This is one reason why I don’t recommend that people just pick up supplements off the shelf, especially just because they are on sale. There are a few reputable companies that I have researched and feel very comfortable recommending to patients, including Metagenics, Standard Process, Apex Energetics, Pure Encapsulations and Designs For Health.  I use a variety of supplements because depending on what you need, some companies have better quality or formulas. Some I stock, others you can order direct from them, or I can special order.  Currently my favorite for the fish oil (omega 3) is Metagenics.

But one key feature about these companies versus all of the ones named in the suit is they are ‘health provider only’ which means typically they have a higher level of scrutiny by independent labs.  The health benefits of high quality fish oil are massive and have been highlighted on this blog. But a rancid oil or a contaminated oil will do more harm than good, which is why it’s important that the supplement be stored and shipped properly. At home, I keep my fish oils either in the freezer (for capsules) or fridge (for liquid) because I don’t want to take any chances.

Press release below:

U.S. fish oil makers, drugstores, sued over supplements

Wed Mar 3, 2010 11:46am EST

By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO, March 2 (Reuters) – A group including a California nonprofit organization is suing fish oil manufacturers and pharmacies that sell the popular supplements over their purported toxicity.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court, claims that the makers and sellers of certain supplements found to contain high levels of PCB compounds — man-made industrial chemicals — have failed to alert consumers as required under California’s right-to-know law.

The Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation, one of three named plaintiffs, tested 10 fish oil supplements out of more than 100 on the market. The other plaintiffs in the case are New Jersey residents.

Defendants include the world’s largest producer of omega-3 fish oil, Houston-based Omega Protein (OME.N), as well as drug stores Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N) and CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N).

“The people buying these fish oil supplements are not being told the PCBs are there,” said plaintiff’s attorney David Roe.

People consume fish oil supplements for the health benefits obtained from omega-3 fatty acids, but there are currently no standards for PCB contamination in fish oil in the United States, according to Roe.

Also named as defendants are General Nutrition Corp, a subsidiary of GNC Acquisition Holdings Corp, Now Health Group Inc, Pharmavite LLC, the maker of the NatureMade brand of supplements, Solgar Inc and TwinLab Corp. (Reporting by Alexandria Sage, editing by Maureen Bavdek)