Photo: Dos Winkel

Super Critical Fluid Extraction (SCFE)
of fish oil is pure but not healthy

Super Critical Fluid Extraction (SCFE)

The first phase of SCFE is the extraction phase, the crude fish oil is put under high pressure (200 to 600 bar) and at temperatures between 30 and 150° oxygen dioxide or an other chemical substance in a super critical state (not fluid, nor gas) is pressed through the cells of the fish oil until they burst open. The second stage involves the separation whereby the elements that are needed are separated out (e.g. DHA or EPA) and later it is possible to partially add things that have been lost (e.g.; vitamin E).

In their book ‘Understanding fats and oil better’ M. Murray and J. Beutler write the following about SCFE: ‘Badly informed buyers and manufacturers of supplements are lured by the low temperatures (speedy production time) during the SCFE process. In addition to mass-produced refined oil, SCFE also produces the poorest quality unfortunately. SCFE renders oil less stable, causes greater fat-peroxidation, changes the structure of fat profiles, reduces the mineral content and fractionates triglyceride formations. Moreover, SCFA oil contains no phospholipids (e.g. lecithine) and vitamin E. SCFA is more dangerous for polyunsaturated fats than using Hexaan (solvents) for extraction’ (102). This method produces a technically pure but refined product like white sugar and white bread. But this pure product is anything but healthy, it lacks its friends (the micro-nutrients that are attached to it in nature). Regardless of what manufacturers would have us believe; if you advocate pure nature you certainly cannot advocate pharmaceutical fish oil in.