Fish oil supplements in New Zealand are highly oxidised and do not meet label content of n-3 PUFA

Sci Rep. 2015 Jan 21;5:7928. doi: 10.1038/srep07928.

Abstract

We evaluated the quality and content of fish oil supplements in New Zealand. All encapsulated fish oil supplements marketed in New Zealand were eligible for inclusion. Fatty acid content was measured by gas chromatography. Peroxide values (PV) and anisidine values (AV) were measured, and total oxidation values (Totox) calculated. Only 3 of 32 fish oil supplements contained quantities of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that were equal or higher than labelled content, with most products tested (69%) containing <67%. The vast majority of supplements exceeded recommended levels of oxidation markers. 83% products exceeded the recommended PV levels, 25% exceeded AV thresholds, and 50% exceeded recommended Totox levels. Only 8% met the international recommendations, not exceeding any of these indices. Almost all fish oil supplements available in the New Zealand market contain concentrations of EPA and DHA considerably lower than claimed by labels. Importantly, the majority of supplements tested exceeded the recommended indices of oxidative markers. Surprisingly, best-before date, cost, country of origin, and exclusivity were all poor markers of supplement quality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / analysis*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / chemistry
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / analysis*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / chemistry
  • Food Analysis*
  • Food Quality*
  • Humans
  • New Zealand
  • Oxidation-Reduction

Substances

  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid