Don’t be taken in by claims that Omega 3 supplements contain “pharmaceutical grade fish oil”.

Often when you’re researching information about the benefits of Omega 3 fish oils you will see the term “pharmaceutical grade fish oil”. We would like spend some time discussing exactly what “pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements “are and are not.

The bottom line is that “pharmaceutical grade Omega 3” doesn’t actually exist. It is in fact a marketing term rather than a technical definition relating to the purity or quality of fish oil supplements.

There is no definition of “pharmaceutical grade” in the US Pharmacopeia. The term has come into more common use because companies that manufacture and market Omega 3 supplements use it in an attempt to prove that their products are clean or “pure”.

However there is no organization that determines what “pharmaceutical grade fish oils” are and there is no test to decide whether or not any particular fish oil is “pharmaceutical grade” or not.Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil

In fact it’s very difficult to find any formal standards to which any particular fish oil supplement must comply. There are no binding standards internationally for fish oil grades and every company that manufactures fish oil capsules is free to choose whether or not they comply with any voluntary standards.

There are voluntary standards and you can read more about these in our article about  fish oil purity however none of these are binding and any supplement manufacturer can choose to adhere to the standards or not, or to set its own standards.

There is a very official sounding organization. It is the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS). In fact this is a private organisation that charges a fee to test fish oil products.

Some companies that pass the IFOS test often claim that their products are “pharmaceutical grade fish oil”. As we previously said this is a meaningless term.

However whilst this is a meaningless term there is no doubt that fish oil purity is a serious issue. Fish generally are contaminated with toxins including Mercury, and the FDA warns us not to eat too much for this reason.

Whilst speaking of the FDA, we should add that although the FDA do have standards for fish oil purity they are very easy to meet and most fish oil capsules should have no trouble in meeting them.

So there is every reason for those taking fish oil capsules to be wary about the cleanliness and purity of the Omega 3 fish oils in their capsules.

As you can see from our article about fish oil purity there are in fact a range of standards from different organizations that any manufacturer may or might not choose to meet. The most important thing to consider when buying your fish oil capsules is to get independent evidence of the cleanliness and purity of the fish oil.

We consider the best Omega 3 supplements to be those from Xtend Life. They exceed all the recognized (voluntary) standards and in fact set their own standards for fish oil purity which are substantially below all the recognized standards.

In particular their standard for Mercury is 10 times lower than all 4 major fish oil standards including those of the IFOS.

You should be able to investigate the cleanliness and purity of any fish oil supplements. If you go to the website of any company selling Omega 3 supplements there should be evidence there on the website of independent laboratory testing in the form of an independent Certificate of Analysis.

If you can find a Certificate of Analysis of the fish oils you’re buying you can then see to yourself exactly how pure fish oil is.

Of course this doesn’t mean that you’re getting the best value for money, but it’s an indication of the purity of official you’re buying. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to compare fish oil capsules for value then read our article about how to compare fish oil capsules by price.

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