The International Fish Oil Standards Program: Ensuring Purity, Potency, and Freshness

The International Fish Oil Standards Program: Ensuring Purity, Potency, and Freshness

Posted on 21. Sep, 2016 by in Articles

Courtesy of Nutrasource Diagnostics Inc.

Omega-3-rich fish oil is one of the most widely researched supplements, and studies show benefits for heart health, brain health, vision, arthritis, and more. Since most Americans are deficient in omega-3 fats, there’s no denying that it’s one of the most important supplements an individual can take for overall wellness. And if you’ve browsed the fish oil section of your local natural products store lately, the variety of supplements is a reflection of this nutrient’s popularity. What differentiates one product from another? Quality.

Active Ingredients, Contaminants, and Stability

An easy way to determine the quality of a fish oil supplement is to look for a product that’s certified by the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) Program. IFOS is the only third-party testing and certification program exclusively for fish oil supplements. It is a voluntary program that showcases the purity, potency, and freshness of fish oils.

There are three major areas of concern regarding the quality of fish oil supplements: active ingredient content, contaminants, and stability. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are responsible for the health benefits associated with fish oil. It’s important for a consumer to know that a product contains the amount of active ingredient that’s stated on the label.

Environmental contaminants, including heavy metals, PCBs, and dioxins, bioaccumulate in the fatty tissues of fish, so oil derived from these tissues may contain excess concentrations of contaminants. Studies suggest that contaminants from marine sources can have negative effects on health that outweigh the beneficial effects of omega-3s. A quality fish oil product will state on its label that it has been tested to be free of contaminants.

Also known as shelf life, stability is the term used to describe how quickly and easily a product will deteriorate under normal storage conditions. If the product was not formulated adequately, not handled properly during manufacturing, or not stored in suitable conditions, this can negatively affect shelf life. Fish oil can quickly turn rancid if it was not formulated and handled properly.

IFOS Testing

IFOS tests fish oil for omega-3 concentration, contaminants, and freshness. The only way to tell if a product is truly IFOS certified is to look up its lot/batch-specific Consumer Report on the IFOS website, www.ifosprogram.com, and view the testing results.

Choosing the best quality fish oil is easy — just look for products bearing the IFOS certification mark at the store and then visit the IFOS website. Fish oil that has been IFOS certified is guaranteed to be of the highest safety, purity, and stability, ensuring the optimum health benefits of omega-3s for you and your family.

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