Your Trusted Brand for Over 35 Years

Life Extension Magazine

<< Back to October 2005

Omega fish oil

October 2005

Time trend investigation of PCBs, PBDEs, and organochlorine pesticides in selected n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid rich dietary fish oil and vegetable oil supplements; nutritional relevance for human essential n-3 fatty acid requirements.

In addition to being used in the food and animal feed industry, fish oils have also been used traditionally as dietary supplements. Due to the presence of long-chain n-3 fatty acids, fish oils have therapeutic benefits in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular, immunological, and arthritic diseases, as well as childhood deficiency diseases such as rickets, because of a high content of vitamin D. However, fish oils are also susceptible to contamination with lipophilic organic chemicals that are now ubiquitous contaminants of marine ecosystems. Many vegetable oils are sources of the shorter chain precursor forms of n-3 fatty acids, and in recent years the specialist dietary supplement market has expanded to include these oils in a variety of different formulations. This paper reports analytical results of selected contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, for a range of commercially available n-3 fatty acid rich fish and vegetable oil dietary supplements. Using principal component analysis, the values are compared with historic samples to elucidate time trends in contamination profiles. Levels of contaminants are discussed in relation to the nutritional benefits to the consumer of long- and short-chain forms of n-3 fatty acids.

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Mar 24;52(6):1780-8

Polychlorinated biphenyls, hexachlorobenzene, hexachlorocyclohexane isomers, and pesticide organochlorine residues in cod-liver oil dietary supplements.

Levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene, hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (alpha, beta, gamma), and chlorinated pesticides (DDTs) in cod-liver oil used as a dietary supplement were determined. Total PCB and DDT concentrations varied from 25 to 201 ng g(-1) lipid weight basis and from 25 to 133 ng g(-1) lipid weight basis, respectively. Hexachlorobenzene contributed very little to the overall contaminant burden of dietary supplement oils, whereas hexachlorocyclohexane isomers were below the instrumental detection limits in all samples. The daily intake of PCBs and DDTs derived by the consumption of cod-liver oil at manufacturer-recommended doses varied from 0.004 to 2.01 microg/day and from 0.004 to 1.24 microg/day, respectively. Relative to some dioxin-like PCB congeners (mono-ortho PCB 105, 118, and 156; non-ortho PCB 77, 126, and 169), the intakes calculated varied from less than 0.001 to 0.74 pg of toxic equivalency values (TEQ) per kg of body weight per day. These values, although below the range of 1 to 4 pg of TEQ per kg of body weight per day set by the World Health Organization, emphasize the need for strict and continuous monitoring of fish oil contamination to reduce the risks to human health.

J Food Prot. 2004 Aug;67(8):1787-91

Polychlorinated biphenyl congeners as markers of toxic equivalents of polychlorinated biphenyls, dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans in breast milk.

In breast milk, concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are higher than those of poly chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs), making PCB analyses less time-consuming and expensive. We searched for PCB “markers” of PCDD/DF concentrations, by studying associations between concentrations of PCB and PCDD/DFs (expressed as toxic equivalents, TEQs) in breast milk from 27 women (primiparas, 22-35 years). These women donated breast milk in 1996-1999 together with 183 other primiparas from Uppsala County, Sweden . Regression analyses showed that both dioxin-like and non-dioxin-like penta- to hepta-chlorinated PCBs could be used as markers of TEQ concentrations in this group of women, in some cases after age adjustment of the regressions. The strong positive association between concentrations of dioxin-like PCB/DD/DFs and non-dioxin-like PCBs will in future epidemiological studies make it difficult to separate Ah receptor-dependent effects from non-Ah receptor-dependent effects. With the use of regression equations and concentrations in breast milk samples collected in 1994, TEQ concentrations were estimated in the 1994 samples. Comparisons between estimated and measured concentrations indicated that associations between concentrations of marker substances and TEQs should be determined separately within each study population, in order to obtain reliable TEQ exposure assessments from PCB markers.

Environ Res. 2001 Jul;86(3):217-28

Global assessment of organic contaminants in farmed salmon.

The annual global production of farmed salmon has increased by a factor of 40 during the past two decades. Salmon from farms in northern Europe, North America, and Chile are now available widely year-round at relatively low prices. Salmon farms have been criticized for their ecological effects, but the potential human health risks of farmed salmon consumption have not been examined rigorously. Having analyzed over 2 metric tons of farmed and wild salmon from around the world for organochlorine contaminants, we show that concentrations of these contaminants are significantly higher in farmed salmon than in wild. European-raised salmon have significantly greater contaminant loads than those raised in North and South America, indicating the need for further investigation into the sources of contamination. Risk analysis indicates that consumption of farmed Atlantic salmon may pose health risks that detract from the beneficial effects of fish consumption.

Science. 2004 Jan 9;303(5655):226-9