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Nature’s Best Sources for Omega Fatty Acids

August 02, 2019 5 min read

With PCB's Now Showing Up in Fish Oils, Where Do We Turn for Omega's?

Best Sources for Omega Oils 

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry has filed this report on PCB contamination of fish oils:

Low levels of PCB’s (Polychlorinated biphenyl) can now be found throughout the world, “which means that all fish—whether fish found in oceans and rivers or fish oil supplements—contain at least trace amounts of PCBs.”

According to FishOilSafety.com, PCB’s have “been officially recognized for 20 years as causing... reproductive toxicity, and studies show they are endocrine disruptors (for example, changing some fetuses from male to female in animal studies). These gender-bending properties of PCBs affect both physical characteristics and behavior.”

When FishOilSafety set up a booth in 2011 at SupplySide East to share the dangerous PCB levels in major fish oil brands, the fish oil product manufacturers compelled the show host to boot FishOilSafety out of the show (one big manufacturer even threatened him physically). See What Secrets Don’t the Fish Oil Supplement Makers Want You to Know?

Fetuses, nursing infants, and those with compromised liver function are particularly susceptible to these toxins. Children born to women who worked with PCBs in factories showed decreased birth weight and a significant decrease in gestational age with increasing exposure to PCBs.

PCB exposure induces various adverse health effects in animals and humans. Environmental and occupational exposures to PCBs have been associated with liver, kidney, endocrine, and neurodevelopmental adverse effects.

PCB exposure was also reported to adversely affect enamel development in children in a dose-dependent manner... PCB exposures of vulnerable populations (pregnant women, fetuses, infants, and children) are of particular concern because of heightened sensitivity during this period of brain development.

PCB compounds are manmade industrial chemicals with a long track record of being some of the worst environmental pollutants known, posing some of the greatest threats to human health.

Congress banned PCB manufacture back in 1979, but PCBs are extremely persistent in the environment (they don’t break down), and they accumulate up the food chain. Toxins consumed by small bottom feeder fish are eaten by the larger fish, then fed to our livestock, end up on our dinner plate and in our health food supplements. 

The liver (fish liver being a source of Omega’s) is the main detoxifying organ of the body and can easily become overloaded with the vast number of pollutants in our environment today. Many pollutants are drawn to, or deliberately stored in, the fats and oils of the body.

Even after the fish oil industry attempts to remove PCB’s, dioxins and other pollutants using state-of-the-art molecular distillation or absorbent technology, some PCB’s, along with other chemical pollutants, remain in fish oils.

While the body of the fish itself will certainly contain higher amounts of PCB’s and other pollutants than the fish oils or fish liver oils, no refining technique today has proven to remove 100% of all pollutants from fish oils. 

Chemical and GMO pollutants among farmed fish products are particularly abundant due to increased contaminates in their feed, 

Some pollutants, like PCB’s and mercury can be tested for, and often are, but with over 80,000 chemicals known to be hazardous to human health today, with millions of pounds of these pollutants entering our environment every year, most of the chemicals in our food and supplements are not going to be recognized. (See Steven Schecter, N.D., author of "Fighting Radiation and Chemical Pollutants With Foods, Herbs and Vitamins")

So, where do we turn for the best sources of Omega Oils?

Seaweeds and algae are the two main sources where fish originally obtain their Omega oils from. By reaching for seaweeds and algae when you want your Omega oils you will also receive a phenomenal array of additional nutritional benefits that fish oils cannot provide.

The most popular and readily available plant versions of omega oils include Flax Seed & Chia Seed, although Omega oils are also present in several other sources like Kiwifruit, Perilla Seed, Moringa Seed, Bee Pollen, and Purslane. 

Green Algae

On the nutritional side, green algae like spirulina, chlorella, and wild blue-green contain more chlorophyll than any other foods. Dried micro algae are the richest source of proteins, beta-carotene, and nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), and a very rich source of GLA. GLA, an Omega 6 fatty acid, is key to the body's ability to make vital prostaglandins, substances that control body functions and help alleviate health problems such as arthritis and heart disease, according to one preliminary report (Journal of Applied Phycology, 1993, vol. 5).

The primary reason for consuming the popular Omega 3 fatty acid ALA (alpha linolenic acid) found in flax and chia seed is not to get ALA, but to ultimately obtain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), both of which are able to be formed (manufactured) in the body from ALA if they are not obtained directly from a marine source.

DHA, EPA, ALA and other fatty acids are essential for brain health along with numerous other benefits for the body including heart health, circulatory system, energy production, hormone balance, immune system strength, etc.

Red Marine Algae

Red marine algae (like gigartina) are naturally high in EPA. EPA is an important Omega 3 essential fatty acid not commonly found in land plants (other than purslane). EPA helps with the elevation of moods and is the stepping stone in the body’s conversion of the Omega 3 ALA (alpha linolenic acid) into the Omega 3 DHA. (Cole and Sheath, (Ed.),Biology of the Red Algae)

Red & Brown Seaweeds

Both red and brown seaweeds (like gigartina and laminaria) contain ARA (arachidonic acid, an Omega 6 fatty acid) which supports the brain, muscle development, liver function and neurological health.

Most seaweeds and algae are naturally high in DHA. DHA and ARA are the two most abundant Omega fatty acids found in the brain, together composing approximately 20% of the brain’s fatty acid content. (Crawford, MA; Sinclair, AJ (1971). Nutritional influences in the evolution of mammalian brain.)

The Discovery of Algae-based DHA & ARA

In the early 1980s, NASA searched for a plant-based food source that could generate both oxygen and nutrition on long-duration space flights. They discovered that marine algae were rich in minerals, phytonutrients, and fatty acids. This research led to the development of an algae-based, vegetable-like oil that contains two essential polyunsaturated fatty acids: DHA and ARA. ("A Healthy Dose of Innovation".)

The Range of Omega Oils Required for Optimal Health

  • 11 kinds of Omega 3's  (most prominent being ALA, EPA & DHA)

  • 10 kinds of Omega 6's  (most prominent being GLA & ARA)

  • 7 kinds of Omega 7's  (common source: Sea Buckthorn Oil)

  • 5 kinds of Omega 9's  (common sources: olive oil and mustard seed oils)

Best Sources for Omega 3’s, 6’s

A best source should include not just the Omega oils themselves, but a broad spectrum of other nutrients which work hand-in-hand with the fatty acids to deliver health to your body in numerous ways. Here are my top picks for this purpose (and yes, these are also preferred over krill oil due to their greater nutritional profiles):

  1. seaweeds and algae (Spirulina, Chlorella, Blue Green Algae, Laminaria, Gigartina & other seaweeds)

  2. Chia Seed

  3. Flax Seed

  4. Kiwifruit

  5. Perilla Seed

  6. Moringa Seed 

  7. Bee Pollen

  8. Purslane Leaf 

Which of our products contain the most omega oils?

Vital Cleanse & Nutrify (contains Earth & Sea Greens, Fiber Blend with Chia Seed, Herbal C, Deep Earthen Cleanse, & Friendly Flora)

Sea Vegetable Blend plus Moringa

Earth & Sea Greens (a spectrum sea vegetables, moringa, adaptogens, mushrooms and other herbs)

Thyroid Balance (mostly adaptogens & seaweeds including gigartina & laminaria)

Fiber Blend (contains chia seed, moringa, and spleen supportive herbs)

Many blessings of health & success.
Enjoy the simple gifts from Nature!

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Michael King
Michael King

Michael King is a Life Enrichment Consultant, a natural intuitive, a researcher of Nature's most powerful healing resources the world over, the author of "Detoxify, Nourish & Build - Three Essentials for Vibrant Health" and the Vital Health News Updates - a periodic newsletter documenting the most life-building natural resources on the planet. Michael is also an advocate of sustainable gardening, environmental responsibility, and an architect of ways to increase global food production.

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