Because of concerns over contaminants, many of us wonder where to purchase pharmaceutical grade fish oil. There are hundreds of different brands, grades and types of fish oil on the market.
Most people are aware of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and know that fish oil is the best source. Recent surveys have shown that fish oil is one of the most popular health supplements on the market, but if you choose the wrong product, you may actually be putting your health at risk.
Reports from Environmental Defense in the United States, Greenpeace International, the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland indicate that some fish oil supplements contain unsafe levels of banned pesticides and heavy metals like mercury. Of great concern is also the presence of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).
PCB production was banned in the 1970s, but they breakdown so slowly that they may be present in the environment for hundreds of years or more. PCBs are highly toxic to birds and other animals. In humans, research has shown that they cause damage to the liver, the immune system, the reproductive system and the endocrine system. They are now classified as cancer causing agents by the National Toxicology program.
Famous health experts have advised that pharmaceutical grade fish oil is the safest choice. But, finding where to purchase pharmaceutical grade fish oil can be difficult. If you do an internet search, you will get results from lots of different companies, some of which do not even sell fish oil. What you are really looking for is molecularly distilled fish oils. Health food grade fish oils are sometimes distilled, but the process used does not remove PCBs.
Only the best manufacturers use molecular distillation and can guarantee that their supplements are free from all contaminants.
What Not To Buy
OmegaPure produced by the Houston-based company Omega Protein, Inc contains PCBs and the pesticides DDT and Dieldrin, according to an independent laboratory analysis published by Greenpeace. Environmentalists are also concerned that the fishing practices of this company will cause the disappearance of the tiny Menhaden fish, a filter-feeder that removes pollutants from the oceans and bays and is a food source for bass, seabirds and whales.
What follows is a list of the "worst choices" according to Environmental Defense, because the companies do not follow the strictest standards for safe levels of contaminants or because the companies did not respond to repeated inquires.
From the manufacturer Twinlab: Emulsified Cod Liver Oil, MEGA Twin EPA, Omega-3 Fish oil and Plain Cod Liver Oil Liquid.
From the manufacturer Solaray: Salmon Oil and Super purEPA.
You might think that where to purchase pharmaceutical grade fish oil would be a pharmacy or drugstore, but Rite Aid fish oils and those sold at K-mart pharmacies also make the "worst choices" list.
In order to compile their list of best and worst choices, Environmental Defense requested that the manufacturers submit to them complete data concerning their fish oil products. A number of companies submitted only partially complete data, so the safety of their products cannot be confirmed.
The following companies submitted incomplete data: Vitamin World, V.E. Irons, Vitamin Shoppe, Target, Springreen, Sonne's Organic Foods, Rexall, Radiance, Puritan's Pride, Physiologics, Nutrition Warehouse, NOW foods, Nature's Bounty, Major Pharmaceuticals, Holland & Barrett, Health from the Sea, Good 'N Natural, GNC, Country Life and American Health.
In the UK, Seven Seas Fish Oil and two batches of Boots Super Strength Fish Oil Capsules were removed from the market due to excessive dioxin levels, another contaminant. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland found that 10 brands of fish oil contained levels of dioxins exceeding the newest European guidelines. The highest levels were found in fish liver oils, such as the common cod liver oil. All of the brands examined contained some level of contaminants.
Where to Purchase Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil
Buy from a manufacturer who guarantees that their product is free of ANY contaminants. If the label or the website does not guarantee the safety of the product in writing, don't buy it. Although organizations like Environmental Defense try to help us, it is ultimately the responsibility of the manufacturer to guarantee that the fish oil they sell is safe.Where to Purchase Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil
Dan Ho is editor of http://www.omega-3-fish-oil-guide.com/Fish_Oil_Products.html Visit us now to find out the pharmaceutical fish oil supplements we personally use and why.