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Functional Medicine • December 23, 2019 Can Your Fish Oil Pass the Taste Test Challenge?

The best advice I received when trying to decide on which fish oil to carry the label of Good Medicine was to taste the actual capsule oil.

 

At first, I thought the rep was joking and as with most fish oil, it was, well, quite fishy, so naturally I was hesitant. Maybe it was because I remember Cod Liver oil from my childhood (yeckkk), but with some trepidation I bit the end off of the capsule and squeezed the whole thing in my mouth. It was actually very pleasant and not fishy at all. This is because a fish taste and a fish smell tell you whether the product is oxidized (bad and may do more harm than good), whereas no smell and taste are a good indication that you will receive the benefit of the fish oil, as it is fresh and not oxidized. This same principle applies when I am on the West Coast and I get sushi there instead of Kansas. Fresh fish, great taste. Old fish, yeckkk!  

What is your fish oil telling you? I challenge you to first take the top off the container and just smell. If you think you have entered a cannery, then you can stop right there and know that the taste is going to be overwhelming. Next, if the smell is not making you want to swear off fish forever, then step 2 is to bite the end off of the capsule and swallow the fish oil. What do you think? If you taste fish, or it’s not pleasant, then your fish oil is probably oxidized from the manufacturing process. Most processes take days to get the fish oil extracted and by then it is now oxidized. 

Good Medicine fish oil is processed the same day it is caught and you can tell. Another side effect of rancid/oxidized oil is that you will probably taste it later when you burp it back up. One of my most popular products is De Fish Oil (and De Fish Oil Liquid) because it smells and tastes great and I have gotten very positive feedback on the lack of fish burps when people take this product. If your fish oil did not pass the test, then I would strongly recommend De Fish Oil because there is:  

  1. Almost no smell 
  2. A pleasant taste 
  3. Lack of fish burps  

It’s the trifecta that tells you that you are getting the health benefits from taking fish oil that you expect to.

Finally, what are the benefits of fish oil, anyway? The literature is legion in regard to health benefits, but I will list just a few major ones. It supports the immune system, and is essential in tamping down inflammation through pro-resolving mediators (basically downstream products of fish oil that shut down chronic inflammation). There is also great benefit in cognition and brain disorders as shown in this article: 

“In double-blind, randomized, controlled trials, DHA and EPA combinations have been shown to benefit attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia, and aggression. For the affective disorders, meta-analyses confirm benefits in major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder, with promising results in schizophrenia and initial benefit for borderline personality disorder. Accelerated cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) correlate with lowered tissue levels of DHA/EPA, and supplementation has improved cognitive function”

These are just a few of the benefits of fish oil without getting into heart benefits which is another paper in and of itself. Taking fish oil is important because there is a deficiency in the population at large. An NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) analysis demonstrated that a large percentage of the US adult population was not meeting recommendations for omega-3 fatty acid consumption.   

Taking this deficiency information into account, then it would seem to be a good idea to take fish oil for its myriad health benefits and if you’re going to take one, make sure it’s the best you can find.