Transcript: Is Distilled Fish Oil Toxin-Free?
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
Fact or fiction: fish oil decreases inflammation. It better—that’s the whole reason people take it. But it’s not true. “No effect of fish oil supplementation on…inflammatory markers.” This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial showed no effect of a whopping dose of fish oil on markers of inflammation in the blood. If anything, there was a trend that all serum inflammatory markers tended to increase after fish oil.
Wait a second. The whole reason people are told to eat fish, told to take fish oil, is that the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, like DHA, are anti-inflammatory. So there must be something in the fish oil counteracting the good stuff and increasing inflammation. And it’s likely the industrial pollutants, such as PCBs and insecticides.
We now know that PCBs can induce the kind of inflammation that promotes obesity and heart disease. It’s the same reason polar bears are now suffering from chronic inflammation: the industrial contaminants in our oceans that build up in fat. And so, when we swallow capsules containing straight fish fat, it puts us at the same tenuous polar bear position at the top of the food chain.
So, what about distilled fish oil? You’ll see things like this: “molecularly distilled.” “Molecularly distilled for maximum purity.” Well, researchers put fish oil distillation to the test last year. Fact or fiction: fish oil is safe—but only if it’s distilled. Fiction. It’s not safe.
They found the same PCBs and insecticides even in supposedly “PBC-free” fish oil. And the exact same levels of other industrial pollutants. The bottom line: “This suggests that the commercial molecular distillation treatment used for removal of toxic contaminants is only effective for [some of] the…contaminants.” So, they conclude they have to balance the trade-off between risks and benefits—especially given how ineffective current fish oil treatments are at removing some of these contaminants.
That’s why I recommend the algae-based DHA—a win-win for humans, so you can get the benefits without any of the risk.
Because our oceans are so polluted, even when you buy distilled fish oil, you can’t get off the hook.
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