Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for good health. Because few people get the recommended daily allowance in their diet, it’s advisable to take omega 3. A pure omega 3 supplement is essential for this. But how do you recognise a good quality omega 3 fish oil? One indicator of quality is the TOTOX value.
TOTOX value of fish oil
TOTOX value stands for total oxidation value. The omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA from fish oil are highly sensitive to oxidation. This means that they are rapidly affected by contact with oxygen. Oxidised fatty acids are not beneficial to our health. For this reason, a good fish oil supplement has a low TOTOX value. The maximum TOTOX value is set at 26 by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA omega-3.
Fish oil from South America
Despite this, a lot of fish oil on the market is above this limit, and in some cases way above. For example, fish oil from South America usually has a TOTOX value between 200 and 400 when it arrives in Europe. Reasons for this are the production method, storage and excessively long shelf life. Fish caught in these countries is often stored on the fishing boats at ambient temperature and not chilled. Additionally, the extraction and refining of the oil does not take place in a protected environment but in the open air where it is exposed to sunlight and oxygen. Finally, it is often on the road for years, resulting in a deterioration of quality. The ‘freshest’ products are two years old when they are finally put into capsule form, and the least ‘fresh’ products are as much as six years old old. Only then will they be given an expiry date…
TOTOX value reduced by use of chemicals
But watch out! The TOTOX value may be the most widely-used quality measurement for omega 3 supplements, but it’s no guarantee. Some companies use chemical substances to lower the TOTOX value. Many companies add synthetic antioxidants to reduce the value, even though natural antioxidants would be by far the better choice.