fish oil quality

Should Your Fish Oil Pills be Thrown Back?

If you know what to look for on the label, you can get more healthy omega-3s for your buck.

Should Your Fish Oil Pills be Thrown Back?

They may all look the same, but check the label to be sure you're getting enough omega 3's.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The beneficial fatty acids in fish oil have been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, fatal heart attacks, better brain function, and more. But a recent report conducted by a consumer watchdog group has discovered some fish-oil-supplement claims are downright fishy.

THE DETAILS: Consumer Lab, a third-party evaluator of supplements, tested 38 omega-3 supplements, including softgels and liquid, and products for adults, children, and pets. They tested for harmful contaminants often found in some fish (mercury, PCBs, and dioxins) and omega-3 fatty acid levels, particularly the beneficial EPA and DHA forms. They found that nearly one-third of the products were rancid and/or did not contain the levels of omega-3 fatty acids indicated.

The good news is that most products fared well; including New Chapter Wholemega Fish Oil, which Tod Cooperman, MD, president of, says is a good choice for consumers looking for a product that has not been distilled or chemically treated. In terms of a quality bargain, Dr. Cooperman says Swanson EFA's Super EPA packs a solid bang for your buck.

On the other fin, NOW Neptune Krill Oil did not do as well. Consumer Lab found it was rancid and contained just 80 percent of its claimed total omega-3 fatty acids in two separate laboratory tests. The complete report is available at, but viewing it requires a membership purchase.


Published on: September 29, 2010

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