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Rhonda Patrick Fish Oil Brand Choice & Protocol – 2023 Update

Rhonda currently takes an omega-3 supplement called Norwegian PURE-3, which is touted as a high quality fish oil with low levels of oxidation.

It comes in 2 versions; high DHA and high EPA.

Rhonda currently takes 2g of the high EPA in the morning and 2g of the high DHA in the evening*.

*She has mentioned this dose at least twice recently that I’m aware, once in her August 2021 Crowd Sponsors Q&A (@20m 30s), and the other in her December 2021 Q&A (@ 1hr 07m 38s).

You can sign up for access to her monthly crowd sponsor Q&As here.

Unfortunately this particular product she uses, Norwegian PURE-3, has had inventory issues for some time and is unavailable for order.

Rhonda was asked in her June 2021 Q&A what alternatives she would suggest…

Norwegian Pure-3 Alternative?

Rhonda’s alternative suggestion is to check the IFOS site (International Fish Oil Standards), and use their batch testing of oxidation and heavy metal levels to guide your product choice.

Below is a list of fish oils that have both low oxidation and heavy metal levels, as measured by the IFOS testing.

For a bigger version of this table with more products and details, see this spreadsheet. It also includes a section for brands specific to UK & Canada.

Name Price Flavored?
Quantity EPA/DHA
Total Oxidation* Heavy Metals*
Viva Naturals Triple Strength $22 with coupon Unflavored 90 soft gels 773 / 269 mg 7.39 Passed
Carlson Maximum Omega 2000 $29 Lemon Flavor 60 soft gels 668 / 284 mg 5.04 Passed Link
Barlean's Ideal Omega-3 $48 Orange 60 soft gels 762 / 259 mg 3.12
Passed Link

After trying a number of fish oil supplements, and noticing I prefer them without added flavoring, I’m personally using Viva Naturals Triple Strength. This coupon code gives 10% off orders, in case that’s of use.

Vegetarian / Vegan Fish Oil Alternatives?

Rhonda personally opts to get her omega-3s from fish oil, due to its high levels of EPA & DHA per gram.

However, when asked on Joe Rogan’s podcast how vegetarians can supplement EPA & DHA, she believed algae oil is the optimal source.

In part, this is because fish don’t actually produce omega-3s, instead they get them from the plankton and algae in their diet – so by consuming algae you’re going direct to the source1Omega-3: A Link between Global Climate Change and Human Health – Jing X. Kang | 2011 | Biotechnology Advances.

In a non supplemented vegetarian/vegan diet, the primary source of omega-3 fatty acids comes from alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in various plants (particularly flaxseed).

However, the omega-3s EPA & DHA are also important to humans, so relying on ALA solely has a few issues:

  1. ALA is weakly converted to EPA – Research estimates between 0.2% to 6% of ALA is converted to EPA2Metabolism of α-linolenic acid in humans – G.C. Burdge | (see section 7.2 of paper) | 2006 | Journal: PLEFA. This aligns with a presentation by Dr Bill Harris, the omega-3 expert Rhonda interviewed, where he estimates less than 5% of ALA is converted to EPA (link).
  2. ALA barely converts to DHA – The same research paper above estimates 0.05% or less of ALA is converted to DHA3Metabolism of α-linolenic acid in humans – G.C. Burdge | (see section 7.2 of paper) | 2006 | Journal: PLEFA. In Dr Bill Harris’ presentation above, he similarly estimates less than 0.1% of ALA is converted to DHA.
  3. This aligns with research showing that vegetarians and vegans have lower levels of EPA & DHA compared to those who eat fish4Blood docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in vegans: Associations with age and gender and effects of an algal-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplement – Sarter et al. | 2014 | Clinical Nutrition.

The good news is that research shows algae based omega-3s will raise EPA & DHA levels in vegans, even at relatively low dose5Blood docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in vegans: Associations with age and gender and effects of an algal-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplement – Sarter et al. | 2014 | Clinical Nutrition. A study showed their omega-3 index score went from 3.1 to 4.8 after 4 months of taking 172mg DHA & 82mg of EPA per day.

Below are a couple of algae based omega-3s, so you can see their cost per gram of EPA & DHAs:

Name Price Quantity Flavored? EPA/DHA $/gram
Source Naturals - Non-Fish Omega-3s $15 30 soft gels Sorbitol sweetener $5.44 / $2.72
Sun Warrior - Algae-Based Omega-3 $20 60 soft gels Maltitol sweetener $5.89 / $1.33
Deva - Vegan Omega-3 $32 60 soft gels Vegetable glycerin $3.55 / $1.77

^ Rhonda recently interviewed Omega-3 expert Dr Bill Harris (link)

The Omega-3 Index Test

Rhonda notes in her recent Joe Rogan interview (#1701) she’s a proponent of what’s called the “omega-3 index test”. Mentioning that higher levels are associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality6Blood n-3 fatty acid levels and total and cause-specific mortality from 17 prospective studies – Harris et al. | 2021 | Nature Communications.

In essence, it measures the omega-3 fatty acids in your red blood cells, expressed as a percentage of the total fatty acids. With a score of 8% or greater being correlated with better health outcomes7The Omega-3 Index: Clinical Utility for Therapeutic Intervention | William Harris | 2010 | Current Cardiology Reports.

The company that make this test, OmegaQuant, offer it as an at home “dried blood spot” test. Fortunately it doesn’t require much blood, just single drop onto a piece of card, which you then post back. OmegaQuant was founded by Bill Harris who Rhonda interviewed (link). The test comes in 3 versions:

  • Omega-3 Index Basic Test ($49) – which provides the omega-3 index score only
  • Omega-3 Index Plus Test ($74) – which provides the index score + trans fat index, omega-6 to omega-3 ratio & AA:EPA ratio (inflammation marker)
  • Omega-3 Index Complete Test ($99) – which provides everything in the Plus test, and then in addition includes a trans fat index & individual fatty acid levels

For 10% off the tests, use this OmegaQuant coupon code.

^ Rhonda displaying her paper on mitigating APOE4 induced Alzheimer’s disease risk

Omega-3 Phospholipids, Alzheimer’s & APOE4

This next section is mainly relevant to those with the APOE4 gene. It’s estimated that around 25% of the population have it. You can check this by getting a 23andMe test (their cheaper ancestry test is sufficient) – and then exporting the raw data they provide into Rhonda’s genetic report or to Promethease. 23andMe’s more expensive health package should include APOE4 testing.

APOE4 increases Alzheimer’s risk between 2-3x if you’ve 1 allele and 15x if you’ve 2 allele’s.

One of the reasons for the increase in Alzheimer’s risk with APOE4 is that it impairs regular DHA transport.

In 2018 Rhonda published an open access paper on a possible mechanism for getting DHA into the brain, which bypasses the impaired route.

Rhonda’s paper proposes that consuming DHA in phospholipid form gets around impaired DHA transport. The reason for this is that phospholipid DHA gets converted to DHA-lysoPC, by a specialized transporter called MFSD2A. This transport system appears to continue to work even when regular DHA transport is impaired.

Providing DHA to the brain again, in the form of DHA-lysoPC, may reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk.

According to Rhonda, omega-3 phospholipids are found in fish, and in greatest concentration in fish roe (fish eggs).

Where Rhonda gets her Omega-3 Phospholipids from

Rhonda currently gets hers via wild salmon roe caviar, instead of using a supplement version. She bulk buys her caviar from Vital Choice, who offer it in 2.2lbs packages that can be frozen, and then defrosted one quarter at a time. Consuming this in addition to her regular omega-3 supplementation.

She opted for the salmon roe caviar instead of her previous omega-3 phospholipid supplements, after learning it’s superior.

Fish Oil Rhonda Doesn’t Use Anymore

It’s probably clarifying which fish oil supplements Rhonda isn’t taking anymore – for avoidance of confusion. She no longer takes:

  • Nordic Naturals – ProOmega 2000 – she took this up until around 2017 (see last tweet mentioning). Not to be confused with the supplement she recently mentioned – Carlson Maximum Omega 2000. Since she stopped with Nordic Naturals, she has been taking NPure-3.
  • Nordic Naturals – Omega-3 Phospholipids – she took this up until around 2016 (see last tweet mentioning). However, she has since moved to consuming the salmon roe caviar mentioned above.
  • Krill Oil – prior to taking the Omega-3 phospholipids supplement by Nordic Naturals, she was taking krill oil. However, she replaced both with salmon roe caviar – and no longer takes krill oil.

Closing Words

Above we’ve looked at the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and how Rhonda incorporates them into her diet. For more on the subject, see a video Rhonda created on omega-3s and their importance in reducing cardiovascular disease.

Hopefully the above was helpful, if you’ve any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

– – –

For more Rhonda Patrick related content, see below:

  • A relatively comprehensive list of supplements that Rhonda has discussed taking, some daily, some for specific use-cases (link)
  • A detailed post on Rhonda’s diet – including examples of her breakfast, lunch and dinner (link)
  • A post on Rhonda’s approach to exercise + examples of what she does (link)
  • Notes on many of the key things Rhonda has discussed about pregnancy, breastfeeding & baby health – based on her journey into motherhood (link)


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