Every time I turn around someone’s found a bizarre process for selling a more concentrated form. It seems that industry standards are not good enough for the consumer. This movement is a good sign because it shows that we as consumers are paying a little attention to what’s going on in our supplements.
In the case of fish oil, this process has actually proved to be fairly important. Unfortunately, there’s so much hype and variation that it’s difficult to tell what’s refined and what’s not.
The most important thing is to get the dose you need of the nutrient you’re looking for. This nutrient is different depending on your outcome, the expectation or benefit you hope to receive. In many cases, this benefit is guaranteed.
If you are trying to prevent heart attacks, then you want to make sure and get plenty of EPA. If you’re trying to slow the growth of potentially cancerous cells, then you’ll want to get a fair share of DHA. Most people will want both to maximize the benefits.
First of all, remember that there is not really any such thing as pharmaceutical grade fish oil, or if there is that the concept was created by industry standards, and not a medical organization. Knowing this will help you define the concept of ultra refined fish oil. Are you looking for a larger dose, or simply trying to avoid the extra fatty acids you don’t need. There’s nothing wrong with either of these outcomes as long as you know what to look for.
The concentration of omega-3 does not change per se in a given supplement, but the best manufacturers use a process called molecular distillation to separate the molecules you want from the molecules you don’t want. This process is simple to understand, but difficult to execute.
For producers using traditional refining, this can be a difficult transition, and there’s no reason for to drive up the cost of their product if it’s going to hurt business.
But what about hurting the consumer?
Molecular distillation allow the production of the most refined fish oil supplements and ensures the maximum possible removal of toxins, contaminants, and oil which does not contain omega-3. There may also be advantages to combining the result of this process with other additives, enhancing the healthful effects of omega-3.
Truthfully, the best way to avoid toxins is to determine which species of fish is best for you. Clean environment plays the most important role in deciding which chemicals even need to be removed from the fish itself. If the fish is in a clean environment, then nature has given you a head start on ultra refined fish oil.