Beware of Tainted Fish Oil Supplements!

By , Category : Food and Nutrition

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Beware of potential harmful toxins in fish oil supplements.Omega-3s are great for protecting your brain from age-related mental decline. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that work to keep the brain safe from damaging free radicals and the formation of dangerous plaque.

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For most of us, some of the best sources of omega-3s are fatty fish. However, due to recent concerns around toxins in fish, many have resorted to taking fish oil supplements as a safer way to boost omega-3 intake. This may not be the best way to go, according to researchers at Philadelphia University.

They noted that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may elicit a whole host of health benefits, including boosting cognitive development. As a result, dietary supplements containing omega-3 PUFAs have become increasingly popular. Often, the largest source of beneficial PUFAs in these supplements is fish oil, which the researchers say may contain significant levels of contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

They conducted a study to evaluate PCB concentrations in 13 over-the-counter children’s dietary supplements containing fish oils or powders. They assessed potential PCB exposure through ingestion of these products on a daily basis. What they found was quite shocking: every supplement analyzed contained PCBs. When following serving-size suggestions, average daily exposure values ranged from 2.5 to 50.3 nanograms of PCBs/day. What’s more, daily exposure for the children’s supplements was significantly lower than that previously reported for adult supplements.

The researchers concluded that taking fish supplements may increase daily PCB exposure as compared to the ingestion of fresh fish. It may be a better decision for you to eat fish high in omega-3 PUFAs and low in PCBs than to take fish oil supplements.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
Beware of Tainted Fish Oil Supplements!
Ashley, J.T., et al., “Children’s daily exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls from dietary supplements containing fish oils,” Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. January 2, 2013.

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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »