Fish oil, fish oil, fish oil, you are hearing about it from all sides. It helps with heart disease, dry eye, cholesterol and everyone has a fish oil product, it can get confusing. A Google search of fish oil yields over 38 million hits and narrow it down to EPA and DHA you still have over 500,000 hits.
Fish oil contains essential Omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors to eicosanoids that reduce inflammation throughout the body. Smaller fish such as anchovies and sardines are high in EPA and DHA. Larger fish such as salmon, cod and tuna also have high concentrations of EPA and DHA. Because these fish are higher on the food chain they can also accumulate toxins such as polychorinated biphenyls (PCB) and mercury.
ABC News recently reported on the results from preliminary testing of some fish oil products on the market. Some of these products show levels of PCBs above California standards, but within national standards. Some of the brands included in the study were Nature Made, GNC and TwinLab.
When I evaluate fish oil I look for brands that use smaller fish and come from a producer that has U.S. Pharmacopeia verification (USP). This is the organization that establishes quality standards for the FDA and all medicines in the United States. Products that meet this standard include Science Based Health’s, HydroEyes and Nordic Natural’s, Arctic Omega.