Millions of people consume mega-doses of fish oil everyday. There is a very strong belief among the public that this food supplement is the “Holy Grail.” The exact number of people who buy fish oil supplements is not known but it is a billion dollar industry.
Fish oil supplements are available almost everywhere. While most supplements are available in health food stores, today one can buy these supplements from retail grocery stores, pharmacies, online and in almost any alternative health care store. There are even some doctors who market their own formulas of fish oil supplements.
Now there is Consumers Report, which claims that not all fish oil supplements are equal. The agency analyzed 15 major brands of fish oil supplements and six fell significantly short on quality. The six supplements, which did not meet the standards, were found to be impure.
This type of impurity has been suspected for some time and is not only limited to fish oil supplements. Experts indicate that the problem is more wide spread because much of the health food supplement industry remains unregulated.
There is no doubt that when the right fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids are consumed on a regular basis, they may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The Consumer Reports evaluated three lots of 15 brands to determine if they contained the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, they also checked for impurities like levels of PCB, dioxins, lead and mercury.
While the products did meet the labeled amount of omega-3 fatty acids, some products did contain traces of contaminant, which did not exceed standard sets by the US pharmacopeia. In simple words, the supplements did meet all the applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
However, when one looks in depth at each of the supplements in question, four of the products contained PCB, with levels that could immediately require a warning label under California’s tough consumer laws. Another product contained "high levels of compounds” that indicated spoilage of the supplement.