Essential Facts about Fish Oils
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are those ‘good fats’ in the diet that are critical to maintaining human health and are important in many biochemical processes. EFAs are essential because they can’t be made by the body and have to be consumed in the diet. They are used as building blocks for cell membranes and form the basis of chemical messengers, supporting the function of many body systems such as the cardiovascular, nervous, reproductive and immune systems.
Obtaining sufficient EFAs in a modern diet can be difficult so more and more people are turning to supplements to provide a safe, pure source of EFAs.
Choosing the Best Fish Oil
Choosing a fish oil supplement can be complicated. Some fish oil products are marketed as natural, some pure, and some sustainable with no negative impact on the environment. All of these things are important.
Our fish oils are all of these things. And more.
Purity is vital because fish can pick up a lot of contaminants from polluted waters. Our fish oil comes from wild anchovies and sardines swimming in clear pacific waters. Because these small fish are low down the food chain, they accumulate minimal levels of pollutants. They are then further purified during manufacture using the best possible technology and so easily exceed all levels of purity set out by the EU’s stringent standards. There is no purer fish oil available on the market.
Fatty acids are also highly prone to peroxidation or rancidity. At production this should be strictly controlled so that the oil is not rancid but should also be combined with antioxidants to protect against peroxidation over time. Stable fish oils will have superior taste compared to peroxidised oils.
BioCare® utilises antioxidants such as natural mixed tocopherols and sometimes vitamin C to protect the oils from oxidation. Our purity information shows that our fish oil does not go rancid during its shelf-life. Our Multox® antioxidant system used in our liquid oils delivers virtually no peroxidation of oil tested in normal daily use over a 90 day period, ensuring that the products are kept as fresh and pure as the day they were opened.
It is well recognised that certain fish stocks are being overfished and are being depleted. This, combined with manufacturing processes could create serious environmental consequences. Using smaller fish low down in the food chain, that are more easily processed to produce a quality oil, maximises the efficiency of the conversion process. Similarly it is important that we develop sustainable fishing policies with rigorous regulation providing a sustainable resource, biodiversity, traceability, and elimination of ‘by-catch’ to protect other species.
The fish we use are from deep waters off the coast of Peru in sustainable fisheries. There is no risk of overfishing and in fact, the fish stock population has not changed in size or diversity for over 30 years.
There is plenty of evidence to support the use of fish oils, but it is important that the product used contains sufficient levels of EPA and DHA to exert a therapeutic effect and in fact the vast majority of products on the market do not.
Trying to achieve the high levels needed is a challenge and there are various ways to do it, some more desirable than others. Fatty acids should be presented to the body in triglyceride form as these are natural, more stable and more bio-available. Whilst triglycerides are broken down into free fatty acids, they are reconstituted once they have crossed the epithelial barrier. Therefore successful absorption is dependent on the availability of all the constituent parts.
Fish oil manufacturers can also create ‘reconstituted’ triglycerides. These provide a higher concentration of omega-3, but are synthesised and are not completely nature-identical. They are also highly processed, which may slightly compromise the quality of the oil and levels of absorption.
Ethyl esters provide the highest concentration of fatty acids. However they are stripped from their natural form and are reacted with ethanol, the least costly manufacturing process. Research shows us that triglyceride forms are better absorbed than ethyl ester forms, delivering almost 2.5 times the plasma concentration of EPA/DHA. Furthermore ethyl ester forms are prone to oxidation and have potentially cytotoxic effects.
Effectiveness is at the centre of everything we do. Our fish oils are optimally bioavailable. In most products we use a natural lipase enzyme to remove shorter chain fats from triglycerides just as the body would do when digesting them. This NEO-3® process concentrates the oils naturally and makes them easier to digest. If you need to reach high levels of essential fats, our Omegacare is one of the most potent, yet natural fish oil liquids available and can easily be used to reach high levels of EPA and DHA.
Some of our liquids are also emulsified using our BioMulsion® process. This increases their effectiveness for everyone, especially for those people who have problems with digesting fats. In one scientific study, BioMulsion® increased absorption of EPA threefold and DHA twofold.
We also have a range of products to suit everyone. From capsules to tasty liquids, and for adults and children. If you want to avoid fish oil, then we even have a great range of vegetarian and vegan essential fatty acids, including our groundbreaking new Phytomega-3 with vegan EPA and DHA from algae.
Click here to view our Fatty Acids range