Fish oil supplements are not made equal, according to a lawsuit filed March 2, 2010 by the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation under California’s Proposition 65 that alleges many brands are being sold containing PCBs. Manufacturers not involved in the suit are quick to point out
the purity and safety of their products. And one fish oil brand guarantees its patented triple-molecular distillation process produces the world’s finest supplement.
Consumer Reports conducted its own study of a few fish oil brands (15) commonly found on the shelves of retail outlets in America, published in its January 2012 issue.
Entitled, Fish Oil Pills versus Claims, their testing revealed discrepancies in quality of 33% of those tested.
According to the article, "Americans are buying more fish-oil supplements than ever, but in industry-standard tests of 15 top-selling brands conducted by an outside lab for Consumer Reports, five fell a bit short."
Fish oil is a leading source of Omega 3 fatty acids found useful in relieving joint inflammation, especially for rheumatoid arthritis, and helping to prevent heart disease.
The safety of fish oil supplements should be of concern when considering a fish oil supplement, or even when just eating fish, according to the American Heart Association. Some types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, pesticide residues and other environmental contaminants. Levels of these substances are generally highest in older, larger, predatory fish and marine mammals. Five of the most commonly eaten fish or shellfish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Avoid eating shark, swordfish, king Mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
Numerous pollutants make their way into the foods we eat, from fruits and vegetables to eggs and meat. Fish are no exception. Very high levels of mercury can damage nerves in adults and disrupt development of the brain and nervous system in a fetus or young child, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
PCBs are colorless and odorless chemicals that were widely used in electrical transformers and other industrial applications before they were banned by Congress in 1979. Most PCBs in the environment end up in rivers, streams, lakes and, ultimately, the oceans. Once there, PCBs enter the food chain. To avoid PCBs, small, cold-water fish are recommended as the best fish oil source.
California is the only state that requires labeling to warn consumers a product may contain trace amounts of PCBs, a toxic, man-made chemical tied to cancer and birth defects.
The defendants in the above lawsuit were the world-leading Omega Protein, a Houston-based company, and the many companies that they produced fish oil for – companies like Rite Aid, CVS, GNC, Now Health Group, Pharmavite, Solgar and Twinlab.
The Mateel group only tested 10 omega-3 supplements manufactured by Omega Protein to date and found PCBs in all of them, ranging from 12 nanograms a day to more than 852 nanograms a day, based on the daily recommended dose written on the labels. Mateel plans to continue testing and to add other companies to the lawsuit if their products are also contaminated. The allegations in the lawsuit have not yet been proven in court.
(We have stressed on this website that not all supplements are equal in quality. Not all have been equally tested for purity and potency. That’s why my husband and I put our trust in the best fish oil supplement we’ve found for our heart and arthritis joints from the #1 natural nutrition company in America.)
Testing methods are of utmost importance if a manufacturer is trying to produce the best fish oil supplement. For example, the company referenced above features a pharmaceutical grade state-of-the-art, proprietary, triple molecular distillation process that concentrates natural beneficial omega-3 fatty acids:
The process produces a healthier fish oil by suppressing formation of dangerous trans fats. It’s free of saturated fat and cholesterol.
The product provides a full spectrum of seven ulta-pure omega-3 fatty acids, naturally found in fish, to help maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.*
One daily serving size of just 2 softgels provides over 1,200 mg of natural fish oil, including 363 mg of EPA, 240 mg DHA and 65 mg of five other naturally found fatty acids (docosapentaenoic, stearidonic, eicosatetraenoic, heneicosapentaenoic, and alpha-linolenic acids). It is bioavailable, low odor, no aftertaste, easy to digest and gluten free.
The label says "Take two softgels one or two times daily with meals". Double the above mg's if taking 4 softgels daily.
By the way, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that up to 3000 mgs (3 grams) is Generally Regarded as Safe (GRS).
The manufacturer’s guarantee is very important. Be sure to look for one, especially with omega 3 supplements made with fish oil.
For example, if you think you’ve found a superior fish oil supplement, what are the details of any guarantee? Is it in writing? Does it guarantee a 100% refund if you’re not satisfied? Does it also guarantee:
That’s exactly what the featured company guarantees and they are proud of their 'beyond organic' philosophy for purity..
My experience with typical dietary supplement manufacturers is that most hide behind others scientific studies or clinical trials related to their products because they have very few (or don’t have any!). If you’re considering fish oil supplements, my recommendation is to find a company that’s proud of the research, development, science and clinical studies on their products.
Try to find out if they have published clinical studies on their supplements that prove both safety and effectiveness. Again, I would recommend choosing a company such as the one referenced, which has 135 studies (100 published in peer-reviewed medical journals) on their products, rather than a company with just one or two.
This Health Resource link takes you to their science pages made available to the public, including their Complete Research Archive.
My husband and I have personal testimonies (scroll the linked About Me page) on the use of fish oil supplements and other natural products for the control of pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness from our arthritis.
The fish oil supplement we use is is made by the recognized supplement industry leader, founded in 1956. Based on personal knowledge, the science behind each of their products is second to none. As a company, they’ve invested more than $250 million in clinical testing, research and development and their 100 published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals is considerably more than any other nutritional company!
Based on the evidence presented on this page, we sincerely believe their fish oil supplement is the very best money can buy. I highly recommend what my husband and I consider the safest and finest fish oil supplement available in the world.
*Fish Oil Supplements Disclaimer: Health statements on this fish oil supplements page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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