Is Your Fish Oil “Green”? Consider Calamari

By and on April 13, 2013

When we take our nutritional supplements every day the last thing we think about is whether or not they are "green". Since fish oil supplements have become very mainstream with cardiologists recommending them to their patients many of us have taken our molecularly-distilled, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil from small fishes with hardly a thought to the environmental impact. Yet there are many who have been asking if fish oil could be part of a bigger environmental problem? Yes fish oil contains EPA and DHA with important health benefits but at what environmental cost?

According to the International Fish Meal and Fish Oil Organization most fish oil (over 80%) produced is used to feed fish in aquaculture. Fish oil is essentially used in high technology aquaculture, such as for salmon farming, as a substitute for fish meal. So yes, we are producing fish oil to feed fish in fish farms to make more fish for human consumption and more fish oil. Less than 10% of fish oil is produced for human consumption in the nutritional supplement industry. The largest producers of fish oil are Peru and Chile (accounting for 31% and 13% of the world production respectively). More than 80% of world production originates in 10 countries Peru, Chile, China, Thailand, USA, Denmark, Iceland, Japan and Spain. With the growing fish oil market for both aquaculture and human consumption, traceability of fish oil becomes an important issue.

It is undisputed that fish farming contributes to environmental concerns including extremely high sea lice populations; the increased use of pesticides in fish farm pens to control sea lice; antibiotic use to keep overcrowded fish alive; and escapes of fish species that are not indigenous to the area where they are farmed.

For example a fish escape from a west coast fish farm occurred near Campbell River with over 30,000 farmed salmon released in the latest fish escape now totaling over 120,000 fish escaping in the last 6 months. This fish farm escape could not have come at a more critical time with wild salmon returning to spawn in the regions where the farmed fish escaped.

We need omega-3 EPA and DHA to protect our heart, for healthy brain and eye development, prevention and treatment of skin diseases, arthritis, for immune function and more. But, it is also important to know where your fish oil is coming from. There are many reputable companies that produce fish oil for human consumption and do a great job.

Consider High DHA, Eco-Friendly Calamari

There are also other options. We have calamari oil as an excellent alternative to fish oil. Calamari oil comes from South American calamari (squid) that are sustainably harvested and an eco-friendly source of omega-3 fatty acids with more DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) than fish oil. DHA makes up 40 percent of the essential fats in your brain. Calamari oil is more stable than traditional fish oils, making it less prone to rancidity. Also, calamari oil does not cause the fishy aftertaste or unpleasant "repeating" that is common with fish oil supplements. DHA is superior for lowering high blood pressure and it is more potent at supporting circulation according to a study published in Hypertension in 1999. DHA is also the key to raising "good" HDL cholesterol. Also, DHA, not EPA, has been found to support your brain and is the best fatty acid for eye health. If you care about the environment calamari oil is your best choice as calamari comes from deep-water, spawns quickly, multiplies fast and does not have the same issues with heavy metals like mercury that fish do.

For vegetarians DHA is also found in a vegetarian source from algae. Many vegetarians, vegans, and raw foods dieters are also at risk of having insufficiencies of DHA unless they supplement with DHA. Look for excellent, clean sources of omega-3 DHA and EPA at your local health food store.

Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe, MS is an author of 11 books including A Smart Woman’s Guide to Weight Loss. She has degrees in nutrition and biochemistry. You can read Your 30 Day Heart Smart Solution FREE at www.hormonehelp.com under the book button.

About Charleen Wyman

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