If you would like your Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA mercury free, you have several options. Each option could be beneficial. But, some choices may be better than others. Here’s a look at your options.
Some manufacturers have started growing marine algae in bioreactors so that it can be harvested for the Docosahexaenoic acid it contains. Fish don’t make Docosahexaenoic acid in their own bodies. They get it from eating other fish and from eating certain kinds of marine algae. It’s something like seaweed.
The advantages of marine algae are that it is should not contain any toxins, since it is grown in a protected environment and, since it is not derived from fish, it is vegan-friendly. The disadvantages are cost and the lack of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), other omega-3 fatty acids that are important to overall cardiovascular health.
Molecular Distilled Fish Oil
The better fish oil supplement manufacturers use molecular distillation to reduce impurities and to concentrate the omega-3 content. Also known as vacuum distillation, it works by pressurizing liquid mixtures and does not require the use of heat. The oils reach their evaporation point long before any traces of heavy metals or other contaminants would. So, the impurities are left behind in the original vat.
The advantages of molecularly distilled fish oil are that it provides EPA and DHA mercury free. It’s more affordable than marine algae and it is readily available. The disadvantages are that it is not vegan friendly and it may not provide the anti-inflammatory benefits found in the natural triglycerides.
Natural Fish Oils or Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a fancy word for fats. The triglycerides in fish have been used for hundreds of years for their anti-inflammatory benefits, their contribution to digestive health and because of their nutritional benefits.
People that want their DHA mercury free may be afraid of natural triglycerides, because of the known problem with contamination in most parts of the world. However, there are still some parts of the world that are not polluted. In other words, it is still possible to find natural triglycerides that contain no detectable level of contaminants.
Recent laboratory studies indicate that the natural triglycerides have more anti-inflammatory activity than molecular distilled concentrated supplements. The reason for this extra anti-inflammatory activity is, as yet, unknown.
Since the natural triglycerides contain a lower concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, there’s a bit of a problem. Since everyone wants their DHA mercury free, there’s also a problem with laboratory evaluation.
A supplement company would need to find a source that contains no detectable contaminants and they would still need to have each batch tested to insure that no contamination has occurred. That could raise the cost of the supplement.