A new report on the quality of omega-3 and -6 fatty acid supplements made from seed oils was recently released by ConsumerLab.com. Only 11 of 17 products selected for testing met quality criteria for freshness and labeling.
Among the 6 products that failed testing were 2 marketed for pets. Pet owners use omega-3 and-6 fatty acid products for skin and coat maintenance.
U.S. sales of supplements from plant oils were $253 million in 2009 according to Nutrition Business Journal.
ConsumerLab.com’s review focused on supplements claiming to contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) or gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
ALA is an essential omega-3 fatty acid which can be converted, to a limited extent, into EPA and DHA — the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Flaxseed oil is extremely rich in ALA and is the dominant source for supplements.
GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that may be useful in treating diabetic neuropathy and other diseases that involve pain and inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis. Evening primrose, borage, and black currant oils are popular sources of GLA. Many of the products contained additional fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid (LA), which is an essential fatty acid found in many vegetable oils and generally abundant in the diet.
Two products were found to be spoiled, as indicated by peroxide values above 10 meq/kg. One was a flaxseed oil supplement found to have a peroxide value of 68 meq/kg. The other was a pet product with flax and fish oil that had a peroxide value of 18 meq/kg and contained approximately 75% of its listed amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. A second pet product contained far more (573.5%) of its claimed amount of oleic acid — a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Two borage oil supplements contained somewhat less than their listed amounts of GLA or oleic acid. Some products did not properly label the type of oil from which they were made, a FDA requirement.
The new report provides test results for 26 products, including 17 selected by ConsumerLab.com and 9 that passed ConsumerLab.com’s Voluntary Certification Program. Also listed are 2 products similar to others that passed testing but sold under different brand names. The following products are included in the report:
The report is available at is available here. . The report also provides information about the use of these supplements.
ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online.