How to choose an omega-3 supplement?

Updated on: Apr 19, 2016

Before choosing an omega-3 supplement, it is advisable to read the points below. In case of doubt or to verify whether an omega-3 supplement is indicated, consult a healthcare professional. 

  1. Health Canada recommends making sure that a valid natural product number (NPN) appears on the product label. The NPN confirms that the product manufacturing method has been approved and that its use is safe. 
  2. Do not exceed the dosage (amount of drug prescribed) recommended by the manufacturer, in order to minimize the intake of potential contaminants. The International Fish Oil Standard provides a list of products that meet certain criteria of purity. 
  3. Because in Canada omega-6 is abundant in the diet, a supplement containing primarily omega-3 is recommended. The combination of Omega 3-6-9 does not provide the desired benefits. 
  4. Avoid taking cod liver oil or other omega-3 supplements containing vitamin A, especially if the pregnant woman is already taking a multivitamin that contains vitamin A. Too high a dose of this vitamin can affect fetal development. 
  5. Favor a supplement with omega-3 in the form of EPA and DHA rather than in the form of ALA. It is the total of EPA and DHA that is important. 

To learn whether an omega-3 supplement during pregnancy is necessary, see the following article.


Martin, B., Perreault, M., Thériault-Dubé, I. (2007). Les oméga-3 en périnatologie. Québec Pharmacie, 54(7), 6-9.

Santé Canada. (2009). Le poisson et les acides gras oméga-3, Lignes directrices sur la nutrition pendant la grossesse à l'intention des professionnels de la santé.


Dionne, J. Y. (2009). Suppléments alimentaires pour la femme enceinte, 2e partie.

Gouvernement du Canada. (2014). Consommation d’acides gras oméga-3 et de poisson pendant la grossesse : utiliser les suppléments d’huile de poisson.


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