Study under review: Australian and New Zealand Fish Oil Products in 2016 Meet Label Omega-3 Claims and Are Not Oxidized.
In 2015, a research group published a study examining the quality of fish oil supplements sold in New Zealand. We reviewed this study way back in Study Deep Dives #5’s Fish Oil or Snake Oil. The results were startling. Out of 32 fish oil products tested, 90% tested below the stated label claims for omega-3 content and two-thirds contained less than 70% of listed omega-3 amounts. More concerning, over 50% were considered rancid according to their TOTOX values, a measure of oil oxidation.
Fish oil oxidation and inaccurate dosage labeling can be a big issue for consumers. If the amount of DHA+EPA in a fish oil supplement is considerably lower or higher than what the label claims, you could end up over- or underdosing. With regard to oxidation, there is little research in humans on the effects of consuming poor quality fish oil. This makes it hard to say if they are safe for consumption or what safe levels of consumption may be.
As could be expected from such a startling negative finding about one of the world’s most beloved supplements, media outlets howled with headlines about consumers being misled about their purchases of fish oil supplements. However, the study was not without controversy. Several experts from authoritative groups on lipids and omega-3 fatty acids claimed that the 2015 paper had several flaws, such as not using an accredited laboratory or industry-standard testing protocols. In the study under review, some of these same researchers attempted to replicate the 2015 study with a new batch of fish oil supplements common to Australia and New Zealand.
A 2015 study on fish oil quality on New Zealand fish oil supplements showed that most did not contain the amounts omega-3 claimed on the label and were heavily oxidized. Another research group claimed that the 2015 study used improper testing methodology. The study under review is an attempted replication of the 2015 study investigating label claims and rancidity of a new batch of fish oil products from Australia and New Zealand.
Other Articles in Issue #36 (October 2017)
Interview: Kelsey Kinney, MS, RD
Registered dietitian, blogger, and podcaster Kelsey Kinney shares her wealth of knowledge about how gut bacteria can impact digestive health, and discusses how the concept of functional medicine plays a role in her work.
Interview: Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS
Have questions about load’s effect on hypertrophy, supplements with the strongest evidence base, and effective weight loss strategies? Researcher and renowned body composition expert Brad Schoenfeld has answers.
Lifting the weight of anxiety
Aerobic exercise has been shown to be moderately effective for reducing anxiety. Does resistance training have similar benefits?
Blood sugar and spice
Cinnamon’s been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. Research from the past few decades suggests it may also be useful for controlling blood sugar. But is it?
Can dieting actually suppress food craving?
It makes sense that the body would signal the brain to crave certain nutrients during dieting, since overall nutrient intake is cut. The truth may be a little more complicated.
Be the tortoise or the hare: it doesn’t matter for fat loss
Interval training and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can affect the body in different ways. But do these differences extend to fat loss?
Antioxidants for the eyes: can they prevent or delay age-related macular degeneration?
AMD is a major cause of vision loss, and may be tied to the high amount of oxidative stress the eyes undergo. Some antioxidants could help delay its progression.