Tags: fish oil | supplements | how | pills | made

Fish Oil Supplements: Just How Do They Make Omega-3 Fatty Acid Pills?

Image: Fish Oil Supplements: Just How Do They Make Omega-3 Fatty Acid Pills?
Omega-3 capsules. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 05:40 PM

Eating two to three servings of fish every week can be challenging for many people, both because of cost and accessibility. So many people get extra omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, by taking fish oil supplements.

With numerous potential benefits from taking fish oil, including increased cardiac health and decreased inflammation, the fish oil market was worth $1.69 billion in 2012, according to a study by Grandview Research.

So how exactly are those billions of fish oil supplements made? The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations broke the process into the basic categories of heating, pressing, and then separating the liquid into oil and water.

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In researching how fish oil is made, Michael Reid reported that raw fish enters the plant and is cooked by steam, and the mass is then pressed to separate the solids from the liquids. The solids continue on in the processing plant to become fish meal, which may be used in animal feed.

The liquid, which is a combination of oil and water, is processed to separate the two ingredients.

“The next stages of oil processing is called polishing,” he wrote. “This is where impurities are removed via hot water.”

Finally, Reid said, antioxidants are added to the oil.

One supplement company shared an abbreviated view of the process on YouTube:

Story continues below video.


There are numerous YouTube videos on making fish oil, but not for human consumption. Rather, it is used for trapping.

FAO said different fish yield different oils, and the final product is also affected by the condition of the fish used and even plankton and other issues in the waters from which it was drawn.

Oily fish, like salmon, sardines, tuna, and herring, are typically used to make supplements.

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Chris Kresser, a well-known natural health practitioner, said there are seven things consumers should consider when buying fish oil supplements: purity, freshness, potency, nutrients, bioavailability, sustainability, and cost.

Kresser said natural fish oils are better absorbed than purified fish oils, with evidence suggesting that krill oil may absorb better than fish oil. More research needs to be done, though.

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Eating two to three servings of fish every week can be challenging for many people, both because of cost and accessibility. So many people get extra omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, by taking fish oil supplements.
fish oil, supplements, how, pills, made
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2014-40-17
Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 05:40 PM
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