Fish oil is known to offer numerous health benefits, particularly for those who are at risk for heart disease. While eating fish is considered a much healthier alternative to eating red meat, it comes with some risks. Consuming too much fish can increase your risk of mercury exposure. This is why doctors generally recommend patients to take fish oil supplements. Are fish oil supplements really safe though? Do they pose the same risks as eating fish?
Fish Oil Supplements and Mercury
While there are many fish oil supplements on the market which are safe, others are not the best choice. Just like eating fish, there is a risk of mercury exposure. This risk only exists if the specific company does not remove mercury and other contaminants from fish oil supplements. Although you will be taking the supplement on a daily basis to take advantage of fish oil health benefits, the contaminants are generally only minimal.
The Worst Fish Oil Supplement Brands
It is important to note that while some brands do contain mercury and other contaminants, there are other brands which do not. The Environmental Defense Fund lists the following brands as the worst options for fish oil supplements because they do not adhere to the strictest standards for contaminants in supplements or they did not respond to repeated inquiries for data:
Which Fish Oil Supplements are Safe?
Anyone who takes fish oil supplements should visit the Environmental Defense Fund’s list of products. Products fall under three categories: best choice, incomplete or worst choice. The products which are considered best choice are from companies who have completed data that shows they adhere to the strictest standards for contaminants in fish oil supplements.
Products which fall into the incomplete category are ones in which the companies have not provided complete data about. These products may come from companies who offer other products that fall into the best choice category. The worst choice products, which are listed above, do not adhere to the strictest standards for contaminants or did not provide data.
Fish oil supplements are considered a much safer alternative to consuming too much fish. Since the level of contaminants is generally only minimal, you can safely take most brands of fish oil supplements without worrying too much. That said, it is ideal for anyone who takes fish oil supplements on a daily basis to choice a product from the Environmental Defense Fund’s list of best choices.
The Environmental Defense Fund, “Fish Oil Supplements: Is The Brand You’re Taking Safe?”