Fish Oil as a nutritional supplement.

Salmon oil as a nutritional supplement is a popular topic of research today. We have started to understand its' beneficial health effects. Whenever the word fish oil appears we tend to affiliate it with unpleasant and filthiness. Different types of research have been carried out where the different types of fish oil have been compared to one another. The difference in quality can be extremely profound. In many cases the fish oil, fatty acid supplements, that we give out pets can be downright harmful for their health. If the results of the researches are to be believed then read on.

Why do we provide our pets with fish oil?
We, who give out pets a fish oil supplement with every meal, do it mainly in order to maintain a good health, or as an alternative treatment for most skin diseases or as a supporting treatment to allergies and other chronic conditions, such as Leishmaniasis with dogs and leukaemia (FeLV) with cats. Fish oil is also used to build up an optimal immune system.

What is fish oil?
The oil is composed of glycerol and fatty acids. The fatty acids are either essential (highly important) or non essential. The essential fatty acids are popularly referred to as Omega 3, but also Omega 6, Omega 7 and Omega 9. The biologically active components in Omega 3 are EPA, DHA, DPA and AA. You can see what types of fish oil were used in the experiment in the diagram below. All fish oils tested were rich in essential fatty acids.

The BIG difference!
The tests showed that the big, scary, difference was in the fatty acids oxidation degree. Over the past few years we have started to understand the weight and importance that the oils that we and our pets eat as supplements must be of the highest quality. If the oils age and become surly they lose their beneficial characteristics and may even become harmful toward the body. All oils become rancid when they come in contact with oxygen. Rancid oils emit free radicals that react to the body's protein code (DNA), this can cause diseases such as cancer.

In order to measure the surliness/rancidness a something that in scientific terminology is referred to as TOTOX is used. This implies the total amount of toxins in the oil. The TOTOX rate lets us know of the quality of the product. TOTOX is calculated with quite a simple mathematical formula taken from laboratory analysis.

Fish oil sold in the US is regulated to have a maximal TOTOX value of 26 meq/kg (CRN). In Canada the amount is 19,5 meq/kg and 20 in Europe. These maximum values apply to fish oil sold for human consumption. Fish oil meant for pets does not yet have a regulated maximum value, which in my opinion is completely unexplainable. But these are on it's way.

On the diagram we can see that only 3 of the tested oils reach up to the standard for a healthy, good oil. Highest ranking were Salmopet with 6,3 meq/kg, the Norwegian owned Polarol with 10.5 and the Finnish owned Omega Balance. Polarol is meant for human consumption only and is therefore NOT recommended for your pets due to its high vitamin content.

In worst case our pets, and even ourselves, eat low quality oils that can make us ill. This is something to put in mind – all that tastes good isn't necessarily good for you.

Susanne Kamu
Clinica Veterinaria Pet Vet Kamu
C/. Maestra Aspiazu, Puebla Lucia, ES-29640 Fuengirola (Málaga) Spain.
Tel: (+34) 952 667 333,

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