Monday, October 20, 2014

"Grade" of fish oil and validity of krill oil claims

Last Updated Sep 2009

Dear Dr. Sears,

Q: I purchased three of your books this afternoon and noticed that you recommend taking "pharmaceutical-grade" fish oil.  I called the maker of a 1200 mg fish oil I am currently taking and asked the representative about the grade of their fish oil.  She said that in the US, there is no "grade" of fish oil.  I thanked her, and hung up. This tells me one of three things:

a - she doesn't know what she' talking about;
b - she's correct and there is no grading of fish oil in the US;
c - therefore (if b is correct) you're from Canada!  (that's intended as a joke!)

What name brands of fish oil do you consider pharmaceutical grade, and where are they available?
Second question: What is your opinion of the recent claim that krill oil is exponentially superior in strength and effectiveness to fish oil.?

Dear Ray,

A:  It is correct that there are no specifications for a “pharmaceutical”-grade fish oil, however, there is a free Web site that analyzes commercial fish oils for concentration and purity.  The web site is  If a fish oil has a five-star rating, then you can consider it a grade of fish oil that would meet my recommendations for a pharmaceutical grade.  All lots of fish oil ever produced by Zone Labs have been posted on that Web site. 

It is impossible to remove toxins such as PCBs or dioxins from krill oil.  Furthermore, I have not seen any large-scale clinical studies with krill oil.


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