Omega 3’s are essential fatty acids which means our body cannot make them but rather they have to come from a food or supplement source. With the modern diet being so high in pro-inflammatory omega 6’s (and we now know many modern diseases stem from inflammation in the body) it is essential you get enough omega 3. Because of how vital it is, Omega three is one of the most researched nutrients on the planet.
Our high quality fish oil product, BePure Three, is one of the two products we recommend taking for a baseline level of health every day alongside our quality daily multivitamin, BePure One. We’ve had a lot of questions recently about the need for taking a fish oil product, how our product differs, how it is made and what fish we use.
So, we thought we’d write an article to answer all of these questions as well as to show you how we test each batch of BePure Three for heavy metals, oxidation and quality.
It's really important that people know why not all fish oils are the same. I spent three years researching pretty much everything you could ever need to know about fish oils; so I could get the highest level of quality for BePure Three fish oil.
Why do we need to take a fish oil product?
We need a diet rich in healthy Omega 3 fats to support mood and hormonal health as well as lowering inflammation.
We need both Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids. The word essential means our bodies cannot produce it ourselves, we have to ingest them. The problem is in the modern world the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats is too high. When we don’t have the right balance of these essential fatty acids we can get systemic inflammation, chronic illness, hormonal imbalances, infertility and decreased mood.
The modern diet contains a lot of processed food. This usually means we are consuming far more vegetable oils than we should. Vegetable oils are high in Omega 6 fatty acids. In addition conventionally raised meat and caged eggs increase our consumption of Omega 6 foods.
Foods that are rich in Omega 3 include small oily fish such as salmon, anchovies, sardines and mackerel. You could eat these foods - and we highly encourage it - but molecularly distilled and purified, fish oil can have high concentrations of DHA and EPA, at levels that would be difficult to obtain from eating fish. You would have to eat roughly 75g of fresh wild salmon everyday to get the daily serving available in BePure Three.
Unfortunately our oceans are not as clean as they used to be and the risk for mercury contamination is high when eating a lot of fish for concentrated Omega 3 benefits. Getting your Omega 3’s from a quality, filtered source is possibly a safer option.
Are fish oils safe?
A recent report from the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland found two primary areas of concern with fish oil supplementation.
1. The level of active essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA (the reason we take fish oil supplements) was, in all but three cases, much lower that stated on the bottle.
2. Over half the products tested had oxidized to a level higher than the recommended limit (which had nothing to do with the best before date). The study tested 36 different brands of fish oil capsules.
BePure Three was not tested in the study but it is essential that you know the processes and procedures we have in place to ensure you are getting, not only the level of active ingredients we state on the bottle, but also the product is protected from oxidation and is as pure as we can possibly make it.
So, let’s have a look at these areas of concern and break down our stance on them and what we do to ensure our product doesn’t fall to these criticisms.
1. Active Ingredients
Fish oil supplements have become very popular, for good reason – with every pharmacy, health food store and most supermarkets selling them. The problem is, as the study published in the journal Scientific Reports reports, many of the cheaper brands may not be providing the benefits they claim because the don’t have the concentration and stability they need.
EPA and DHA play an essential role in reducing inflammation and are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function, cell growth and normal metabolism. The health benefits of active omega 3’s for protecting against heart disease, brain health, mood, arthritis, skin, hair and eyes are incredible.
BePure Three has 1400mg of active ingredients (EPA and DHA). You will notice that some products claim they have, for example, 1000mg of fish oil. The label may say 1000 mg of fish oil on the front but that does not have any relation to how much active DHA and EPA is in the dosage. All it means is there is 1000 mg of fish oil (usually inactive). With recent studies highlighting many brands may not even have this amount of active ingredients.
How do you know the levels in BePure Three are what we say?
BePure has specification testing from the manufacturer, which guarantees that the amount of fish oil we state in BePure Three is actually what is in the bottle.
2. Oxidisation after bottling
Research during the recent study also found in over half of the products tested, the oil had oxidised to a level higher than the recommended limit, meaning the oil was turning rancid or already off.
We know certain brands of fish oil are processed at high heats - because I was offered this form of processing when developing the product - which causes oxidization of ingredients, leading to increased inflammation in the body and risk of disease.
BePure has strict low temperature, oxygen-free processing – essential to prevent oxidation (rancidity) in our fish oil. Brands that follow this process will include details of molecular distillation on the bottle.
We use a third party testing facility to test for two common markers of oxidation; Anisidine and Peroxide. The international standard for Anisidine is 30meg/kg, the BePure standard is below 20 meg/kg. Our latest batch showed 13.6 meg/kg. The international standard for Peroxide is 10 meg/kg. The Bepure standard is below 7 meg/kg. Our latest batch showed 6.6 meg/kg.
We know that we can test for oxidation at the time of bottling the product, but in some cases the fish oil could go rancid by the time it reaches the consumer. It’s for this reason we’ve included Vitamin E into our BePure Three formulation.
Natural vitamin E is a great antioxidant for preserving freshness as well as being essential for your health. BePure Three Fish Oil contains 60 I.U. of Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) per serving to stop oxidation in the capsule.
Apart from vitamin E, BePure Three has a natural coating protecting it from light and therefore oxidation once it leaves the factory. I have, as an extra precaution, added a small amount of Iron to the capsule to protect the oil from light. This is why the capsules are orange.
Where does BePure source fish from?
The media and research reported that the majority of fish oils were sourced from South American deep-sea-fish.
BePure Three is made in NZ from tuna frames and anchovies caught wild and sustainably in the south pacific. This is important to ensure the low level of toxic metals in BePure Three.
When I began my research into fish oil for the New Zealand market three years ago I was shocked to find the international levels for toxic substances were in some cases 10 times higher than the international standards in products on the NZ market.
One NZ manufacturer provided product tests from shallow water shark liver oil that contained 1mg/kg of mercury and arsenic. The international standards are less than 0.1 part per million.
This is horrifying and I am shocked this is being sold over the counter in NZ.
Mercury is a known toxic, bio-accumulative substance which can negatively affect your brain, nervous system, kidneys and an unborn baby’s brain and health.
BePure Three is molecularly distilled and third party tested to ensure virtually all environmental pollutants such as heavy metals, PCB’s and dioxins have been removed. The heavy metal levels tested in BePure Three are less than 0.01 parts per million which exceeds the international standards.
So do I really need to take a fish oil with all this risk?
Omega 3 is the most highly researched nutrient in the world.
In 1989 respected medical journal ‘The Lancet’ reported a study trialing omega 3-rich foods, during which the death rate dropped an impressive 29%. Dr. Ralph Holman found that populations who had high levels of omega 3 in their blood were the healthiest.
Omega 3’s are essential fatty acids which means our body cannot make them but rather they have to come from a food or supplement source. With the modern diet being so high in pro-inflammatory omega 6’s (and we now know many modern diseases stem from inflammation in the body) it is essential you get enough omega 3.
But you do need to be aware of the importance of buying a quality product that is pure, concentrated, biologically available, non-rancid fish oil, and what’s on the label matches the content in the capsule.
I fully support a call by industry for a passing of a bill that would help to ensure dietary supplements contain what they say they do. Consumers have a right to be getting what it says on the bottle.
What about Omega 3 from plant seeds?
Omega 3 from plant seed oil is a type called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and is found mostly in flaxseeds and kiwifruit seeds. The problem is ALA needs to be converted by the body to useable forms of Omega 3 – EPA and DHA (as found in fish oils, which have already been converted by the host fish). Some people have difficulty converting ALA to EPA and DHA and therefore will benefit more from taking a high quality, concentrated, pure fish oil.
Some research suggests that only 9% of Omega 3’s from flax seeds are converted to EPA and DHA.
We know that taking quality nutritional support to help with specific nutrient deficiencies is key to experiencing health, energy and wellness. But, as you can see from this study and the precautions we take at BePure to ensure quality and safety there is a lot to consider when choosing a brand of fish oil.
Always check to see where a product is made and which fish it uses. Larger fish from the Atlantic will have a higher level of mercury or heavy metals than small fish from the south pacific. Check for supporting vitamins in the formulation - such as Vitamin E and iron - to prevent oxidisation. Lastly check the label of any products to see if they mention strict low temperature, oxygen-free processing – essential to prevent oxidation (rancidity) in our fish oil. Brands that follow this process will include it on the bottle.
We believe in transparency, safety and quality above all else. There is little point in taking a fish oil product if it doesn’t contain what it says it does, is rancid or has dangerous levels of heavy metals present.
I hope this article will help you navigate the market when choosing a fish oil product. Personally, I formulated BePure Three because I hadn’t found anything to meet my own standards let alone what I would recommend to clients.
If you have any questions that aren’t covered in this article, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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