Fish Oil Complex: What is it?

Written by OmegaXL on May 14, 2014

Fish oil comes from the tissue of fatty fish. Types of fatty fish include salmon, and mackerel, Lake trout, herring, and sardines. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body,and are thought to have many health benefits. Fish do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids, but instead accumulate them by consuming either microalgae or prey fish that have accumulated omega-3 fatty acids, together with a high quantity of antioxidants as iodide and selenium, from microalgae, where these antioxidants are able to protect the fragile polyunsaturated lipids from peroxidation (the oxidative degradation of lipids).

Fatty predatory fish like sharks, sword fish, tilefish, and tuna may be high in omega-3 fatty acids, but due to their position at the top of the food chain, these species can also accumulate toxic substances (For example: An anchovy eats zooplankton that have tiny amounts of mercury that the zooplankton has picked up from the water throughout the anchovy’s lifespan. A tuna eats many of these anchovies over its life, accumulating the mercury in each of those anchovies into its body. If the mercury stunts the growth of the anchovies, that tuna is required to eat more little fish to stay alive. Because there are more little fish being eaten, the mercury content is magnified). Fish oil is used as a component in aquaculture feed. More than 50 percent of the world’s fish oil used in aquaculture feed is fed to farmed salmon.