About the Company: The CardioTabs brand is one of the few companies to produce a fish oil product that has been “developed by cardiologists”. They have been making nutrition supplements for over 10 years and their products are distributed by Good Things Health.
What Makes Them Different: The company sent over two products for us to review: CardioTabs Omega-3 and CardioTabs Omega-3 + D3. According to the company, their products are gluten-free and can be taken with other medications.
However, this is certainly true of all high quality fish oil supplements. You can read more about the safety of mixing fish oil products with drugs like statins here.
CardioTabs uses enteric coated fish oil capsules. Theoretically, this should minimize any fish oil side effects related to digestion. They also include citrus flavoring to improve the taste, should you choose to break open the capsules.
CardioTabs is not rated by the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) program. However, the director of supply chain and compliance had this to say about the quality of their products “On our Omega-3 Extra Strength purity report, you will notice three chemicals as “detected”. When you compare these chemicals to Proposition 65, which states safe harbor levels for cancer-causing chemicals and for chemicals causing reproductive toxicity, you will notice copper and mercury figures do not appear on the list and the safe harbor level for arsenic (10 micro grams/day) is well above our level (.365 ppm or .399 micrograms per capsule). I hope this explanation helps and that there isn’t any confusion upon review”.
Supplement Facts: CardioTabs Omega-3 Extra Strength + Vitamin D3 is not natural triglyceride form. Instead, it is an ethyl-ester based fish oil and 2 capsules contain 1,300 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. We had enough samples to test this particular product using the styrofoam cup method, see the results of our fish oil test. Three capsules of CardioTabs Omega-3 contain 1,050 mg of concentrated omega-3 fish oil (sardine, anchovy, squid and mackerel). There is no indication as to the form this fish oil is in, though we assume it too is ethyl-ester based. Curious about which fish oil should you take?
Other Ingredients: Omega-3 Extra Strength + Vitamin D3 also contains gelatin, glycerine and purified water, orange flavor, mixed natural tocopherols, natural berry flavor, vitamin D3. CardioTabs Omega-3 also contains gelatin, glycerine and purified water), enteric coating (food glaze, sodium alginate, natural lemon flavor, steric acid, lemon flavor, natural mixed tocopherols (soy).
Our Opinion: Because of issues with potency and purity, we only recommend IFOS-certified fish oils. IFOS, the International Fish Oil Standards program extends third-party lab testing to fish oil manufacturers looking to guarantee quality to consumers (visit the program’s site here). IFOS tests for toxic substances commonly detected in fish oil products like peroxide, totox, lead, mercury, dioxins & furans, and PCBs. Fish oils only receive a 5-star rating by passing lab tests that exceed standards set by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, European Pharmacopeia, and the Norwegian Medicinal Standards…the three major health supplement regulating bodies.
Additionally, the concentrations listed in their products are only marginally higher than brands in a similar class (that is, ethyl-ester based fish oil). Unfortunately, one of the samples (Omega-3 Extra Strength + Vitamin D3) we received had a horrible smell. This is not a good sign in your fish oil & usually indicates there has been some oxidation. Of course, this was just our experience and may not be representative of CardioTabs’ normal supply.
If you are making a choice between generic fish oil supplements found at your local drugstore and CardioTabs, go with the latter. We give them a “thumbs up” for at least using enteric coated capsules and sustainably sourced DHA and EPA.