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‘Pharmaceutical fish oil' processed too much

white sugar Fish is caught and kept on board the fishing boats on average for one to two weeks, usually in refrigerated areas. The fish is sorted there. Too big, too small, strange and inedible fishes are separated out. These are used for making fish oil. The edible fish are sold and the waste from these fish is often used to produce fish oil. The fish is now usually at least two to three weeks old. Pollution is stored in the fatty parts of the fish (PCB's, dioxins, methylmercury and heavy metals). Many organisations recommend eating fatty fish even during pregnancy. Given that poison is stored in fish fat, it is impossible today to sell fish oil without first purifying it. This strongly refined oil has today been given an expensive name 'pharmaceutical quality fish oil'. How is it produced?

Through melting: The fish and the waste from fish are first cooked slowly so that the fish oils rise to the surface, a process that is described as melting. That is the first sin because omega-3 rich fish oil does not take well to heat and oxidises. Three free fatty acids are produced that have to be removed.

Molecular distillation: This crude fish oil contains all the pollution of the sea such as PCB's, DDT's, mercury, other heavy metals, dioxins... and not only that, it tastes bad. It contains cholesterol and free fatty acids. This big problem means that the oil is not suitable for human consumption. So, the fish oil industry discovered 'molecular distillation'. A complicated process where molecules are split under high pressure which removes most of the pollution from the oil. But it also removes important micro-nutrients and even most of the cholesterol. But this still did not produce a pure oil and it still had a nasty taste.

Fractionating: The next process was 'fractionating' and 'removing odour' to produce the so-called 'pharmaceutical quality'. The next chemical process of 'fractional distillation' removes the saturated fats from the fish oil and, via an even more exaggerated and sophisticated 'molecular distillation', almost all the PCBs are also removed from the oil. Chemical interestification binds the molecules. The fish oil industry calls this 'pure pharmaceutical quality fish oil'.

I call it one of the most processed, refined oils in the world. An oil that should be avoided like the plague. Just like refined sugar, refined flour and other refined oils, we should avoid this so-called 'pure', but highly refined fish oil for the sake of our health. Food that is refined (which is what expensive fish oil is for sure), is lacking in micro-nutrients.