Fish Oil And Contamination. Or Are You Getting Some PCBs With Your Omega 3 Supplements?
Fish Oil And Contamination With PCBs Is Now The Subject Of A Lawsuit.
Chemical contamination is everywhere. Even in our oceans, and the results are that those of us who recognize the health benefits of taking the essential fatty acids found in oil from fish known as DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) may be getting an unexpected dose of PCBs with our morning Omega3 supplements. There is now an established link between taking capsules of fish oil and contamination with chemicals like PCBs, and more.
A Californian laboratory tested 10 well known brands of what are generally known as quality fish oil supplements, including some big names such as Nature Made odorless fish oil and Twinlab Norwegian cod liver oil, and found levels of PCB contamination at worrying levels.
PCBs are a particularly pernicious chemical banned in the US since 1979. There are hundreds of different variations, most of which are considered to cause cancer.
In California under proposition 65 it is a legal requirement that consumers be warned of any levels of chemical contamination in excess of certain levels. This is a health measure to warn the general community of worrying levels of contamination with various nasty chemicals, including PCBs.
Proposition 65 sets “safe harbor” limits for upper levels of contamination of PCBs, and the levels found in many of the supposedly high quality fish oil supplements exceeded these levels in some cases, and this was not disclosed to consumers of the products.
As a result a lawsuit has now been launched against various manufacturers of fish oil supplements alleging that their “highest quality fish oil” supplements don’t meet the standards required by Proposition 65, and that consumers are not warned of this.
Omega 3 supplements go by a range of descriptions, including “ultra-refined fish oil”, “pharmaceutical-grade fish oil” and more, but none of these is a guarantee of contamination free Omega 3 supplements. None have any legal definition. There is even a set of standards called the International Fish Oil Standards which set maximum levels of chemical contamination, but these are not binding and many people consider the levels for these toxins to be too lax.
Fish oil contamination with PCBs is a serious health concern. There is no doubt now that Omega 3 supplements offer a wide range of recognized health benefits such as a reduction in the risk of heart related health problems such as heart attack and stroke, a reduction in the risks of Alzheimers disease, and much more.
But you don’t want to be getting a dose of PCBs with your Omega 3 essential fatty acids, or you may be doing more harm than good.
Unfortunately this is an ongoing issue. The contamination of our oceans will only get worse, and many of the toxic contaminants dumped in our oceans last for many many years. It isn’t a problem that is going away.
Of course fish don’t know this, fish eat whatever fish eat, and if what they eat is contaminated then fish become contaminated as well. And if we eat that fish then the contaminants pass to us.
And of course it’s not just PCBs, there is a very wide range of industrial toxins which are accumulating in our oceans all the time. One of the more worrying ones is Corexit which was used to help clean up the Gulf oil spill, and which did so.
However although it may have helped clean up the Gulf oil spill there are now questions about how much Corexit is left in the ocean and for how long it will remain there. (And of course there is also the issue of contamination from the oil itself, and no one is 100 percent sure how long oil residue will last and how much of it will find its way into fish).
There’s some vexing issues here for humanity to address. Of course we don’t seek to try and address the issue of industrial contaminants in our waterways on this website, all we seek to do is to try to highlight the problem as it relates to fish oil supplements and give you some guidance.
It is quite possible to test for contaminants in fish oil, as you seen from what we’ve written above tests have shown some capsules to be contaminated.
In our view any consumer of Omega 3 capsules should make the cleanliness, or in other words the absence of toxins, their principal consideration. There is no point in taking supplements for your health if they contain ingredients which are bad for your health.
Part of the solution lies in where the fish are caught that supply the oil. Oceans around areas of heavy population are much more contaminated than oceans in much more remote parts of the globe. We would always prefer to use fish oil supplements that are manufactured from fish oil that comes from fish caught in the most remote location.
And in our view that’s still not sufficient. You should see on the website of the manufacturer a Certificate of Analysis which demonstrates that the capsules you’re considering buying have been independently tested and found to be completely clean.
Otherwise you may be getting a little dose of PCBs in your capsules.
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Filed under: Contamination Of Omega 3 Supplements