Quality Fish Oil
Friday, March 13, 2009
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Over 1 billion people rely on fish as their primary source of protein. Additionally, certain types of fish are rich in the essential omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These essential fatty acids are woefully lacking in the American diet. Health authorities around the world are recommending higher intake of fish oil for the prevention of heart disease. The question arises – what is quality fish oil?
As a formulator of dietary supplements I have watched the fish oil dietary supplement market unfold over the past twenty years. It became obvious during this time that the DHA component of fish oil was by far the most important oil. If you would like to read an overview of the significant health benefits of DHA, click here.
The reliance of so many people on fish as a food source raises legitimate questions of sustainability. Indeed, there are various countries that seek to operate outside the boundaries of agreed upon sustainability fishing levels – and there are always profiteers doing the wrong thing for a buck. Fish farms raising salmon or tuna use significantly more smaller fish to produce the salmon or tuna, making such fish a poor choice for sustainability.
Thankfully, within the dietary supplement industry, there are a number of high quality producers of fish oil raw materials that not only follow the international fishing rules and standards, but also seek to set quality and sustainability standards for the industry. And among a number of fine quality companies Wellness Resources has selected what I feel is the best supplier.
As a clinician who counts on a dietary supplement product to actually do something beneficial, the first concern is simply getting enough DHA in the product. The DHA content of fish oil ranges from 10% - 20% of the oil, depending on the fish.
At Wellness Resources we go the extra mile and provide a fish oil product that contains 50% DHA. This means there is less of the blood thinning EPA and other unneeded oil components. The ability to concentrate DHA to this level is a major accomplishment. To do this, you must first start out with a fish that has a lot of DHA. All of the DHA in our products comes from sardines and anchovies.
These small fish are in abundance in the oceans. Our specific fish oil raw materials come from ocean waters around Norway and North America. Sardines and anchovies feed on phytoplankton. This means that they are low on the food chain and have far lower starting levels of mercury, lead, PCBs, and other toxins.
The company we use is a vertically integrated operation, meaning the fishing business is linked to the fish oil production business – which means quality control from beginning to end. Additionally, the fishing that is done follows strict European guidelines for allowable amounts fished, which helps to ensure that there are enough mature “reproductive” fish left in the ocean to sustain the numbers of new fish each year – thus preventing over-fishing. The company strictly complies to international sustainability standards.
It takes a very select starting fish oil raw material to end up with a product that is 50% DHA. You just can’t make this product out of any old DHA-containing fish oil. Only the best quality raw material will do.
Our fish oil is produced in a state-of-the-art Norwegian facility that is dedicated only to the production of fish oil products. The proprietary production process is based on many years of skilled experience. The factory complies to the very strict Norwegian Medicines Agency cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and uses production quality standards that exceed the European Pharmacopeia and the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) Voluntary Monograph. Production systems comply to the U.S. FDA’s seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points regulation 21 CFR 123.
The high tech production equipment and storage tanks form a closed, nitrogen-filled system, with no air (oxygen can cause oil to deteriorate and go rancid). The production process takes 6-8 weeks and is done under vacuum, never under high temperatures that could also damage the oil. During this process the undesirable oils are removed and the important DHA is concentrated to 50%. At the same time, a proprietary molecular distillation process is undertaken to ultra-purify the high quality starting raw material.
This special purification technology is able to reduce metals like mercury down to the limits of current scientific detection, meaning virtually none. For example, the Eurpean Pharmacopeia sets mercury levels in fish oil to be no higher than 0.5 mg/kg. The GOED voluntary monograph sets mercury at 0.1 mg/kg. The ultra-purification technology used in our fish oil product drops mercury levels to .005 mg/kg, which is the current detection limit of modern equipment. Likewise, levels of lead, PCBs, dioxins, furans, DDT and other pollutants are reduced to ultra-trace amounts – providing you the purest fish oil in the world.
The gentle and efficient production process resullts in negligible levels of oxidation, meaning that the oil is not processed in a way that damages it. The final product has very low peroxide and anisidine levels, ensuring that the fatty acids are in very good shape and have excellent shelf life.
One of the commitments of Wellness Resources is to the health of our customers. In this regard, we do everything we can to select the finest quality raw materials for your health. Every nutrient has a different story and can be purchased in varying levels of quality, including fish oil. As a family business, we are concerned about the health and well being of you and your family members. It is our top priority to deliver to you the best possible quality in the health products you count on. The quality of the DHA you take does make a difference.
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