The answer to that question would depend on who you ask.
If you asked the typical manufacturer of vitamin supplements, using standard food grade material, the answer would be ?There is no such thing as pharmaceutical grade fish oil?. If you asked a practicing physician like me, I would tell you, ?Pharmaceutical grade fish all is the only type of fish oil I would ever put into my body?. So just what does the term ?pharmaceutical grade? mean?
First, it's important for you to understand that the FDA does not, at this moment, regulate vitamin supplements; therefore, any manufactured vitamin supplement is not evaluated by the FDA, so it?s not really a pharmaceutical.
Prescription drugs require very stringent purity and ingredient testing before they are considered safe by the regulatory bodies. In this country, technically speaking, food supplements do not require that high a degree of stringent purity testing.
However, a small band of manufacturers like me have dedicated ourselves to producing only the finest quality nutritional supplements. We therefore, use the term "pharmaceutical grade" to describe our products.
Simply put, what this means is, if the FDA were to make fish oil a prescription drug tomorrow, our product would pass muster. This is because we have stringent purity testing and allow no detectable levels of pollutants in our fish oil or any other of our products, for that matter.
This is a time-consuming and often expensive process, but yields the absolute best product money can buy. For the past couple of years, the debate has raged over pharmaceutical grade terminology. Many companies that do not apply the stringent high-grade procedures to guarantee the quality of their products are literally furious at the term ?pharmaceutical grade?. They would like to see it banished from use because it puts them at a serious disadvantage. It earmarks their product, especially fish oil, as substandard.
Lets take a look at a recent Consumer Reports article on the purity of fish oil. Several different brands of fish oil were tested in this particular study. The conclusion reached was that all fish oils have about the same amount of pollutant levels, 1 ppm of lead, for example. Therefore the consumer should go out and buy the cheapest brand of fish oil possible since there would be no difference between them other than price.
Well my friend, the devil is in the details. Let's take our product Dr. Dave's Best Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil as an example. Recent independent laboratory testing yielded no mercury, and no lead at any detectable level. What this translates into is a purity of parts per trillion rather than parts per million. Those three zeros make a big difference. This could be the difference between you ingesting mercury at detectable levels in as little as one year?s time, versus ingesting no mercury over a lifetime.
Why is this important?
Mercury is the most toxic metal that naturally occurs on planet Earth. It would take only a very small amount of mercury in a water supply to make it undrinkable by the Environmental Protection Agency standards. Mercury can cause brain damage that looks very much like Alzheimer's dementia. You may have heard the term ?mad as a hatter? from reading Alice in Wonderland, or simply as a clich . Many years ago, hat makers used dyes that contained mercury, so they often suffered from severe brain damage as a result. As our population continues to age and brain health becomes a critical issue not just from Alzheimer's disease, but from other forms of dementia, it should become apparent that we should all strive to keeps our brains as healthy and toxin free as possible. This is one way in which my pharmaceutical grade fish oil stands out.
Now let?s take a look at lead. Most people know that lead exposure is toxic. In a particular area where I grew up there were battery plants. In these battery plants constant lead testing of the employees was undertaken to prevent permanent damage. Lead toxicity can have many serious consequences, including nerve problems, mental problems, blood problems, and kidney failure.
Sadly, lead and mercury are not the only pollutants found in our water supplies and our fish. Byproducts of the petroleum industry, including polyvinyl chlorides and biphenyl compounds are also found throughout the world. Some manufactures of fish oil note that all their fish sources come from above the Arctic Circle. This is the case with our fish oil also; however, we still subject it to very stringent purification methods using a proprietary process called molecular distillation. We do this because we recognize that even fish caught above the Arctic Circle are exposed to pollution. Therefore, where you catch your fish really doesn't matter all that much. What matters the most is what you do with your fish oil after you get it. Please do not be misled by anyone claiming that they have found a pure source of fish that requires no processing.
Some of the physical health problems associated with these types of petroleum pollutants include breathing problems, kidney failure, weakness and fatigue.
Taken as a whole, it is very important, that whatever you put into your body maintains the highest purity standards you can get, because you don't want to load up any of your organ systems, especially your brain and your heart with toxic pollutants.
There is yet another pollutant and a problem, which as far as I know, we are the only manufacturer who addresses. This is the problem of radiation.
Again, depending on where you catch your fish, you will see high levels of pollutants, among them radiation. For example, Pacific caught salmon have a higher underlying level of pollutants, including radiation.
You may have heard the term, Pacific Rim of Fire. The Pacific Rim of Fire stretches from the coast of California, up to Alaska, all the way down through Japan, and some of the islands of the Far East. This term basically refers to volcanic activity in the area where the bowels of the earth churn. They release extra radiation. Sadly, radiation pollution is a problem in this area of the world. No one is sure why there is extra metallic pollutants in Pacific salmon. It is simply a fact of life. At this time therefore, we use only Atlantic caught salmon, herring and other such oily fish from above the Arctic Circle.
It is amazing that some of this pollution can actually come from sunken Soviet nuclear submarines. This is in addition to background radiation. The chemical that is tested for in radiation testing is cesium. We maintain an extremely low level of background radiation in all of our products. Again, as far as I know, no one else even bothers to test for.
Is this stringent testing, that makes our product superior to all the rest on the market. Now let's look at some human examples. Let's say you wanted your mother or father to experience the benefits of my pharmaceutical grade fish oil. You could rest assured that you would not be in any way, causing harm to the fragile brain of an elderly person. Studies have shown that fish oil may indeed improve memory behavior and performance in the demented patient. Now let's look at the opposite end of the spectrum, a pregnant mother or newborn baby. There are many studies that show improved hand eye coordination and increased fetal development before birth. Fewer diseases of childhood and adult especially allergic diseases and in some cases, even a higher IQ in children who are adequately supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. For the teenager, there may be some serious benefits to acne, attention deficit disorder and concentration levels from taking fish oil as well. In each case, we cannot use the term treatment, because the FDA will not allow it, however in my own clinical practice, this is exactly the term I use. I do essentially use fish oil as a medicine. Therefore, I insist on only the highest quality for my products. Once again, if you were to take this and make it a prescription drug tomorrow, it would pass all the stringent testing the FDA would subject to. For this reason, we proudly use the term pharmaceutical grade fish oil.
There is another thing you should know about Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil. Because of its absolute purity, the most common side effect, "Fish Burp" is a rare occurrence indeed.
Dr. Dave's Best Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil, physician used, physician tested, my best to you and your family.
Short note about the author
Dr. Dave Woynarowski, a certified anti-aging specialist, provides the latest cutting edge research in anti-aging inormation. He also researches and formulates unique nutritional supplements to meet the needs of anyone who refuses to grow old before their time. His website contains a wealth of free information and articles available to anyone interested in state of the art nutritional supplementation and strategies to reduce the aging process. Readers are encouraged to visit the site at www.drdavesbest.com.