SO HOW LONG DOES FISH OIL LAST ONCE YOU OPEN IT?

THE WRONG ANSWER CAN CAUSE SERIOUS HARM TO YOUR PET!

By now, unless you’ve been living in a cave with no Wi-Fi, you should know that fish oil (aka essential omega-3 fatty acids) are super important for your pets.

According to research, it helps puppies and kittens with their physical development and also makes them a lot smarter! Adding fish oil will better their learning abilities, memory, eye function and psychomotor skills, just to name a few of the benefits.

For adult pets, essential omega-3s serve as an anti-inflammatory which can help with allergies, protect the heart, good for brain health, fights obesity & arthritis, supports a healthy immune system & kidney health and, above all, it can help smash cancer!

Notice the word “essential” always seems to go in front of the word “omega-3”. That’s because both your dog and cat’s body cannot not produce it on his or her own without some sort of supplementation. Hence the reason today’s fish oil market is booming.

However, there is giant elephant that lurks in the room when it comes time to purchasing a bottle of fish oil for your pet…Exactly how long does that bottle last once you break the seal?

The date on the side of the capsules or liquid oil bottle normally says it’s good for approximately 2 years.

BUT WAIT! THAT’S THE SHELF LIFE DATE BEFORE THE SEAL IS BROKEN!

The second you open the jar or bottle, the timer starts. Research shows you have anywhere from 30 to 90 days before the most essential oil in the world for pets can become the most dangerous.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are chemically unstable and highly prone to oxidize and degrade over time during storage. In general, it is estimated that fish oil supplements expire roughly 90 days after you open them.” – Livestrong.com

According to newer data, if not stored properly you’re lucky if you can get 30 days out of it before you run into serious problems.

“Light, heat and oxygen are the primary factors that influence degradation rate. Even stored in the dark, fish oil may oxidize unacceptably within 30 days of storage, according to a review published in the 2013 edition of the journal ‘BioMed Research International.’” – Hindawi.com

SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH THE CONSUMPTION OF RANCID OIL?

“Omega-3 fatty acids are highly vulnerable to oxidative damage. When fat particles oxidize, they break down into smaller compounds, like malondialdehyde (MDA), that are dangerous because they damage proteins, DNA, and other important cellular structures. In addition, animal studies show that oxidized lipids may cause organ damage, inflammation, carcinogenesis, and advanced atherosclerosis.” – BioMed Research International

As you can see, this is a serious issue if you’re not careful. But sometimes the oxidation situation is out of your hands.

A recent study conducted by the University of Auckland found the bulk of supplements tested and sold on the market in different parts of the world were considerably oxidized before purchase.

The study tested 36 different brands of fish oil capsules. Over half the products tested had oxidized to a level higher than the recommended limit (which had nothing to do with the best before date).

So you must be very careful when selecting the right company and manufacturer.

NEED SOME TIPS?

Here are a few tips from mercola.com and other experts to ensure you’re getting a high quality, non-rancid fish oil:

• The type of bottle used impacts the oil’s tendency to go rancid. Ideally, fish oil should be stored in glass or PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, as they offer the best protection against oxygen.

• Avoid fish oil in clear containers, because they will let through ultraviolet and fluorescent light that oxidizes the oil, turning it rancid.

• Buy smaller bottles. Do not buy anything you cannot finish within 90 days tops.

• Have the fish oils shipped overnight to your home, directly from the manufacturer to ensure freshness.

• Buy from a company with high product turnover to minimize the possibility of getting a product that’s been in storage for an extended period of time.

• Avoid direct sunlight and room temperature storage.

• Store the fish oil in your refrigerator.

• Avoid fish oil containers that use cheap plastic pumps as these pumps push air into the bottle of fish oil and speed the oxidation process. Otherwise, shop for airless pump technology.

• Some manufacturers use nitrogen-filled blister packs to prevent the supplements from coming in contact with oxygen or fortify their supplements with natural forms of vitamin E known as tocopherols to help prevent oxidation; check labels for gamma and delta tocopherols in addition to alpha tocoperhol.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST:

“Another primary concern that is not widely recognized is that many of the fish oils on the market are contaminated with relatively large amounts of metals and toxic chemicals. And not just heavy metals. In fact, toxins like mercury are typically screened for, at least in higher quality brands.” – mercola.com

So do some digging and figure out what your manufacturer is doing to avoid these metals!

IN MY OPINION

Nothing beats the real thing. Feeding your pets fresh, clean, whole cuts of marine life is ideal. When selecting a product from a shelf (again, unless you truly know your manufacturer), because fish oil is highly prone to oxidation, purchase a month’s supply at a time. To do a quick rancidity check, pop open a capsule or remove the lid from a bottle of fish oil and have a smell. You want to smell the ocean and not get a whiff of rotten smelly fish!

Do your homework, my fellow pet parents, and avoid giving your pets, cheap, poor quality rancid fish oil as I promise you it will do them more harm than good!

Rodney Habib

An educated, informed and well-researched community of pet owners can only put more pressure on the pet food industry to be better! When pet owners know better, they will only do better!