Are Your Omega-3 Supplements Fake?
Your daily omega-3 supplement may be swimming with more than just fish oil. A new report from ConsumerLab.com, an independent tester of health and nutritional products, finds many omega-3 capsules don’t include all the nutrients they claim to, are loaded with extra fat, and are even contaminated with levels of carcinogens that exceed EPA standards.
“Our analysis found problems with roughly 31% of omega-3 supplements,” says Tod Cooperman, MD, president of ConsumerLab.com. Among the 35 products tested, four contained 20 to 30%less omega-3than the label indicated, and one included spoiled fish oil. Another product that claimed just 1 milligram of fat actually contained1,000 milligrams.
And it gets worse. “For the first time, we also found omega-3 products contaminated with PCBs,” says Dr. Cooperman. PCBs are man-made, carcinogenic compounds that are found in almost all fish products, and although every supplement tested contained some PCBs, two contained levels deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency.
But don’t toss your supplements out to sea just yet, says Dr. Cooperman. Past research has shown the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA offer a load of health benefits, such as protecting your ticker, keeping bones strong, and even shielding the brain from age-related wear. In other words, if you’re not getting enough omega-3s in your diet (as many of us aren’t; check out the best omega-3 food sources), then supplements still make sense—as long as they’re safe ones.
So which ones are legit? Based on his staff’s analysis, Dr. Cooperman recommends the omega-3 supplements offered by Swanson (.49 for 100 softgels, SwansonVitamins.com), and Vitacost (.43 for 120, Vitacost.com) as safe, low-cost options.
Video: See What Happens To Your Body When You Start Taking Fish Oil Everyday
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