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Concerned about fish oil oxidation? We've got you covered.

Posted January 20, 2016

If you saw the recent Frontline TV episode on dietary supplements, you might be concerned about fish oil rancidity and spoilage.  Don’t worry – we’re here to clear things up!

As explained on the show, fish oil is prone to oxidation because it is made up mainly of fats.  When exposed to the oxygen in the air, the fat molecules in the oil start to break down.  This can lead to an unpleasant “fishy” smell and possibly negative health effects.

Fish oil oxidation | www.ifosprogram.com

Many fish oil companies take active steps to make sure their oil remains fresh and stable with a sufficient shelf-life.  The problem is that not all of them have the same systems and technologies in place to guarantee fish oil freshness, even though many jurisdictions around the world require them to (Canada’s regulation and pre-market approval of natural health products is one example).

The only way to make sure the fish oil that makes its way from the ocean through to manufacturing and finally into your bottle is to test the final fish oil product before it makes its way to the shelf.  One way companies can verify that their fish oil will not become spoiled before its expiry date is to test it against the IFOS standards for peroxide, anisidine and total oxidation.  Measuring these factors tells scientists if a product has begun to break down and whether it is safe to be consumed or not.  Learn more about peroxide, anisidine and total oxidation testing here.

Want to check if your fish oil is up to the highest standards for shelf life and stability?  Explore the Consumer Reports page now to find your brand.


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