Why is the quality of fish oil supplements an issue?
There are three major areas of concern regarding the quality of fish oil supplements: omega-3 content, contaminants and stability.
Does your fish oil contain the amount of active ingredient(s) claimed on the label?
Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are responsible for the numerous health benefits associated with fish oil products. Certain types of fish oil supplements containing omega-7 fatty acids as the active ingredient are also marketed for their health benefits. Unfortunately, products do not always contain the quantity of active ingredient(s) stated on the product label.
IFOS is the only program that tests fish oil products by batch/lot number to ensure that they contain the amount of active ingredient(s) stated on the label.
Contaminants: How safe is your fish oil?
Environmental contaminants are harmful chemicals that enter the ecosystem as a result of industrial activity. These compounds bioaccumulate in the fatty tissues of fish, meaning that oil derived from these tissues may contain excess concentrations of contaminants.
Contaminants commonly detected in fish oil samples include heavy metals (e.g., mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium) PCBs, dioxins, furans and dioxin-like PCBs. Clinical research suggests that contaminants from edible marine sources can have negative health effects, many of which outweigh the beneficial health effects of omega-3 intake.
IFOS is the only program that tests fish oil products by batch/lot number to ensure that they do not contain harmful levels of contaminants.
NEW - IFOS testing now includes radiation. In response to increased consumer inquiries about fish oil and radiation, all fish oil samples submitted for IFOS testing will have radiation added to the Consumer Reports as of January 1st, 2015. Click to view the full press release.
Stability: How fresh is your fish oil?
Also known as shelf-life, stability is a common industry term describing how quickly and easily a product will deteriorate under normal storage conditions. Ingredients that are prone to degradation or spoiling, such as fish oil, can quickly turn rancid if the product was not formulated adequately, not handled properly during manufacturing or stored in unsuitable conditions (e.g., excessive temperature or humidity).
IFOS is the only program that tests fish oil products by batch/lot number to ensure that they are stable and fresh for consumption.