ConsumerLab.com announced today that testing of fifty omega-3 fish oil supplements, foods or beverages (including two marketed for pets) found all to have safe levels of mercury, lead and PCBs. Omega-3 fatty acids in the products ranged from only 16 mg to over 1,000 mg per serving, but all contained their claimed amounts of EPA and DHA without signs of spoilage. However, one enteric coated capsule released its fish oil too early and several fortified beverage and food products erroneously claimed to provide a portion of the “Daily Value” of omega-3’s while no such value has been established.
Sales of fish oil supplements were $489 million in 2006, according to Nutrition Business Journal, and have surged nearly 500% since 2000 when the FDA allowed products to claim that the omega-3 oils EPA and DHA may reduce the risk of heart disease. Intake of approximately 500 mg per day of EPA and DHA is associated with decreased mortality from heart disease. But average intake in the United States is only 100 to 200 mg per day. EPA and DHA may also be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis, depression and other conditions. Interest in fish oil supplements has been further spurred by reports of contamination in fish meat, such as mercury in tuna and PCBs in farmed salmon.
“Because of how they are made, fish oil supplements are a great alternative to fish as a source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. You can easily get a month’s supply of a good supplement for less than the price of a pound of fish – and without contaminants,” said Tod Cooperman, M.D., ConsumerLab.com’s president. Dr. William Obermeyer, ConsumerLab.com’s Vice President of Research, explained that contaminants are unlikely in properly made fish oil products because, “The species of fish used to make oil supplements are typically smaller and not as likely to accumulate toxins, and the oils are distilled -- which removes contaminants.”
The new report provides test results and comparisons for fifty products. Twenty-three were selected by ConsumerLab.com and twenty-seven others were tested at the request of their manufacturers through ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. Seven additional products are listed that are similar to ones that passed testing but sold under different brand names. The report also provides extensive information on using omega-3 fatty acids.
Brands included in the report are Advocare, Aristo, Berkley & Jensen (BJ’s), Carlson, Coromega, CVS, Eniva, GNC, Health from the Sea, Iceland Health, Integrative Therapeutics, Jarrow, Great American Products, Healthy Hide, Kirkland (Costco), Lipiderm, Mega Smarts, Minami, Mommy’s Bliss, Natural Factors, Nature Made, Nature’s Bounty, Nature’s Sunshine, New Chapter, Nordic Naturals, Now, Nutramax, Nutri-Supreme, OmegaBrite, Omega-Gel, Origin (Target), PharmAssure, Pharmanex, Pure Encapsulations, Puritan’s Pride, Shaklee, Silk (WhiteWave), Spring Valley (Wal-Mart) Sundown, Swanson, Tropicana, Twinlab, USANA, Vital Oils, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, Wegmans, Weil, and Yoplait.
Reviews of many other popular supplements are available from ConsumerLab.com. New Reviews to be released online in coming months include calcium, melatonin, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, menopause supplements and nutrition bars.
ConsumerLab.com is a provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester County, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com, an evaluator of online pharmacies. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online.
For group subscriptions or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at [email protected].
Report available at http://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Omega-3_Fatty_Acids_EPA_and_DHA_from_Fish_Marine_Oils/omega3/