What You Need to Know About "Pharmaceutical Grade" Fish Oil

If you read up on fish oil supplements for omega-3 essential fatty acids, many writers will advise that you should only take molecularly distilled, "pharmaceutical grade" fish oil. While true "pharmaceutical grade" fish oil is a very recent development, the real quality you need to look for is molecular distillation.

Fish oil that is called "pharmaceutical grade" and really isn't. The controversy over the term "pharmaceutical grade" fish oil began when the American weight loss author and fatty acid chemist Dr. Barry Sears began calling his products "pharmaceutical grade," and charged about six times as much for them as a similar product would cost in a discount store. Makers of other high-quality products objected that the US Pharmacopoeia had not defined a pharmaceutical standard for fish oil, and they were right. It hadn't.

Fish oil that isn't called "fish oil" but is really pharmaceutical grade. In the meantime, however, the US FDA approved an "ethyl ester" form of fish oil called Lovaza - that sells for $240 a bottle! There is no doubt that this is a "pharmaceutical grade" fish oil, although there is plenty of reason to doubt that it's the best supplement for you unless you happen specifically to have problem with very high triglyceride levels. Here's how to straighten out all the conflicting claims.

Lovaza's ethyl esters of essential fatty acids are made through a chemical process. Oxidants are added to fish oil and then removed by low-temperature distillation. This is in fact a kind of molecular distillation, but it's a process designed to remove added chemicals, not the chemicals that might have been picked up by the fish while they were swimming in the ocean.

What "molecularly distilled" really means. Other "pharmaceutical grade" fish oils aren't really pharmaceutical grade. They are, however, molecularly distilled. This means the oil is steamed out of the fish, and then sent through a second, low-temperature process to separate heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls out of the product.

There are many mass-marketed brands of fish oil that skip this decontamination step. You shouldn't buy these products. But there are better and worse ways to do molecular distillation.

Cheap molecular distillation. The cheaper way to do a molecular distillation of fish oil is to mix it with a solvent called hexane. The hexane binds to the impurities, and then the mixture is heated to about 110° F (44° C) to evaporate the hexane.

The fact is, not a lot of hexane stays in the fish oil. But the little bit that does creates an entirely new toxin!

Effective molecular distillation. Some companies like Xtend Life use a molecular distillation process that is hexane-free. Checked by not just one but two test labs, the Xtend life molecular distillation process treats oil from New Zealand whiting, also known as hoki, and then adds it to cleaned-up tuna oil from cold waters off the more pristine coasts of South America.

The result isn't a "pharmaceutical grade" fish oil. But since the real pharmaceutical grade fish oil sells for $240 a bottle and requires a doctor's prescription, unless you have a problem with extremely high triglyceride levels, you don't want it!

The quality you are looking for. What you want is a very high-quality, molecularly distilled fish oil that packs a lot of DHA and EPA into every capsule. You want a fish oil that doesn't require you take a handful of capsules every day and that never causes fish breath or fishy burps. You want molecularly distilled fish oil that uses a natural preservative, rosemary oil, that has its own anti-inflammatory benefits. And you want a fish oil that also contains the most active form of vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate.

Xtend Life products offer the best of molecular distillation with the best of product formulation for the "X factor" that fights inflammation even better than you expect. Try Xtend Life today. They are so sure you will benefit from their products that every product comes with a money-back guarantee.

Related Articles