asthma.
Acne is helped by omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the inflammation associated with acne, and support immunity. Increasing the levels of polyunsaturated omega-3 fats, over saturated fats, in the body discourages thick oil secretions in pores. There are reports that omega-3 fats also calm the itching and scaling of eczema. Psoriasis sufferers in research studies have had moderate or good relief from scaling and itching in up to 77% of cases.
Fish oil is an effective preventive for migraine headaches, along with the vitamin E family. There is good evidence that blood vessel instability, and smooth muscle layers that over-react and contract or relax too readily, contributes to the over-constriction and dilation of blood vessels that causes pain. Migraine sufferers also have platelets that clump more readily. Double-bind studies show that omega-3 oils can reduce the frequency, duration and severity of migraines, maybe by decreasing platelet aggregation, stabilizing blood flow, and inhibiting inflammatory mediators.
For diabetes, omega-3 fats are vital supplements with numerous well-studied benefits. Higher omega-3 levels make cells more receptive to insulin, and may improve insulin's actions. Omega-3 oils reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower triglycerides, which are more likely to be elevated with diabetes. Intensive analyses by Oxford University and the Mayo Clinic of data from hundreds of subjects in clinical trials confirmed that omega-3 oils have no adverse effect on blood sugar balance.
Omega-3 fats are nutritive to the brain and related nervous system structures including the retina. Macular degeneration is twice as likely to develop for people with a diet low in omega-3 fats, and a higher consumption of fish oil is linked with ongoing lower risk over twelve years or more. Omega-3 fats protect the retina and help prevent loss of visual acuity. For mental acuity, an inflammatory reaction to amyloid proteins in the brain occurs with Alzheimer's disease, and inflammation increases the risk of damage from strokes and impaired blood flow to the brain. Extensive data suggests that the anti-inflammatory actions of omega-3 fats and especially DHA can help: omega-3 supplementation improves moderate dementia from mini- strokes; for early mild Alzheimer's DHA and EPA can slow the rate of decline on the mini-mental status exam, and improve appetite and body weight; and patients with mild age-related cognitive decline show significantly improved memory, learning, verbal fluency and attention with omega-3 oils.
Mood conditions can benefit from omega-3 fats: the brain is the richest repository of fats in the body. In depression, brain cell fluidity, neurotransmitter synthesis and binding, cell signaling, uptake of serotonin, and the enzyme monoamine oxidase that breaks down dopamine and norepinephrine may all be impeded if omega-3 fatty acid levels are insufficient. Evidence shows that patients with depression have lower omega-3 fat levels in plasma and red blood cells; several studies have found that taking fish oil improved measures of depression, with or without antidepressant drugs; children aged 6 to 12 with major depression improved after four months on daily fish oil. For anxiety, flax seed oil or fish oil reduce levels of cytokines which provoke both inflammation and anxiety symptoms: studies show that omega-3 fats can ease generalized anxiety, anger in substance abusers, and agoraphobia even if patients had it for years. Children with ADHD now routinely receive omega-3 fatty acids: these essential fats are critical for the structure and function of brain cells, and for maintaining the blood-brain barrier to keep neurotoxins like pesticides and mercury out. Human breast milk is naturally rich in DHA. Omega-3 supplementation can improve many ADHD symptoms in children including poor cognition, hyperactivity, and impulsive-oppositional behavior which is not amenable to drug therapy.
For men, sperm health is dependent on omega-3 fats. Each sperm has a natural shield of essential fats that protects it, facilitates its movement, and encourages fertilization. Ample omega-3 levels in seminal fluid enhance sperm motility. By contrast, excessive saturated fat levels in the blood or omega-6 fats reduce the number of sperm and the proportion of them that are viable. Oils such as corn, safflower and especially cottonseed which may contain pesticide residues should be avoided. For erectile dysfunction, half of men over fifty have atherosclerosis of the penile artery. Omega-3 fats support good blood flow to the pelvis, may reduce inflammation, and cut the risk of tiny blood clots. Fish oil may boost testosterone production by releasing luteinizing hormone which triggers testicular cells to make testosterone, and reducing sex hormone binding globulin which can bind up free testosterone.
Women's health is also benefited by essential fatty acids: Clinical research shows that for menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea, omega-3 fats alone or in combination with vitamin B12, can decrease pain, reduce nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) consumption, and help adolescent girls and women with dysmenorrhea resume normal levels of daily activity. Blood flow to the uterus is improved with omega-3 fats, which help to relax tiny muscles in the walls of blood vessels and discourage platelet stickiness. PMS may benefit from the mood-elevating effect of omega-3 oils, and their anti-inflammatory action to ease breast tenderness.
3 soft gels provide: Calories 36, Total Fat3 g, Cholesterol15 mg, Protein 0.6 g. Eskimo® brand Fish Oil 3,000mg, providing omega-3 fatty acids 1,020mg: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) 480 mg, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) 300 mg.
Other Ingredients: gelatin, vegetable glycerin, soy lecithin (antioxidant), vitamin E tocopherol complex (antioxidant), extract of rosemary (antioxidant), ascorbyl palmitate (antioxidant), lime flavor.
Free of: - This product does Not contain: artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, preservatives, parabens, dairy/milk/casein products, gluten, corn, egg, salt, sugar, wheat, yeast.
Always take natural remedies under the supervision of your health care provider. Do not use 'PurEFA' without the advice of your healthcare professional if you take anti-platelet drugs or blood thinners such as warfarin, Plavix or aspirin, or if you take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs regularly, as fish oil can increase clotting times. Stop 'PurEFA' at least seven days before and seven days after surgery. Do not use if you have a bleeding disorder or history of brain hemorrhage. Fish oil may reduce blood pressure, so consult with your health care provider if you take blood pressure medications including lisinopril, losartan, diltiazem, amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide (Lasix), and others. Monitor your blood pressure carefully if you take other natural remedies that may lower blood pressure including ginkgo, hawthorn, magnesium, coenzyme Q10, or Carditone. If you are pregnant or nursing only use fish oil under the guidance of your physician. Avoid any oils that are not certified free of mercury, dioxin, PCBs and other environmental contaminants.
Benefits of Consistency
“With the right vitamins, herbs and foods, your health can continue to improve over time, as vibrant new tissues replace old cells. Our patients often feel increasing vitality as medical tests get better and better, year after year.”
- Dr. Rachelle Herdman