Problems with Fish Oil for Omega Fatty Acids

A friend emailed me today with a link to a video about possible PCB contamination in fish oil supplements. People take fish oil supplements for the omega fatty acids that fish oil contains. The problem is that fish oil can also contain everything else that the fish ate during its lifetime, including PCBs and mercury.

The video is from a news story on Good Morning America a year ago.

PCB stands for polychlorinated biphenyls and were used extensively in industry until they were banned in the US in 1976. They were banned because studies showed they potentially caused cancer.  PCBs don’t exist naturally. They are entirely man-made and they are still a problem today because they are very stable compounds, meaning that they don’t break down.

Since dumping industrial waste into rivers and streams was a common practice, fish are an excellent source for your recommended daily allowance of PCBs, just as they are for mercury. Fortunately, fish are not the only source for those essential omega fatty acids. They also can be received from the oil in plants, like flaxseed oil for example.

I get my omega fatty acids from Nikken’s Omega Greens + DHA. It is certified vegan so you know that none of its omega fatty acid content came from fish.

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