Study And Test Of Many Brands Of Omega 3 Supplements Sold At Drugstores Or Online Were Found To Be Rancid And Of No Health Benefits!
: Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, touted for their potential health benefits, have become a staple in the lives of many health-conscious individuals. These supplements, derived from various sources including algae and seafood, have gained popularity for their association with improved cardiovascular health, brain function, and more. However, a recent study conducted by researchers at the George Washington University-USA has raised concerns about the quality and freshness of these omega-3 supplements available in the market.
The study delved into the issue of rancidity in omega-3 supplements and its potential impact on consumer health. Rancidity in supplements is primarily measured by the oxidation level of the oil, and as oxidation increases, the nutritional benefits of the supplements decrease.
The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that play a crucial role in maintaining overall health. These fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and cognitive decline. Additionally, omega-3s are vital for brain development and function, making them a popular choice for individuals looking to support cognitive health.
One of the most common reasons people turn to omega-3 supplements is their potential to promote cardiovascular health. Higher levels of omega-3 have been linked to various benefits for multiple organs, including the heart and eyes. However, the effectiveness of these supplements hinges on their freshness and the absence of rancidity.
The Study's Findings
The research team at the George Washington University conducted a comprehensive six-year study that analyzed 72 of the most popular brands of omega-3 supplements available in the United States. Their analysis focused on measuring the oxidation levels in these supplements, following the recommended rancidity limits set by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED), a global trade group representing omega-3 manufacturers.
The results of the study were alarming. It was revealed that 45% of the tested supplements, both flavored and unflavored, tested positive for rancidity. Of these, 32% of flavored supplements and 13% of unflavored supplements showed signs of oxidation
Senior Author of the study, Dr Leigh A. Frame, associate professor of clinical research & leadership at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences told Supplement News
reporters from TMN, "Our study suggests many of these supplements are not fresh and thus may not provide a potential health benefits. The study findings also suggest consumers are not getting what they paid for."
Notably, flavored supplements presented a unique challenge as their added flavoring often masked the rancidity, making it difficult for consumers and researchers to determine the extent of oxidation and the overall quality of the product.
The Impact of Flavoring on Freshness
Flavoring in omega-3 supplements serves both as a selling point and a potential drawback. While it can make supplements more palatable and mask any fishy taste or smell, it also poses a risk of concealing the rancidity within the product.
Dr Jacob Hands, the lead author of the study, explained that if fish oil supplements are truly fresh, they should not have a fishy taste or odor. Unfortunately, flavoring compounds can make it challenging to discern the level of oxidation and product quality accurately.
Moreover, third-party testing organizations like ConsumerLab.com and U.S. Pharmacopeia, which assess the purity and quality of supplements, cannot guarantee freshness. The freshness of omega-3 supplements can be influenced by various factors, including storage conditions and the time it takes for the product to reach the consumer. As a result, consumers face uncertainty regarding the health benefits they are paying for when purchasing omega-3 supplements.
The Need for Consumer Caution
In light of these findings, both Dr Leigh A. Frame, the senior author of the study, and Dr Jacob Hands suggest that consumers exercise caution when considering flavored fish oil supplements. The uncertainty surrounding the impact of flavoring on freshness raises concerns about the potential health benefits of such products.
Consumers should be aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates supplements as foods rather than drugs. This regulatory approach means that buyers have no guarantee of receiving the health benefits they expect from omega-3 supplements. Therefore, it becomes essential for consumers to make informed choices and prioritize freshness when selecting omega-3 products.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements have long been considered a valuable addition to a healthy lifestyle, offering a range of potential benefits for cardiovascular health, brain function, and more. However, the recent study conducted by researchers at the George Washington University raises significant concerns about the freshness and quality of these supplements. The findings suggest that a substantial portion of omega-3 supplements available in the market may be rancid, potentially diminishing their health benefits.
The study underscores the importance of consumer awareness and caution when purchasing omega-3 supplements. Flavored supplements, while appealing due to their taste and odor-masking properties, may hide the presence of rancidity. With the FDA regulating supplements as foods rather than drugs, consumers must take an active role in researching and selecting high-quality products.
In conclusion, the omega-3 supplement market demands greater scrutiny to ensure that consumers receive the health benefits they seek. While omega-3 fatty acids remain valuable for health, the freshness and quality of the supplements are of paramount importance. As more research emerges and regulatory measures evolve, consumers can make informed choices that prioritize their well-being and maximize the potential benefits of omega-3 supplementation.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed Journal of Dietary Supplements.
Thailand Medical News would also like to add that readers should be aware of buying not just supplements but also herbal and phytochemical products from pharmacies and online as many of these products lack any bioactivity and offer no benefits as many are already oxidized or have been denatured during processing and many companies simply dry herbs and powder them and make them into capsules that have no benefits whatsoever and most phytochemicals only have shelf-lives of about 3 months or less! Some of these products can be carcinogenic as they might contain dried strains of fungus and fungal spores and often traces of pesticides and heavy metals can be found in them despite claims of being organic products! The worst are liquid forms of phytochemicals as these only have bioactivity that last only for a few hours or a few days!
Also avoid most supplement brands made in the Asia Pacific region by companies owned by ethnic Indians! There are the worse!
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