How Bad Is Your Fish Oil? (And How to Find the Best)

How Bad Is Your Fish Oil? (And How to Find the Best)

It was a truly disheartening and tragic day when I found out my go-to, widely recommended fish oil brand (Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil) is apparently rancid. Rancid in the oil world is precisely defined as a colossal waste of money and an atrocity to your health. In god we trust, all else bring data, so here is the report if you care enough to read it (likely not if you’re a true Leveragist): Hook, Line & Stinker: The Truth About Cod Liver Oil.

Here’s a piece from the report:

“Lab tests indicate the Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil is rancid; putrid; low in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K; apparently diluted with a trans-fat containing vegetable oil — and not even from cod. We have reliable reports that the X-Factor Gold Butter Oil comes from Argentina, not the Great Plains, and it tests rancid as well. And contrary to Green Pasture’s advertising, Dr. Weston A. Price’s own words make it clear that these are not products he would ever have endorsed.”

If you’re in the health world at all, you’ve likely heard of Green Pasture. If not, who cares, that’s why you’re reading a watered down blog like this one. What happens when one of the most widely recommended and marketed fish oil brands turns out to (potentially) be less than it claims?  We learn, we adjust, and we only go with brands meeting the highest levels of certification.

I don’t have any allegiance/affiliation with any brand, but if you consume fish oil of any kind, with all it’s wonderful, science-backed health benefits, you owe it to yourself to verify that you’re getting a non-rancid/oxidized, mercury and toxin-free supplement. There are two ways to accomplish this.

Supplement Independent Analysis & Review Sites

The first, less robust way is to leverage sites like LabDoor to get a stack ranking of several brands, with their respective rankings on label accuracy, product purity, nutritional value, ingredient safety, and projected efficacy. These sites aren’t perfect, but LabDoor is the best I’ve found, and it doesn’t heart to cross-verify your purchases with this site. They go well beyond fish oil, so you may use them for the most popular forms of supplements, ranging from BCAAs, creatine, probiotics, and now even dark chocolate and green tea! Look at that, a supplement review site that doesn’t know the definition of supplement! Kidding…I love that they are expanding constantly into all popular health inputs.

Third Party Certifications

The gold standard for supplement quality assurance is to verify that they have the valid 3rd party supplement testing certifications. The gold standard of that gold standard is the NSF Certified Dietary Supplements. If you were hyper-diligent, you could use their database to check if the brand (field: manufacturer) you’re using is certified with NSF. Carlson is another popular fish oil that I’ve used and was dismayed to find it lacking here. Positive note: not all brands that aren’t certified are necessarily low quality, but all brands certified are reliably high quality – basically.

My Recommended Fish Oil

If you’ve tired yourself checking the review sites and certification databases before even commencing, you’re not alone, and there’s a final solution: find someone else who took the time to do so. Thanks to the steadfast diligence of Dr. Rhonda Patrick, I happen to know a brand that passes the NSF certification test: Nordic Naturals. She also happens to make me feel dumb listening to her, and I like those kinds of people.