Friday, October 8, 2010

Quaility of fish oil supplements

The quality of fish oil supplements is very important. It is well established that fish oils are beneficial to your health. Every brand and every shop seems to have some fish oil on special, shouting out to the world to purchase. However the quality of supplements have received scant attention.

Firstly I understand that fish obtain their fish oils from their food. In the wild this is other fish, insects or plankton. Therefore farmed fish which are feed fish meal products may, or may not, have a high level of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Therefore the first question to ask is - have the fatty acid levels actually been measured in this product.

Secondly fish oils are typically made from salmon or other fish that are at the top of the food chain. Being at the top end of the food chain means that pollutants can also be concentrated up. The latest study looking at fish oil contamination in Canadian fish oils found that PCB and dioxin levels in salmon, tuna, herring and seal (?!) oils exceed daily tolerable limits. They conclude with "The results of this study suggest that it is prudent to consume supplements derived from small, cold-water fatty fish."

So either make sure your supplements are from small fatty fish or that you supplement company tests the supplements to make sure contaminates (including heavy metals as well). I am also aware of a supplement company which distills the oil under vacuum (so boils a low temperature) to eliminate the contaminants. So make sure you ask some hard questions next time you purchase your fish oil supplements to make sure the quality exceptional.     

Reference: J.A. Bourdona, T.M. Bazinetb, T.T. Arnasonb, L.E. Kimpeb, J.M. Blaisb and P.A. Whitea, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contamination and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist activity of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements: Implications for daily intake of dioxins and PCBs. Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 48, Issue 11, November 2010 doi:10.1016/j.fct.2010.07.051

No comments:

Post a Comment