Are Norwegian fish oil capsules the cleanest fish oil supplements or are there better alternatives?

For some time there has been some focus on Norwegian fish oil capsules as many people have sought to find fish oil supplements from Norway. Lets examine why and consider whether Norwegian fish oil capsules are any better than any other fish oil capsules, or are even as good as some alternatives.

One of the reasons Norwegian fish oil supplements were so popular in the past was that became increasingly obvious that there were fish oil capsules on the market containing contaminants such as Mercury, PCBs, pesticides and heavy metals and more. It was considered that fish oil from Norway would be cleaner than fish oil sourced from other locations because the waters off Norway should be cleaner than some other waters where fish were sourced.

This for the obvious reason that Norway is a long way north and hopefully the waters off Norway should be relatively free of contamination.

Cleanliness of your fish oil is paramount. The FDA recommends that we do not eat too much fish purely because fish, in almost all cases, are contaminated and we ought not eat too much because many of these contaminants build up in our system. This is particularly true for pregnant women.

There are very many fish oil supplements available on the market. Many, including the major brand of  fish oil capsules from Norway, claim to be free of contaminants as a result of a decontamination process that their fish oils undergo and the fact that their fish are sourced from the clean pristine waters of Norway.

It is very difficult to establish to your own satisfaction exactly how true these claims are. We are certainly not saying that any brand of fish oil supplements including any from Norway are contaminated, we are merely saying that in many cases it’s very hard to know how true the claims are that the oils used in the manufacture of the capsules are contamination free other than the claims made that this is the case.

We always like to see some independent evidence of any of the claims made about cleanliness. It may be entirely true that Norwegian fishoils are cleaner than others however we would like to see, on the website of any fish oil supplement manufacturer, some evidence of this.
Fish oil capsules

For example where the fish oils used in the manufacture of supplements are independently tested by recognized laboratories we would like to see the Certificate of Analysis that is produced by that laboratory. If the Certificate of Analysis of the oils used is published then you can see for yourself what the results of the testing are.

We have spent some time looking around the website of the manufacturer of the major branded Norwegian fish oil, Carlson’s. Whilst probably excellent Omega 3 supplements the website for Carlson’s Norwegian fish oil supplements does not seem to have any Certificate of Analysis published for the benefit of users despite claims that these tests have been done.

Of course this may be there and hard to find, we have not been able to find one and so if we cannot other visitors probably cannot as well, if it exists. And this certainly doesn’t prove that their supplements are contaminated, just that we like to see evidence.

Our preferred brand of fish oil is that produced by Xtend Life. We have written here before why we prefer Xtend Life Omega 3 supplements, including that they specify quite clearly on their website where the fish comes from that is used to produce the fish oil, how it is processed, what process is used to decontaminate the fish oil and also because they publish each Certificate of Analysis produced by two independent laboratories as evidence of the fact that their fish oils are entirely clean.

The reason why so many people in the past preferred Norwegian fish oil supplements is because Norwegian waters are considered to be cleaner than those where fish are regularly caught for fish oil supplements, including the north Atlantic which is particularly contaminated.

The fish used by Xtend Life for their Omega3 capsules are not from Norway, rather they are from the waters in the Southern Ocean south of New Zealand. Considering the world map we consider it far more likely that fish from the Southern Ocean between New Zealand and Antarctica are sourced from waters that are far more likely to be pristine and clean than the waters off Norway.

There is no doubt that contamination of fish oils used in fish oil supplements is a concern. There are good reasons for people to be worried about the cleanliness of their fish oil supplements and for this reason so many people have sought to buy fish oil supplements using fish sourced from clean water.

However the best Omega 3 supplements and the cleanest Omega 3 supplements are now manufactured from fish oil from fish caught near Antarctica. This must be as clean and most probably cleaner than fish caught in the waters of Norway. Norwegian fish oil capsules were probably the cleanest Omega 3 supplements in the past, but this may no longer be the case.

Norwegian fish oil supplements are probably excellent supplements, however if you are concerned more about the cleanliness of your supplements then supplements made from fish from the southern ocean should be considered.

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