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A close look at how materials, processing, and testing determine quality differences in sh oil supplements.



TYPES OF FISH Fish species used in Anabolic Laboratories sh oil products are clearly listed on the product label. The oils are derived from short life span sh which are low on the food chain, including anchovy, mackerel, and/or cod. These species do not have the higher amounts of contaminants that may be in sh livers of sh with longer life span and higher on the food chain such as shark, swordsh, tile sh and king mackerel. LONGER LIFE SPaN & hIGhER UP ThE FOOD chaIN = increased amounts of contaminants ShORT lIFE SPaN & lOW ON ThE FOOD chaIN = fewer contaminants DIStILLAtION PROCESSES Both processes are equally effective in removing toxins. StEAM DIStILLAtION A separation process that puries the sh oil from contaminants such as heavy metals, PCBs and dioxins. The sh oil is heated to between 180-280 C before steam is passed through the oil. As steam gradually heats the sh oil, the different components are boiled off at widely different temperatures, which are much lower with the steam than without, and are each collected in separate containers. The boiling points of methyl mercury, PCBs and dioxins are signicantly lower that EPA and DHA, allowing the toxins to evaporate (distill) at much lower temperatures than the essential fatty acids. This allows precise separation & fractioning off of all toxins from the desired, benecial omega-3 components. MOLECULAR (OR VACUUM) DIStILLAtION A tightly controlled concentration and purication technique. During this process the sh oil is heated to just 190 C in a dedicated, distillation column. A high vacuum is then applied and the vacuum signicantly decreases the boiling temperatures of all volatiles, especially methyl mercury, dioxins and furans, while the boiling temperatures of the EPA and DHA fatty acids are only lowered slightly. This is a very useful technique for separating ingredients with normally high boiling points so the quality of the sh oil extract remains intact. The difference between the two techniques is that molecular distillation also concentrates the EPA and DHA, allowing us to offer concentrated omega-3s, our Clinical Omega 3. This softgel exhibits much less shy reux and odor due to distillation away from shy amines during the omega-3 concentration. The end result of either process is a stable Ethyl Ester (EE) form, which is one of the most common forms of fatty acids found in nature. Humans have native enzymes designed specically for Ethyl Ester fats as we convert fatty acids from triglycerides to EE and back regularly. Ethyl Ester is the sh oil used in nearly all research studies, and all the health benets associated with sh oil supplementation are based on either sh consumption, or EE sh oils. There are over a dozen quality suppliers who perform appropriate purity testing, and comply with the monographs set by C.R.N., G.O.E.D., and the European Commission.


Anabolic Laboratories tests three lots of sh oil from each potential bulk sh oil supplier. Heavy metals testing is done for items such as mercury, cadmium & lead. Freshness/Stability testing is done, and PCB testing to insure compliance with California Proposition 65. HEAVY MEtAL TEStING In addition to supplier testing, as a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certied company, Anabolic Laboratories routinely tests our sh oil products for mercury, cadmium, and leadverifying material Certicate of Analysis results of suppliers against our laboratory results.


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MERcURY <0.1 mg/kg Per softgel ClINIcal OmEGa-3 Anabolic QC Dept. analysis KIDS ChEWaBlE OmEGa 3 Anabolic QC Dept. analysis COmPlETE OmEGa Anabolic QC Dept. analysis <0.08 ND ND *Limits are set by the voluntary monograph of the Council for Responsible Nutrition and Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) based on the World Health Organization and European Commission guidelines. ND = Not detected.
StABILItY & FRESHNESS Fats will quickly oxidize, so Vitamin E is a common ingredient in Fish oil supplements to prevent that. Vitamin E reduces oxidized fats, on the nished product we will test for Vitamin E. If Vitamin E is identied then the sh oil is still fresh, otherwise it would consume the Vitamin E. PCB LIMItS FOR ANABOLIC LABORAtORIES VS. FDA AND CALIFORNIA PROPOSItION 65: The Food and Drug Administrations tolerance level for PCBs in sh (2 ppm, listed in 21 CFR 109.30,) far exceeds Anabolic Laboratories current specication for PCBs in sh oil (not more than 0.09 mg/kg of sh oil). The State of California has not established a maximum allowable dose level (MADL) for PCBs related to reproductive toxicity. However, the California Ofce of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has established a no signicant risk level (NSRL) related to carcinogenic activity of 0.09 mcg/serving per day.

CaDmIUm <0.1 mg/kg Per softgel ND ND

LEaD <0.1 mg/kg Per softgel ND <0.04



2 ppm 0.09 mcg/serving per day NMT 0.09 ppm (0.00000009)


SOFt GEL QUALItY Our soft gels are sourced only from beef, not pork based, gelatin. FAttY ACID RAtIO Products vary signicantly in terms of amounts and ratios of EPA and DHA. In most products only about a third of the oil from sh is EPA and DHA, although concentrated products may contain twice or more of that amount. The species of sh used are the primary cause of this variation among products. Smaller sh tend to have EPA to DHA ratios around 1.5:1, Pacic salmon naturally contains more DHA than EPA (often several times more) and algal oil contains only DHA. CONCENtRAtION OF FAttY ACIDS The concentrations of EPA and DHA in pills and liquids were found to vary by as much as tenfold - from just 8% to as high as 79% of the liquid content. Labels can be misleading when the total amount of sh oil is listed, as that is not the EPA/DHA amount. With all the research on health benets starting at one gram or higher of EPA/ DHA, a popular choice is a 50% product which provides 1.2 grams of EPA/DHA in just 2 capsules. FLAVORING A common complaint with sh oil supplementation is a shy reux (commonly referred to as a sh burp). As one moves to products with higher EPA/DHA content, this is reduced. Then it can be further counteracted with citrus oil for those people who experience reux. Anabolic Laboratories Clinical Omega 3 contains concentrated orange oil which effectively masks shy reux.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

TRIGLYCERIDES ARE MORE NAtURAL Fish oil supplements are also available in a more expensive Triglyceride (TG) form. These are often marketed as natural which is misleading because these triglycerides are manufactured from omega-3 fats by additional chemical means after they are concentrated from the sh oil. Let us explain: triglycerides are the main component of animal fat it contains three (tri) fatty acids. Omega-3 fats only occupy the middle spot in nature. So even though triglycerides are natural, the TG forms found in concentrated sh oil supplements are not. To fabricate a TG form from omega-3 fatty acids, the same steps are followed as with all sh oil products. After the steam or molecular distillation, the Ethyl Ester (EE) form is produced. This EE is acidied by adding concentrated HCl, then glycerol is added to displace the Ethanol. These additional steps result in a TG form, with one or more (sometimes all three) omega-3 fatty acids bound. This alters omega-3 fatty acids into a form that is not naturally occurring. There is no study available that demonstrates a benet of triglyceride forms over ethyl ester forms. ENtERIC COAtING Some sh oils come in enteric-coated pills, designed to release the oils in the intestine rather than the stomach -- to help avoid shy aftertaste or sh burps. While oils are not absorbed in the stomach, they do get emulsied there -made into smaller dropletsso they can be more effectively acted on by pancreatic lipase (an enzyme) and absorbed in the small intestine. Fats are meant to interact in the stomach. If this doesnt happen, less may be absorbed. Enteric-coated pills may be ne, but if one notices more oily stools, this would indicate that the oils are not being well absorbed. Also be aware that many enteric coatings are made with acrylics (such as methacrylic acid copolymer) that dont break down - they are like a thin latex balloon covering the pill and is intended to pop open under specic conditions. Unfortunately, as we found in writing this review, at least one enteric coated product failed to pass testing by releasing too early, suggesting the product may not provide the intended benet of reducing shy breath. KRILL OIL This is an excellent antioxidant, but is not an effective omega-3 product. Krill oil contains astaxanthin and a novel avonoid, and has been studied for specialized needs. The wide array of benets associated with sh oil supplementation do not apply, as Krill oil products typically contain less than 200 mg of EPA/DHA per pill. Fish oil supplementation is used to increase the omega 3 fatty acid intake, and the health benets all start at 1 gram of EPA/DHA intake or more. Krill oil is an antioxidant product, and provides small amounts of EPA/DHA. To equal the EPA/DHA content of most omega-3 sh oil products one would need to consume 5-10 pills of Krill Oil perday.
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This document is published by Anabolic Laboratories, LLC 2012 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.