The Best (and Safest) Fish Oil Supplements

| 6/23/2010 3:03:18 PM

Fish Oil Pills 2

At the beginning of June, I wrote a bit about omega-3s and our developing understanding of the complex role these essential fatty acids play in our bodies, especially with respect to brain chemistry. Since then I also spotted a nice piece in the Colorado Springs Independent on the subject, about a doctor who says omega-3 deficiency (that is, eating too little fish) could be the cause of rising rates of mental illness.

At any rate, I know the preponderance of stories in the media has made me extra-diligent about taking my fish oil capsules, which is why I wanted to point to an unnerving piece in the July-August issue of Spirituality & Health about health risks and the choosing the best fish oil supplements.

As Matt Sutherland writes:

If you’re unnerved by the idea that a typical package of hamburger might contain flesh from hundreds, if not thousands, of cows, you may be surprised to know the oil in your fish oil capsule may be derived from several different species, including sardines, herring, anchovies, tuna, cod, krill (a shrimp-like planktonic crustacean, and even farm-raised salmon. Furthermore, these fish, which get their omega-3 from eating microalgae, may come from shallow waters near heavily populated shores, where heavy metals, toxins, PCBs, and other pollutants concentrate….

Delightful. If you’re looking to reap the health benefits of fish oil, Sutherland advises doing your own research. “Terms like ‘ultra-refined,’ ‘high-potency,’ ‘pharmaceutical-grade,’ etc., are marketing hyperbole,” he writes. “The industry as a whole, has not agreed on definitions of purity or quality.”

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