Don’t take your regular fish oil supplement until you read this

Sunday 02 March, 2014 


From the mists of time we have all been urged to take cod liver oil.

As a child I remember the daily ritual of trying to dodge past my mum as she stood at the ready with a teaspoon of vile-tasting product.

In our house, like many others I suspect, this stuff was reputed to cure colds, fight infections and probably even stop a speeding bullet if needed.

Yellow and viscous this ‘tonic’ could be bought from chemist's shops across the land, but was reputed to have been first used by fishing communities in Scotland and Scandinavia many centuries previously.

Here, they extracted raw oil from fish livers which were fermented with sea water in barrels for a year and used it to protect them from the cold.

Which was all well and good in those days...

...but the modern era does something much nastier to get the oil – and when you find out I don’t think you’ll ever take it again.

Discover a better, natural and safer way to get the benefits of fish oil - click here

There’s something fishy going on

Pure and natural fish oil is rich in valuable omega 3 fatty acids (known as EPA and DHA) plus vitamins A & D.

Because of this it undoubtedly offers huge health benefits such as:

- protection of joints. Research has shown that both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis sufferers can get major benefits from regularly taking fish oil as it helps protect the cartilage which lines and protects the joint surfaces.

- blood flow and pressure. Once again many scientific studies have shown that increased levels of dietary EPA & DHA improve the function of blood vessels and reduce strain on the heart by preventing the abnormal rhythms.

- improving the brain function. Brain cells have a fatty membrane, which acts as insulation while they transmit and receive electrical impulses. EPA & DHA in the diet can alter the way the brain functions, reducing the symptoms of severe manic-depression, and reducing aggression under stress.

- skin & visual function. The high levels of vitamin A help keep skin healthy and also produce the eye pigments which promote good low light vision.

So, much of what our mums (and nans before them) believed about these important supplements are true, and they were probably right to make you take your medicine every day.

Back then the oil was made much as it always had been – by safe, low tech and artisan methods.

But it isn’t now.

First, where a century ago the cod's liver was separated out, the oil now comes from boiling up what is left of the entire carcass, after the expensive meat has been removed.

The oils and fluids are strained off and the solids go to make fish meal for animal feed.

These blended ‘fish juices’ then undergo a series of processes that, frankly, should make them unsuitable for human consumption – but guess what?..

...they actually end up in nice glass bottles on the shelves of health food stores, supermarkets and chemists – and we buy them being none the wiser.

Do you want to avoid the hidden risks of commercial fish oil?

The horror of the five stage fish oil process

I began researching how modern cod liver oil was produced and the first resource I found detailed a frightening process.

The details were so upsetting that I immediately assumed it was just a scare story site and went in search of other, more reliable sources.

Trouble was each and every one of these told more or less the same story. Even some of the promotional material produced by the large fish oil producers said the same, although they did play down some of the elements!

Stage 1: Molecular or alkali distillation. This is the rough processing of the raw oil where the majority of the heavy metal toxins found in these predator species of fish are removed – also removes much of the free fatty acids.

Stage 2: Bleaching with a settling agent. The oil has a natural yellow taint which varies by species and time of year, so a bleaching agent is used to homogenise the colour and finalise the removal of dioxins and other toxins – also removes some natural anti-oxidants.

Stage 3: Cold press filtering. Here a series of chemical filters are used to remove unwanted saturated fats. The oil is then heated to sterilise it – also damages some of the DHA & EPA molecules and reduces the available vitamin D.

Stage 4: Deodorisation. You see this oil smells like fish, a quite potent rotten version of the local docks to be accurate and the manufacturers realise that this isn’t good for sales so they treat it to remove the pong. Trouble is this also removes the last of the vitamin D and all of the vitamin A, but has the benefit of denaturing the toxic PCBs and pesticides found in the fish.

Stage 5: Reloading the vitamins. In order to meet the legal requirements for fish oil the processors add back large quantities of vitamins D, D3 and A – which seems ironic.

See what I mean about this reading like a horror story – but did you spot the number of times that they have to try to clean out the various toxins, heavy metals and poisons which are concentrated in the oil?

This is the truly scary bit.

Because many of the fish species used to make commercial oils are of the higher orders they concentrate the toxins of their prey species... when their body fluids are further concentrated these nasties become significant.

I have begun to regard the cod and haddock in my local chippie with suspicion!

Of course, there is a way to avoid all of this.

Eat the fish that whales do – the microscopic organisms that make up krill.

At this level there are no toxins, the stocks are freely available without needing to dredge the sea bottom for the last few, and the oil takes very little processing yet is packed with EPA, DHA and a whole plethora of vitamins and minerals.

Here’s the final thing to check on.

Krill Oils are not all the same...

...much like the vitamin story last week you have to be certain that your version is up to scratch.

The formulation for healthy brain function has to have 250mg of DHA in a daily dose, and that for joint health 300mg plus added vitamin C as well.

There are some very expensive products out there that just don’t measure up so if you want to be sure try these;

For brain, heart and eyes formulation – click here

For healthy joints with added vitamin C – click here

Seek out healthy, sustainable and pure krill oil for all of the benefits and none of the risks.

Yours, as always

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