Awareness Wednesday: Fish Oil Supplements

Are you confused about fish oils?  Why they are good for you, what is in them, the quality concerns and brands available ?  We heard you loud and clear on our Facebook fan page and are here to help you dispel some of the confusion!

Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in oil from fish are recommended for their beneficial effects on heart health, brain health, nervous system health, eye health, fetal growth and development, gastrointestinal health, immune function and overall longevity, so it probably comes as no surprise that millions of Americans take daily fish oil supplements. But what exactly is in them? The wave of negative press about fish oil supplements reinforces last week’s Awareness Wednesday theme: the importance of paying attention to what goes into your body and consuming wisely.

Fish oil supplements are under fire because recent studies have indicated that some widely available fish, krill and algal oil supplements fail to meet quality standards for contamination, freshness and active ingredients. The most troubling finding has to do with the contamination levels of PCBs, chemical contaminants that are believed to cause cancer and have been banned in the US for 30 years. Before you ditch the supplements altogether, keep in mind that fresh fish is also susceptible to chemical contamination, may not be as readily available or convenient, and can be less cost-effective. So what are your options?

  1. Read supplement labels carefully, including side labels and claims regarding omega-3 purity. Are they based on quality control and purity testing or arbitrary standards?
  2. Do your own research if something sounds fishy… bad fishy, not good fishy. Not sure what “pharmaceutical grade” or “quality assured under GMPs” mean? Check it out online, preferably from a source independent of the supplement manufacturer.
  3. Get your supplements from a source you trust. At Solaris Whole Health we’ve done the legwork on the supplements that we provide so that you don’t have to. Specifically, our fish oil supplements meet or exceed stringent quality control standards and are tested by a top independent lab.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are known for their healthful effects on longevity and overall well-being, especially when taking into account the ratio of animal-based omega-3s to not-so-healthy omega-6 fats (think trans fats). If you’re getting your omega-3s from fish oil supplements, make sure to do your research on the supplements and their manufacturers.

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