Examining Fish Oil Purity Freshness – Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA have anti-inflammatory properties because they balance out the Omega 6 fatty acids that tend to lend themselves to the more pro-inflammatory pathways in your body. You can think of them as your first line defense against chronic and systemic Inflammation and the diseases that accompany it (Cancer, Obesity, Alzheimer’s Disease, etc.). Most of you know that fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids and have multiple health benefits. What many of you DON’T know is that not all Fish Oils are created equal!
The three most important criteria for determining which fish oil to buy are purity, freshness and concentration.
The highest quality fish oils today usually start from unrefined bulk oil obtained from the highest quality anchovy, sardines and mackerel caught in the pristine cold waters of Peru. These fast-growing species are preferred sources, as they are naturally low in toxins and high in omega 3 fats.
The bulk oil is then subjected to a cooling process, enabling the fractionation (separation) and physical removal of saturated fats, including cholesterol, and yielding a free-flowing long-chain, fatty acid-rich oil. Molecular Distillation, also known as “short path distillation”, is then used to separate the fatty acids according to their molecular weights and to remove impurities.
To achieve this without the use of damaging levels of heat, the oil is spun in a special vacuum chamber.
The resulting oils are then filtered through kaolin clay to obtain the highest purity. The combination of fish selection, molecular distillation and filtration removes undesirable toxins (heavy metals, PCB’s, dioxins etc.) and other undesirable organic compounds leaving only the high quality beneficial components of the fish oil. This process plus the addition of Vitamin E to the product helps maintain the freshness of fish oil. The peroxide, anisidine and TOTOX values (indicators of freshness) of high quality fish oil should be well below European Pharmacopoeia standard limits.
What Is Wrong with Most Omega 3 Supplements?
Rancidity – Many supplement companies save a lot of money by batching their manufacturing processes. The end result puts a lot of omega 3 pills on the warehouse shelves sitting there collecting dust. Months may go by and no one purchases those omega 3s. More often than not, it renders the supplement simply rancid and bad tasting. This can leave you with embarrassing fish burps. If you take omega 3 for the first time and they are rancid, chances are you are not going to continue taking them.
Questionable Water Sources – Sadly, many supplement providers do not invest in deep cold water fish sources where some of the best fish are found. Instead they go for cheaper, easier to catch fish that may be from contaminated water sources. Deep ocean water is lower risk. The FDA’s concern for contaminants primarily focuses on aquaculture ponds, freshwater bodies, estuaries, and near-shore coastal waters. So go for deep ocean fish.
You may be wondering about Mercury contamination. Sourcing fish from the ocean is best because they contain high levels of selenium, which has been known to protect against the toxic effects of mercury by reducing its ability to be absorbed.
Low EPA and DHA Potency – Many omega 3 manufacturers again like to save money. One popular method is only putting in the bare minimum amounts of EPA and DHA, filling the rest from “filler fish oil fats” that do not do your body any good. EPA and DHA are the two fatty acids in fish that your body needs, and which help fight inflammation and help control blood sugars. Why take an omega 3 fish oil supplement that barely contains the stuff your body needs to protect your brain, reduce inflammation, and increase your energy?
A lot of common manufacturing processes are done under high temperatures, which ruins the fish oil’s natural state making it virtually un-absorbable by your body.
How to make a wise decision in a quality omega 3 Supplement?
- Determine the fish source? First make sure that the fish is wild caught and hat it comes from deep, cold ocean waters. These deep, cold depths are where the better quality fish live. They are also less likely to contain contaminants so prevalent in other cheaper (and easier to get to) water sources.
- Look at the EPA and DHA content. Make sure you are getting your money’s worth by getting something with high EPA and DHA potency.
- Make sure the fish oil is in its natural state for best absorption. Natural state (or also known as natural triglyceride form) fish oil is free of any sort of processes that render so many other fish oils useless to your body. The natural triglyceride form is better absorbed because EPA and DHA is naturally bound to those triglycerides. What is the point in taking an omega 3 if it isn’t absorbed by your body?
Use the above as a compass to guide you in choosing what type of Omega 3 rich Fish you choose to eat.
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