Omgea-3 supplements. Where to begin? There are literally thousands of different brands to choose from. How do you know which ones are good, pure, and worth your money? Here are a few things to look at when finding a pure fish oil supplement.
The Two Types of Fish Oils.
Before we go through what to look for it’s important that you know that there are two types if “fish oil” products. There is cod liver oil and fish oil. While cod liver oil is made from cod liver, fish oil is made from the entire fish or the flesh. So what’s the difference?
The main difference lays in the nutrients. Cod liver oil has less omega-3 fatty acids and is rich in vitamin A and D. While, on the other hand, fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, but doesn’t contain a lot of vitamins.
WARNING! This may get a little technical at some points, but stay with us!
Alright! Now that you’ve been warned and know what’s what, let’s get to the point of the article;
3 Things to Look At When Finding a Pure Fish Oil Supplement.
1. Check the TOTOX value.
TOTOX, also know as total oxidation, represents a product’s overall oxidation state. The higher the TOTOX value is, the more the product has deteriorated. Consequently, you should always be on the lookout for LOW TOTOX values.
In fact, it’s absolutely crucial that you ensure that the fish oil you’re taking doesn’t have high TOTOX values. Why? High TOTOX promotes oxidative damage and increases inflammation, both of which are risk factors for nearly every modern disease.
So, how is TOTOX calculated? It’s actually not that difficult if you have the right input. TOTOX is calculated with the following formula:
2(PV) + AV = TOTOX.
PV stands for peroxide value and is a measurement of how rancid the oil has become. In understandable terms, it generally tells you how good the production process is (lower number equals better).
AV stands for anisidine value and is a compound produced when the product breaks down. It basically tells you how well the product has been stored.
BEWARE! Some companies cheat when they calculate the TOTOX value of their product. This is done by altering the formula, thus the best way to make sure that you’re getting the right TOTOX is by calculating it yourself.
2. Are There Any Metals or Pollutants?
Some companies claim that their products are free from metals and pollutants. But how can we be sure they are telling the truth? We can’t. However, our best possible tell is whether or not the fish used under production is from polluted waters or not.
A survey of fish oil capsules sold by 45 different supplement companies confirmed that there is a huge difference in product purity in terms of pollution. The survey found that the major pollutants in fish oil supplements where polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and a breakdown product of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT).
The good news is that the survey also found that supplements made from fish caught in cleaner waters tended to have lower concentrations of toxic pollutants.
In conclusion, make sure the fish is from “clean” waters, and don’t trust companies that:
- Don’t advertise where they get the fish from.
- Don’t advertise that their products are free from toxins and pollution.
3. Choosing Capsules or Liquid?
When choosing a fish oil, you can either pick a liquid oil or capsulated oil. Whether or not you consider capsulated fish oil as a pure fish oil, I’ll leave up to you. There are downsides and upsides to both sides.
Capsulated oils tend to be tasteless and easy to take. On the other hand, the absorption rate is ranging from 30-50%. Furthermore, capsulated oils generally contain lower amounts of omega-3 per dose, which makes it less cost effective.
It’s worth mentioning that capsules usually is made of animal-based gelatins and collagens. If this is something you wish to avoid, chose a liquid fish oil or make sure the capsules are made from vegetarian-based gelatins.
Liquid oils can be harder to take. Although a good and pure fish oil should be tasteless (unless there is added flavor), it can still be uncomfortable for some to swallow an oil-based product. However, in contrast to capsulated oils, liquid oils have an absorption rate upwards of 98%, thus making it the more effective choice.Good Luck!