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Fish oil brands

[SPLIT FROM ANOTHER THREAD]

Why “pharm grade” oils?

Consumer Reports (07/03 — available online with subscription) tested fish oils and found that all 16 top-selling brands it tested “contained roughly as much EPA and DHA as their labels promised. None showed evidence of spoilage, and none contained significant amounts of mercury, the worrisome PCBs, or dioxin.” (CR, of course, accepts no advertising, so there’s no plausible motive for fabrication of data.) Another respected independent group, Environmental Defense, contacted manufacturers of fish-oil pills, and over 80% replied confirming that they meet the strictest standards for purity.

Mass-market brands sometimes contain lower concentrations of DHA & EPA, of course, but all that means is you have to take more pills to achieve the same total intake. The mass-market brands can be over 10 times cheaper for the same quantity of DHA & EPA than more expensive brands, according to the CR report.


Last edited by Para-Goomba : 09-13-2005 at .

Para, this has been discussed by me before in the past. The fact is, contaminants have to be very low inorder to meet food grade restrictions. However, the liver cannot get rid of many of the contaminants, especially heavy metals, so they build up and up. Only small amounts in the body can have serious affects on the immune system amongst other thing. Heavy metals produce dangerous free radicals at an alarming rate. They can cause cancer, heart disease amongst many other diseases. Food grade fish oil’s recommended dosage is very small to keep intake of heavy metals and other contaminants at acceptable levels. Such low dosages of fish oil have very little health benefits.

Food grade fish oil is mostly saturated fat, with just a little Omega 3. From my own research it actually works out cheaper to buy pharmaceutical grade fish oil when comparing omega 3 contents gram for gram.


There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world: and that is an idea whose time has come.


Last edited by Gottagrow : 09-13-2005 at .

I know why contaminants are bad. Do you have any research (from unbiased sources — not the company’s advertisements) showing that “pharm oils” actually have lower levels of contaminants than mass-market brands? I provided two sources suggesting No.

Regarding cost, Consumer Reports, as I said, calculated prices based on DHA & EPA combined, not on a per-pill basis. The Costco and Sam’s Club brands, at the time of testing, cost only $0.06 per gram of DHA & EPA (the most expensive brand tested cost $0.52 per gram), whereas, according to the company’s own calculations, the Dr. Sears brand you recommended in another thread costs $0.56 per gram. That’s a big difference in the long-haul, assuming a person is consuming at least a gram or two a day of the DHA & EPA (which is needed for the greatest benefits).

I agree with you about chocolate, though — Valrhona is the tastiest stuff around! :thumbs: Noir Amer is their best, in my opinion…

Para, I did this research well over a year ago and most, if not all of the links of importance have been deleted by now. I will see if I can find anything useful. It was a long time ago. By the way, when I mentioned Dr. Sears, I also implied that it wasn’t the best for value.

Do You want a fight Para? Manjari is better than Noir Amer! lol


There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world: and that is an idea whose time has come.

Sorry about the oversight re: your Sears value comments. My bad.

I’m only questioning you about this because nice-sounding terms with no medical meaning, such as “pharmaceutical grade” in the case of fish oil (since there is no USP monograph for fish oil), are notorious for selling snake oil (or, in this case, according to my suspicion, expensive fish oil that is exactly the same as any other fish oil).

Check out this article from the 03/2005 issue of Better Nutrition:

“One of the common concerns with fish oil supplements relates to product contamination, in particular the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and heavy metals such as mercury. However, a recent report on fish oil supplements by ConsumerLab.com found no detectable levels of mercury (less than 1.5 parts per billion) in the products analyzed. Consumer Reports also recently tested several popular brands and found that none contained significant levels of mercury, dioxins or PCBs. The lack of mercury in fish oil supplements may be attributed to the fact that most mercury in fish is concentrated in the meat, not the oil. This is especially good news for those taking high therapeutic doses to treat neurological disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression. Distillation processes used by most manufacturers to remove contaminants may also explain the lack of heavy metals and other toxins.”

Para, I found this old link in one of my folders. Perhaps it will help you understand the different types of health-food grade fish oils and how distilled fish oil is different. ‘Pharmaceutical grade’ may or may not be an accurate term within the fish oil industry. Many supplements are either health-food grade or pharmaceutical grade and the pharmaceutical grade is always the purest of the two, so the term pharmaceutical grade fish oil is fitting for the most refined fish oil with the highest possible active ingredients.

http://www.1stvitality.co.uk/morepa…e-fish-oils.htm


There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world: and that is an idea whose time has come.

Originally Posted by Zaneblue
easier on the digestion

This would make sense, since a higher concentration = fewer pills needed. If I had problems with pills and my belly, I’d try a high-concentration brand.

Originally Posted by Zaneblue
a big difference between brands, even at the same dosage of EPA and DHA per day

Originally Posted by Gottagrow
but inferior active ingredients.

DHA = DHA; EPA = EPA. To say otherwise sounds as ludicrous to me as claiming that brand-name Tylenol is superior to generic acetaminophen. A legitimate question would be whether all brands contain the DHA & EPA they claim to contain; fortunately, we have research showing that they do.

From a site selling “pharm grade” fish oil, naturally. Moreover, its claims to the superiority of its “pharm grade” fish oil are limited to (1) a purported lack of contaminants such as PCBs, an issue addressed in the research I linked to earlier; and (2) a purported lack of “long-chain monoenes (that cause gastric distress).” I know of no research on the latter claim, but regardless of its truth, it has no bearing on the salutary effects of fish oil (only on the gastric comfort of the user — and I rarely hear of people getting upset stomachs from fish oil pills, although Zaneblue suggests that some do).

End of my ranting. I just have a strong distaste for supplement companies that charge a premium for their sensational advertising. I have the same beef with drug companies that spend millions advertising to doctors (and even directly to consumers these days!).

I have spoken at length with a world-reknowned fish oil expert at the NIH, Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, and he concurs that fish oil brands vary widely in quality, and that efficacy is affected by processing techniques, in particular high heat. He is not connected with a fish oil company and has done many studies on fish oil. He knows what he’s talking about.


I think it's the woman's job to tighten up to fit her man--it's lots easier for us.

Buy my book! The Orgasmic Diet by Marrena Lindberg

“DHA = DHA; EPA = EPA. To say otherwise sounds as ludicrous to me”

You didn’t know that DHA and EPA can lose some of their efficacy if they aren’t treated carefully? Well, there in lies the problem my friend.

As for the other stuff you mentioned, it is only an old link I found. It has some very basic information. I wasn’t using it to argue a case, I just thought you might want to take a browse, you ungrateful git, lol.

“Moreover, its claims to the superiority of its “pharm grade” fish oil are limited”

It has a higher concentration of omega 3’s than any other fish oil. That alone makes it superior. Although I wouldn’t ever spend that kind of money just because it is stronger and purer. It’s a rip off even if it is the best around. Doctors actually prescribe MorEPA in the UK because of the research that has been done on it. It’s still a rip off.

“I just have a strong distaste for supplement companies that charge a premium for their sensational advertising”

You’re telling me?! I go to great lengths to get all of my supplements from the wholesalers. I buy many of my supplements from wholesalers in China and make up my own capsules with it. I request certificates of analysis/conformity with everything I buy. I go to all this trouble so that I don’t have to pay the inflated prices of supplement companies, who’s budgets go on fancy advertising and packaging, yet who’s products aren’t any better for all of their ungrounded claims.


There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world: and that is an idea whose time has come.


Last edited by Gottagrow : 09-13-2005 at .

Originally Posted by Gottagrow
You didn’t know that DHA and EPA can lose some of their efficacy if they aren’t treated carefully? Well, there in lies the problem my friend.

So far you haven’t adduced any evidence for the view that Pharm Oil brands treat their DHA and EPA more carefully than mass-market brands — nor have you explained why this “quality of treatment” would matter anyway. You have linked only to the advertisement of a Pharm Oil company.

Originally Posted by Gottagrow
It has a higher concentration of omega 3’s than any other fish oil. That alone makes it superior.

How? Take more pills of a low-concentration mass-market brand. You get the same EPA & DHA for cheaper.

Originally Posted by Zaneblue
I have spoken at length with a world-reknowned fish oil expert at the NIH, Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, and he concurs that fish oil brands vary widely in quality, and that efficacy is affected by processing techniques, in particular high heat. He is not connected with a fish oil company and has done many studies on fish oil. He knows what he’s talking about.

So where is his research that some brands of EPA & DHA are more effective than others? It may be true for all I know, but I have seen no research to support this, and common sense would suggest that an oil is an oil is an oil. Even the Pharm Oil companies — as Gottagrow linked to above — don’t claim that their EPA & DHA are superior. They say that they have less contaminants and don’t cause as much GI distress (and as I said, the latter claim may be true, I don’t know, but the former is false).

Do you know how much it costs to do a research study? The man is researching using fish oil to treat alcoholism. He’s not going to waste his time doing a research study on different brands. Only an actual fish oil company would sponsor such research. Research must always be paid for, so there are always gaps in knowledge. I have commented before that research has not been done on PE either. There is only the anecdotal evidence here, and he has considerable anecdotal evidence from treating addictions and brain disorders on what fish oil works best. Sheesh!


I think it's the woman's job to tighten up to fit her man--it's lots easier for us.

Buy my book! The Orgasmic Diet by Marrena Lindberg

Originally Posted by zaneblue
Do you know how much it costs to do a research study?

Yes, in fact I do.

Originally Posted by zaneblue
He’s not going to waste his time doing a research study on different brands.

Precisely. Nor is anyone else. Unless there’s some respect in which various EPAs or DHAs may plausibly differ. In that case, an oil seller might fund research.

I can’t argue with anecdotal evidence. I just think it’s useful to state explicitly that the only evidence for a difference between brands is anecdotal. The Pharm Oil companies would have you think that there is solid scientific reason to think that their oil is superior.

Life Extension Foundation has recently been saying fish oil has been shown to increase lipid peroxidation. As a result they’ve added sesame lignans to the fish oil they sell because studies show sesame lignans help protect against lipid peroxidation.

Gottagrow & Zaneblue,

I’m sorry to have taken the thread off-track. Thunder, please feel free to move my dispute with them about Pharm Oil to a separate thread if you’d like. I’m just in a weirdly argumentative mood today. It’s definitely nothing personal, and I hope my combative tone hasn’t been offensive, GG & ZB.

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