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Fish Oil Supplements – Carcinogen and Contaminants

When edible oils are treated to extremely high temperatures to remove unfavourable tastes, colours, or aromas during industrial refining, 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol esters (3-MCPDE) and glycidyl esters (GE) can develop in the oils. While the highest concentrations are typically found in refined palm and palm olein oils, 3-MCPDE and GE are found in other refined vegetable oils (such as safflower, coconut, sunflower, and soybean oils) and refined marine oils (such as fish oil). During digestion, 3-MCPDE and GE are broken down into the organic chemicals 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) and glycidol. In rodent studies, 3-MCPD adversely affected the kidneys and male reproductive organs, and both 3-MCPD and glycidol caused cancer.

(Source: FDA US)

How to Choose Supplements Malaysia

The Consumer Council of Hong Kong has discovered that fish oil supplements may not be as healthy as they are represented to be since they may contain pollutants, carcinogens, and toxic lipids.

25 fish oil supplements were examined by the watchdog; all of them included pollutants, including 24 that contained 3-monochloropropane diol (3-MCPD), a substance that may have negative effects on the kidneys, the central nervous system, and the male reproductive system.

With 15,000 micrograms per kg, Adrien Gagnon’s Omega-3 Highly Concentrated Fish Oil had the highest level of 3-MCPD, followed by GNC’s Live Well Fish Body Oil with 6,800mcg/kg and Miracle Life’s Supreme Fish Oil with 2,800mcg/kg – all of which were above the permitted level for the European Union. 

Glycidol, a genotoxic carcinogen, was found in 14 samples. Both glycidol and the antioxidant butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) were found in the Miracle Life product in amounts that exceeded Hong Kong standards and the EU’s maximum of 1,000mcg/kg for fish oil.

Supplements for Expectant Women and Children

The council also found levels of the carcinogen benzopyrene in Nutronic Pregnancy Omega 3, a product for pregnant women, five times the EU limit. The sample also contained 54 µg/kg polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), exceeding the EU limit of 10 µg/kg. If pregnant women use fish oil supplements containing dangerous carcinogens, that is concerning. The placenta and mother’s blood could both have an impact on the foetus. Nobody wants to expose infants to these chemicals.

The council alleged that although the 23 softgels of the supplements claimed to be high in omega-3 fatty acids such docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the quantities varied by up to 50 times.

Szyy Best’s Children Fish Oil had the lowest concentrations of DHA, 10.3 percent per capsule, much below the advertised 60.6 percent. Similar to this, the brand’s fish oil sold to expectant mothers had 11.7 percent DHA per capsule rather than the stated 43.7 percent.

Meiriki Japan’s Platinum DHA 70 had the lowest quantity of EPA, 12.3 milligrammes per capsule, and Webber Naturals’ Triple Strength Omega-3 had the largest amount, 631.4 milligrammes per capsule.

The council ruled that pollutants shouldn’t be included in fish oil supplements. It emphasised the need for the nutrition information to match the label, particularly for goods targeted at youngsters and expectant women.

Unhealthy Fat

The Watchdog also found that the levels of saturated fat and trans fat, which can increase bad cholesterol in the body, varied widely in the samples, with the former ranging from 1.7% to 35.4%. Many consumers purchase fish oil supplements hoping to get healthy polyunsaturated fats such as DHA and EPA, not trans fat or saturated fat.

Foods Contain Omega 3

It urged customers to exercise caution before buying the supplements in order to prevent health concerns and informed consumers that they can get these nutrients from their usual diet. There are many of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, especially seafood. Therefore, you must ask yourself if you truly need to use this vitamin. Eat fresh foods whenever possible to avoid constantly relying on pills to obtain omega-3 fatty acids.

To protect the health of customers, the council asked manufacturers to increase product quality and appropriately label their goods.



Beware of contaminants in fish oil: Consumer Council HK

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