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Are all fish oils made equal?

There are so many options when it comes to fish oil in the market, what do you look for when choosing the brand that you take. Some fish oil brands if not sourced and looked after well will might be doing you more harm than good.

Quality fish oil has been used to treat inflammatory conditions – most conditions that end with an ‘-itis’ are inflammatory in nature (arthritis, gastritis, dermatitis). There has also been some great links to improving mental health (depression, cognition, and sleep) to name a few.

With so much potential upsides from taking fish oil many of us to compare only on price and not some other key aspects of quality and contamination.

A few things to think about:

What else is in the capsule?

We live in an ever-increasing polluted world and the oceans and water is where environmental contaminants tend to accumulate. There may be pesticides, heavy metals or plasticisers that end up in your fish oil capsule. Many of these may have effects on central nervous system functioning, think brain fog and mental disorders (dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, neurological developmental delays), as well as effecting hormonal symptoms (PMS, thyroid health and blood sugar regulation).

Question you can ask: Has my fish oil capsule been tested for heavy metals, pesticides, dioxins (PCB’s) and plasticisers?


With the disposable society that we live in so many of the convenience items that we use are made of plastic. Think about wrappers for single serve food items as well as packaging, these if not thoughtfully recycled have a tendency to end up in the marine environment. Fish will then nibble and eat parts of these plastics that are then ingested by the fish. Microplastics may have suggested links to hormonal based conditions as well as potentially autoimmunity to name a few.

Question you can ask: If buying in a retail environment, do you know where the fish are caught or raised that are used in this product? (some of them will be farmed fish!). Has this product been tested for microplastics?

Oxidation of oils:

Oils if not looked after properly will react with oxygen, this happens naturally and can have a significant negative affect on the quality of the supplement you take. The omega 3 in fish oil is particularly sensitive to oxidation, this means that if measures are taken to care for the oil it will generally be rancid (bad) by the time you take it.

Question you can ask: What is the total oxidation profile of this fish oil supplement?

Don’t be surprised if where you purchase your fish oil from is unable to answer these questions as many brands are not tested and screened well. This means that the fish oil supplement may be doing more harm than good for you.

When you consider that you are investing your hard earned money into purchasing a supplement, make sure that you are getting what you are paying for and that your supplement is doing what it is intended to do.

If you need help navigating where you can find an excellent quality fish oil supplement, or you want to substitute your fish oil for a potentially better quality one then ask me about this in your next appointment.

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