With the recent popularity of fish oil supplements today due their overwhelming range of health benefits, fish oil has never been more available for everybody. Manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and coming out with a new fish oil supplement every few months. With all these options available out on the market, choosing the right fish oil supplement can prove to be a daunting task.
While there will certainly be may factors to take in consideration when evaluating a fish oil supplement, there are some very basic guidelines to follow.
The very first thing to consider is whether or not your fish oil supplement is safe. Fish oil supplements are just as at risk from toxin contamination as other fish products. This risk is so real that the FDA has recommended that we limit the amount of fish we eat.
Pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements seemed like the solution to the purity risks, but there was no regulatory body to enforce any standards. As a result, many unscrupulous companies just label their fish oil supplement products “pharmaceutical grade” to sell more.
Fortunately, a regulatory board was formed when Nutrasource Diagnostics Inc., a diagnostics company in Canada decided that the standards for fish oil purity were too lenient to be considered safe. This resulted in the formation of the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) program. The IFOS has the strictest standards when it comes to toxin purity in fish oil supplements. The IFOS measures the safety of fish oil supplements with regards to five parameters. These parameters are:
- Passes All CRN/WHO Testing Categories
- PCB Levels Less than 50% of CRN Standard
- 60% Omega-3 Concentration or Higher
- Oxidation Levels Less than 75% of CRN Standard
- Dioxin Levels Less Than 50% of WHO Standard
As you can see, the standards of the IFOS far exceed those of the WHO and CRN. If a fish oil supplement gets a 5-star certification from the IFOS, then it is most probably safe from toxin contamination.
Once it has been determined that a fish oil supplement is safe, the next thing to do is to find out if it is any good. Fish oil supplements are beneficial to our bodies because of their active ingredient, Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA. Look for a fish oil supplement that has a high concentration of Omega-3s, as the more DHA and EPA you get, the better the supplement is.
A fish oil supplement with an Omega-3 concentration of 30% that is cheaper by a few dollars compared to one with an Omega-3 concentration of 60% is not a bargain. In fact, you are more likely to get your money’s worth buying a fish oil supplement with a higher concentration. Again, all IFOS 5-star certified fish oil supplements have a concentration of Omega-3s higher than 60%.
When looking for a fish oil supplement, it is easy to get lost with all the marketing, advertising, and overwhelming number of choices. Remember to look for what really matters, quality and safety, and you should be able to find a decent fish oil and enjoy all the benefits fish oil supplementation offers.