It’s becoming common knowledge that fish absorb mercury from streams and oceans when they feed. This mercury is in the methylmercury form, making it more absorbable and toxic. The methylmercury binds to your tissue proteins and causes toxic build-up in your body.
Unfortunately, there are many health risks associated with mercury toxicity in the body, so eating large quantities of fish that can contain high levels of mercury can be a big concern for our health. Plus, there aren’t many food processing, preparation or cooking techniques that can significantly reduce mercury levels.
People often talk about mercury exposure and poisoning happening suddenly, but what we don’t talk about often enough is how the slow build-up of mercury in our body can cause ‘unexplained’ symptoms that often go unnoticed, or are swept under the carpet as ‘random’, in the lead up to mercury poisoning...
These symptoms can include:
- Blurred vision
- Increased clumsiness
- Mental health issues
- Low thyroid
+ much more
Unfortunately, mercury and other toxicities are often found in fish oil supplements, which is why it is so important to know how to decipher the quality of your supplements.
Would you eat at a restaurant with a 1 or 2 star hygiene rating? No, hopefully not. So, you should hold your supplements with the same standards! Ratings and test results are essential parts of your decision making as a consumer but we, as a society, are less well versed at working out how to choose our supplements. Searching for the purest and most potent supplements in the market can be overwhelming and confusing, since every brand or marketing team will make it seem like their product is the bees knees.
How do you decipher what is marketing hype and what is a genuine claim? You need to look at the facts! I have previously written two whole posts on how to read the label of a multivitamin, so make sure you scroll back and find the ‘functional vs conventional supplements’ posts on my page!
When choosing your Omega-3 fish oil supplements you need to find out if it has been IFOS rated. IFOS stands for ‘International Fish Oil Standards.’ A 5* IFOS rating will tell you that it’s free from contaminants, of maximum purity and contains a high concentration of the valuable long chain omega-3 fatty acids.
IFOS is the only third-party testing and certification program for fish oils. They don’t manufacture any fish oil themselves, nor do they endorse other brands, making them completely objective and independent. IFOS test each batch and publish the results on their websites, for anyone to view.
When checking the purity of your product, you may come across other testing companies, such as ConsumerLab – these don’t publish their results and the public cannot view them.
Why Should We Trust IFOS?
IFOS offer full transparency and provide rigorous testing at stricter standards than what is set by the government. They have the highest standards for purity, potency and freshness, so you can be confident that you’re getting the real deal if it has been given the all clear for a 5* rating from IFOS.
Third party testing is essential when buying supplements, so that you can be sure that you’re actually taking what it says on the label. Believe it or not, many companies continue to make false claims about the purity and potency of their product, and you end up consuming something very different to the claims that they have made.
Without third-party testing you just have to take the marketing team’s word for it. How trusting are you with your health? Mine and my loved one’s health is too precious to take these risks, and so I ensure that any fish oil supplements that I take gets the IFOS stamp of approval.
How Do We Know a Product's IFOS Rating?
You can search for a brand on the IFOS website, so you can check whether the fish oil supplement that you’re planning to buy is certified and see what rating it has been given for purity, freshness, and strength.
If the brand is certified and has a rating to be proud of, they probably will publish these results on their website too!
At Synergised, we stock fully certified IFOS Omega-3 Capsules.
What Do IFOS Test For?
- Strength: IFOS test the amount of EPA and DHA, which is essential for how beneficial the product will be for your health. One serving of the Omega-3 Capsules that you can buy from Synergised contains 1460mg of Omega-3, which is 860mg of EPA and 440mg of DHA.
- Freshness: Have you ever taken a fish-oil supplement that tastes super fishy? You might take this as a good sign: it’s clearly fish oil, right? Well, actually, this is a sign that the fish oil has been oxidised and, as a result, gone bad! Not only does rancid fish oil taste terrible, but it can also be terrible for your health. Oxidation disrupts the chemical structure of the EPA and DHA, which can make them inflammatory free radicals. IFOS is the only program that tests fish oil supplements by batch to check that it is stable and fresh for consumption.
- Purity: IFOS tests the purity of the fish oil to check the level of contamination in the product. To get a 5* IFOS rating, the supplement needs to meet the label claims, have an oxidation level of less than 75% if CRN standard, have PCB levels at less than 50% of CRN standard and contain dioxin levels that are less than 50% of WHO Standard.
The Bottom Line
The truth is that if you choose a product that hasn’t been third-party tested, then you are making the decision to blindly trust the claims of the marketing and branding teams. I’d like to think that most companies could be trusted when it comes to what they put on the packaging but, unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
Omega-3 is an essential supplement that you should be taking daily (see my last two posts on this if you’re not sure why!), so make sure you’re supplementing, but make sure what you’re supplementing with is IFOS rated.
For all your foundational supplement needs, you can purchase or subscribe to the Daily Basic Kit, which gives you EVERYTHING your body needs to maintain health and wellness in ONE package. This include the Daily Essential Formula and our Omega-3 capsules - a recipe for health success!
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