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Are your omega oils doing you harm?

Are your omega oils doing you harm? image

Are you taking the best fish oil?

In my on-going quest for unbiased scientific data, in order to make good health decisions I delved into fish oil to clear up some questions I had.


Is your fish oil triglycerides or ethyl esters?

This is important because triglycerides are what is found in nature and what you would find in fish (FO’s) . Ethyl esters (EE’s) are man made and not found in nature. The downside with ethyl esters, although lower in cost, is that they are poorly absorbed by the body.

How do you know if your Omega tablets are FO or EE? – Easy!


Put about 20ml of your current fish oil into a Styrofoam cup, place the cup on a plate to avoid a mess.

Leave the oil in the cup for 10 minutes, if the oil has leaked through or eaten through your cup then you know it contains EE’s.


EPA and DHA
The amount contained of each of these gives you an indication of how much of the oil capsule is actually omega triglycerides. Eg: a 1000mg fish oil capsule can contain anything from 175mg to 780mg of omega oil out of the 1000ml capsule. You want to aim for the highest amount of active with the least amount of filler product. Aim not to have less than 500mg per capsule.


Other key factors:

Fish oil needs to be molecularly distilled to remove any and all impurities and heavy metals to make it safe and healthy for human consumption, they then need to be re-esterified to turn them from EE’s to FO’s again.

Fish oil can oxidize and become rancid. Check that it’s clean tasting or smelling( not a strong fishy smell) to ensure the fish oil isn’t rancid. EE’s tend to be less stable than FO’s and generally oxidize quicker.


Cansa did an interesting study on 68 of the omega oils available in South Africa taking peroxide values and rancidity into account as well as percentage of omegas and types of oils. Out of 68 brands only 7 made it out at meeting their criteria, unfortunate that study was done in 2013 and alot has changed with whats on offer since then. I have been to the shops and only 1 of the 7 listed seem to be available. This was in Clicks and it was the Omega Caro E.


I did find what seemed to me a particularly good one - though I couldn't perform lab tests on it, it claimed to be all triglycerides and it had high amount of EPA and DHA. This was from the health store in cavendish square.

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