Fish Oil

ConsumerLab tests show omega-3 contamination

How To Pick a Good Omega-3 Supplement

Omega-3s are extremely important for health: they are necessary for functions from muscle activity to cell growth. They also happen to be one of the two essential fatty acids that aren’t made by the body, and so must be derived from diet.

In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend regularly eating 2 servings of fish each week in order to meet the 250mg/day recommendation for these fatty acids. But what are your options if you just don’t get around to doing that?

US News and World Report says that “fish oil supplements may be an option worth considering.” That leaves us with the task of how to choose which supplement is best.

Here’s how to go about choosing a quality omega-3:

Ingredients: Not all omega-3s contain the same type of fatty acid. While alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is more prevalent in nature, it acts as a precursor to eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids, and the conversion process is not especially efficient. Look for supplements that contain the biologically active EPA-DHA omega-3 free fatty acids, which are more easily absorbed by the body. Clinical trials: A verifiable human clinical trial, ideally performed at a reputable or recognized institution, will demonstrate that the supplement does what it’s supposed to do and has sufficient efficacy or bioavailability. Third-party testing: Any supplement worth its salt will be third-party tested.

How does Matter check off the boxes of a superior omega-3?

Matter contains the highest-load omega-3 powder in its class with 50% eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as a free fatty acid by weight, and is 4x more easily absorbed than standard fish oils. Matter is also rigorously third-party tested by independent labs during and after manufacturing; in fact, you can verify the results of your batch of Matter on our website. Matter was developed in partnership with the University of Oxford.


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Ripple Health & Wellness

High-Quality Fish Oil – How to pick one

Fish oil has become a favorite supplement for many people. These days it seems almost everyone is taking it! Fish oil and other omega-3 fatty acids are most popular for their beneficial effects on heart health. <3 However, the heart is just one of the body systems fish oil can help with! High-Quality fish oil can improve skin, eye, lung, nerve, gut health and so much more. See below for a brief list of conditions fish oil is used in.

Why Do I Need “High-Quality” Fish Oil?

Naturopathic doctors have been recommending diets high in omega-3 fatty acids to improve general health for ages. Unfortunately, it can be hard to obtain adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from diet alone. When diet isn’t cutting it, “high-quality” fish oil is suggested. Fish oil is jam-packed with omega-3s! Per cost and quantity, fish oil is the most efficient way to get these healthy fats into our much deserving bodies.

People always ask me: “but do you really need a ‘high-quality’ fish oil?” What they usually mean is: “Do I have to buy expensive fish oil that is only sold by a doctor?” I understand the speculation. Supplements and eating healthy is very costly these days. And, although you don’t “have to” buy high-quality fish oils from a health professional, I highly recommend asking them for advice on where to get a good fish oil product. Your doctor or other health professional is suggesting a high-quality product because poorly handled or sourced fish oil is actually harmful to your health.

So, yes, you most certainly need high-quality fish oil. BUT, there are some trustworthy options sold at most grocery stores!

What is a High-Quality Fish Oil?

Let’s take a step back. First, we need to understand why fish oil was recommended in the first place. Usually, fish oil is recommended because of it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are helpful in neutralizing damaging chemicals that naturally occur within our body. Anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation. Inflammation is actually a good thing when it occurs briefly, but cause many other health conditions when it persists for a long time, called chronic inflammation. We’ll get into this another day. In short, as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, fish oil helps the body to maintain an optimal environment for a healthy life!

During production, fish oil supplements need to be handled carefully and reliably tested for consumer safety (that’s you!). When fish oil is extracted with poor practices, it can actually become more harmful than helpful to our health. YIKES! It becomes oxidized and encourages inflammation. It can also carry heavy metals which can lead to many nervous system complications. Plus, the additives or method of extraction can make it harder to absorb and be used by the body at which point you’re spending money and unable to receive the benefits. (Not to mention how sustainably the fish is harvested)

Brands I trust

They make sure to sustainably harvest the product and process the fish oil in ways that prevent oxidation .

. They test for heavy metals , potency and provide quality and quantity assurance (so you know you get what you paid for).

, potency and provide (so you know you get what you paid for). Their products are highly absorbable

Each of these brands can be sold by health professionals. I have indicated the 2 found in grocery stores.


Integrative Therapeutics

Nordic Naturals (also sold in Natural Food aisles at grocery stores)

Carlson’s Laboratory (also sold in Natural Food aisles at grocery stores)

What type of conditions can fish oil help with?

Heart health – High blood pressure, high or imbalanced cholesterol levels, improve blood vessel health to prevent heart attacks or stroke

Joint health – Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Skin Health – Psoriasis, eczema

Gut Health – Leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, pancreatitis

Diabetes – vision decline, reduced sensation in hands and feet

Lung Health – Asthma, allergies, cystic fibrosis

Eye Health – Cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration

Autoimmune conditions – Lupus, RA,

Mental and Emotional Health – Depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD

Behavioral Health – ADHD, autism spectrum disorders

Nerve Health – coordination, multiple sclerosis

Dr. Lexie Ching

Naturopathic Doctor Bend

(541) 797-0167

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Fish Oil – Professional Monograph. Natural Medicines website. Updated 8 July 2019. Accessed 18 July 2019.

ConsumerLab tests show omega-3 contamination

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.While quality and labeling tests showed most fish oil and omega-3 supplements passed, 11 of the 68 products they reviewed had contamination, label or other issues that caused them to fail.

"Every reputable company should be testing each batch of product to make sure it meets the spec, which is a requirement under GMPs, and they should use labs that participate in lab proficiency programs to make sure they measure EPAs and DHAs efficiently," recommended Adam Ismail, executive director, GOED (Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s). An example of such a program would be the AOCS/GOED Lab Proficiency Program, Ismail said.

said it uncovered the following problems:

Two supplements exceeded contaminations limits for PCBs. While it is best to avoid supplements with excess contaminants, noted raw or cooked fish may contain far more PCBs, as well as mercury, than fish oil supplements. Mercury was not detected in any of the products tested.

Four supplements (including one of the contaminated products) contained 20- to 30% less than the claimed amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or other omega-3 fatty acids. Products that don't meet label claims are considered mislabeled under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), and having such products on the market weakens the credibility of the industry, Ismail said.

Three products contained two to three times the claimed amounts of EPA or other fatty acids, and one supplement incorrectly claimed to contain 1 mg of fat but contained 1,000 mg (1 gram) of fat. "From a safety perspective, at the levels of omega-3s that companies are 'over-including,' there are no safety concerns. In fact, GOED recently commissioned a safety study that found no upper limit for EPA and DHA could be set; EFSA also last month agreed that they could not determine a tolerable upper limit."

An enteric-coated softgel (intended to reduce fish burp") released its fish oil too early. While releasing the fish oil may bring unpleasant organoleptic properties, Ismail said there are no health implications to having the fish oil release early.

One softgel product contained spoiled fish oil. Again, Ismail said rancid fish oil would taste bad and could hinder consumer compliance, but "The Norwegian government did a whole safety report on the risk of consuming oxidized fish oils and could determine no safety issues."

also cautioned buyers that some krill oil" supplements are actually blends of fish and krill oils making their labeling misleading, and some products also claim to provide a certain percentage of the Daily Value (DV) for EPA and DHA, but no DV has actually been established for omega-3 fatty acids. However, these issues did not cause products to fail testing.

In past tests, most of the omega-3 products that failed did so because of contaminant or spoilage issues."It's a positive sign that such a small number failed for these reasons this time, although, of course we need to continue to be vigilant about labeling and GMP issues," Ismail said.

In the current review, found good quality fish oil could be purchased for as little as 1 cent per 100 mg of EPA and DHA (a typical daily dose is 300 mg to 500 mg). Krill oil was much more expensive the lowest cost being 19 cents per 100 mg of EPA and DHA. Calamari oil and algal oil tended to be priced between the two other oils.

The tested supplements include those with fish oil, krill oil, algal oil (from algae) and/or calamari (squid) oil. Results are published in a new report on which provides results for the 35 selected products as well as 28 products which passed the same testing through voluntary certification program. The review covers products for general use and those marketed specifically for pregnant women and children. It also includes pet supplements for use by dogs and cats.

The following is a list of products covered in the report:

Eric Carter