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What is Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil?

by Vin Kutty, MS on May 5, 2010

Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil. What does that really mean?

First, here is what Pharmaceutical grade fish oil is NOT:

  • It’s not an official FDA term
  • It’s not a medical term

The term ‘pharmaceutical grade’ has become an unofficial measure of Omega-3 content.

Regular consumers have started using the word ‘pharmaceutical grade fish oil’.  But it’s a phrase that has been used by the folks in the fish oil industry for a long time.
pharmaceutical grade fish oil

It’s not the bread-n-butter fish oil sold at drug stores

This oil most people have been buying for a long time, the ‘bread-n-butter’ grade oil is called ‘18/12 oil’.  Eighteen-twelve.

Most of the fish oil supplements are still 18/12 oils.  It is a cheap commodity.   It’s considered ‘entry level’ fish oil.  In car terms, think Ford Escort.  The quality of this oil can vary from excellent to scary.

What does ‘18/12’ mean?

Fish oil has two main types of Omega-3 fatty acids.

The two main Omega-3s in fish oil are EPA and DHA.   They stand for Eicosapentaenoic acid and Docosahexaenoic acid respectively.   In 18/12 oils, there is approximately 18% EPA and 12% DHA.  Together, there is a total of 30% Omega-3.   The other 70% is mixture of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats – stuff your body does not need more of.

So if you buy a brand that says ‘1000 mg Fish Oil’ on the label, chances are that it is an 18/12 oil.  So 30% of the 1000 mg is Omega-3.  That’s 300 mg. 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA.

Amount of Omega-3 in One Softgel

Larger View of Chart
Pharmaceutical grade fish oil amount of Omega-3 in one pill

For many years, almost all oils sold were 18/12 oils.

Then, roughly a decade or so ago, a couple of fish oil producers began making slightly more concentrated oil.  It had 30% EPA and 20% DHA.  They contained 50% Omega-3.  As you would expect, we called it ‘30/20 oil’.  This required a lot more work and purification.  It was also a lot more expensive than the old 18/12 oil.

Since this new oil was much stronger, scientists had begun using 30/20 oil in human clinical trials.  To justify charging a higher premium, clever fish oil marketers coined the term pharmaceutical grade fish oil.

That was 10 years ago.

30/20 oil is no longer considered very strong and 30/20 oil is no longer considered ‘pharmaceutical grade’.

Why?  Because there are much stronger oils available.

There is the 40/20 oil.  And the 36/24 oil.   Both contain 60% Omega-3.   Some marketers call these oils pharmaceutical grade.

We don’t agree.  And most industry experts don’t consider 60% Omega-3 very strong.

As of this writing, there are ultra-pure fish oils with 80 to 90% purity This is the grade of oil used in the prescription fish oil, Lovaza.  OmegaVia contains oil of this purity.

Pharmaceutical grade fish oil should be similar in potency and purity as prescription fish oil, Lovaza.

Pharmaceutical grade fish oil have similar Omega-3 content as Lovaza

Now that Lovaza has given us a pharmaceutical ruler to measure Omega-3 content by, we have an unofficial definition for what pharmaceutical grade fish oil should be.

Features and benefits
of pharmaceutical grade fish oil

  • 80 to 90% Omega-3
  • Only 10 to 20% non-omega-3 oils (as opposed to 70% in 18/12 oils)
  • Easy to get high doses of Omega-3, like the dosages used in clinical studies
  • Feel the benefits of fish oil with fewer pills
  • Fewer pills to swallow
  • Repeated molecular distillation required to get its high purity removes virtually all toxins and heavy metals like mercury
  • Virtually no environmental toxins
  • Ultra-purity reduces fishy odor

When you buy a pharmaceutical grade fish oil, you are not getting the old fish oil.

You are getting a pharmaceutically-active molecule.

Lovaza is a registered trademark of GlaxoSmithKline.

Author Vin Kutty writes about pharmaceutical grade fish oil About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience.

Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil Supplements

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

discus fish May 17, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I love the way you write. You have great style. I just came across your site on someone else’s blog. I’ll come back later after cleaning the fish aquarium


Annabelle Windemere May 31, 2010 at 2:42 am

Hey…thanks for that. Fantastic idea. I’ll be checking back soon for more news. Great!


Elwood May 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

thanks for the clear description of what pharmaceutical grade fish oil. Unfortunately some people still try to sell their fish oil as pharmaceutical grade although there is no official or approved such term.


Omegavia May 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for the comment.

You’re right, there is no official definition for ‘pharmaceutical grade.’ And until we had a prescription fish oil (Lovaza), there was no guideline or rule to go by. But now we do! Lovaza is 85% Omega-3. And Lovaza is pharmaceutical. So that’s the guideline that all over-the-counter fish oil supplements should go by. If it is 85% Omega-3 or purer, then it could be called ‘Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil.’ If not, it’s fish oil.



Malak March 13, 2012 at 8:27 am

This is so informative and I would say this is just like the ocean caped in a pot


Rocio June 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

What about TOTOX and PCB’s? do you have any COA’s where we can verify in each lot the content of EPA and DHA as well as TOTOX and PCB’s???


Omegavia June 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Hi Rocio – here is the latest C of A from third party fish oil testing from IFOS: http://www.ifosprogram.com/files/IFOS%20Innovix%20OmegaVia%20Batch%20S2A042.pdf
All our batches are tested at IFOS. This C of A contains totox etc.
– Vin Kutty


amelia October 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm

plural for fish=fish, not fishes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Vin Kutty October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Gasp! Fixed. Thank you. :-)

Too many mafia movies. ‘Luigi…he sleeps with the fishes…’
– Vin Kutty

PS: has anyone mentioned the overuse of exclamation points?


David Smith February 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

Doesn’t this type of intense distillation mean that the end type of Omega-3 is the ethyl ester type, which is the less preferable type of omega-3?


Vin Kutty February 24, 2013 at 4:39 am

Hi David – yes, all super-concentrated fish oils are ethyl esters. They are not less preferable. Don’t fall for the marketing hype. They are the best bang for the buck. More here: http://www.omegavia.com/ee-fish-oil-vs-tg-fish-oil/

– Vin Kutty


PIXE April 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm

The information presented is not entirely correct. Ethyl esters are a poor substrate for pancreatic lipase which is the enzyme that is responsible for the hydrolysis of triacyl-sn-glycerol (TAG) i.e. fat molecules. The metabolite is ethanol which although a small amount, it is not recommended for pregnant, nursing moms, or others who have a sensitivity towards ethanol. In addition, if you are obese and need to reduce your serum triacyl-sn-glycerol (formerly triglyceride), taking these ethyl ester pro-drugs requires you eat a fatty meal. There are several nice studies that show that ethyl esters are not completely absorbed and need a fatty meal to be absorbed. See A novel omega-3 free fatty acid formulation has dramatically improved bioavailability during a low-fat diet compared with omega-3-acid ethyl esters: “The ECLIPSE (Epanova® compared to Lovaza® in a pharmacokinetic single-dose evaluation) study” in Journal of Clinical Lipidology
Volume 6, Issue 6, November–December 2012, Pages 573–584. This paper also describes in detail how these ethyl esters get transformed from their ethyl ester derivatives to Phospholipids and TAGs in the systemic circulation.
TAG is better.


Vin Kutty April 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Hi PXE – TAG and FFA slightly better absorbed. Phospholipid forms are better still. Lot more about that here: http://www.omegavia.com/ee-fish-oil-vs-tg-fish-oil/

Esterification and concentration allows highly concentrated Omega-3 to be consumed by the masses. EE forms are absorbed well enough to generate positive study after positive study for 2 decades. Here is the latest from a couple of days ago: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/143/4/437.abstract

Don’t get too hung up on ethanol as the breakdown product – there is no more ethanol generated than in a glass of orange juice or apple juice. Need some perspective here. And as far as ‘fatty meal,’ any meal with some fat will suffice.

Yes, I am very familiar with Epanova and its FFA delivery form. Good luck stabilizing free fatty acids. There is no easy way to get around FFA oxidation.


TJ August 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for the explanation. I ALWAYS wondered, what the heck does that mean and AFAIK, there is no entry of fish oil monograph in any pharmacopoeia.

I have 2 questions for you,
1. What are the contents of ‘rest of the oil’? If 1200mg oil contains 1000mg of fatty acids, what is the rest 200mg made up of?
2. Why should someone prefer this highly concentrated oil rather than concentrated oil? Because if you calculate EFA/$, then these highly concentrated oils don’t give best bang for the buck. (We are presuming here that all oils are good quality and not rancid etc.)


Vin Kutty August 6, 2013 at 12:04 am

Hi TJ – if you’re talking about OmegaVia, we list the ‘Other Omega-3s’ on the label. The other fats may be monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats make up a big part (usually 70%) of regular 1000 mg fish oils. Concentrated fish oils have less of these other non-essential components.

You’re right, highly concentrated oils are not good bang for the buck. It takes about 100 gallons of crude oil to make 1 gallon of our oil. It’s much cheaper to take the crude oil or slightly refined oil. This is OK as long as you are not taking Omega-3 to treat chronic illnesses. Example: you need 4000 mg of Omega-3 per day to reduce triglycerides. You would need a dozen or more regular pills a day (120 more calories per day) and even then, you will not lower your triglycerides as much as you would with a pharmaceutical grade oil. See more here: http://www.omegavia.com/why-pharmaceutical-grade-fish-oil-is-better/

Pharma grade oils reduce the number of pills you’ll need to take.
Pharma grade oils always have less mercury and other environmental contaminants also.
Pharma grade oils are less likely to be from China. Don’t presume that all oils are good quality and not rancid.

If $ is an issue, then regular fish oil will suffice. For now.


Matt September 17, 2013 at 12:50 am

There seems to be a strong movement towards getting back to consuming the whole animal or whole plant. Is there strong clinical data stating that a higher EPA/DHA ratio ALONE is what lowers triglycerides or improves oxyLDL? other lipids and omegas in the oil came be extremely beneficial to “cleaning the pipes” as well? I don’t know how this can be considered natural or pure when it is so heavily processed and concentrated. Does this oil also require bleaching, winterizing and a dose of antioxidants? Seems like that would create an imbalance in the body – maybe a possible cause of prostate cancer as linked a couple months ago?

Just curios – thanks!!


Vin Kutty September 17, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Hi Matt – Yes, there is strong clinical evidence that shows EPA and DHA ALONE reduce triglycerides. Not sure it improves oxidized LDL. Matter of fact, DHA increases LDL.

Most people think that taking fish oil is an alternative to eating fish. Not so. They are two VERY DIFFERENT things! You are MUCH better off eating fish 3 or 4 times a week and cutting back on sugars and starches to control your health. There are so many benefits to eating fish that you will never get from taking fish oil.

So taking fish oil supplements and drugs are a far inferior alternative to eating fish. Supplements are for people who turn their nose up at eating a healthy diet. Just being blunt. We need to take responsibility for our less-than-ideal diet. Even with all my preaching, I don’t eat salmon 4X a week, so I take fish oil supplements. If we all ate salmon 4X a week, salmon would be extinct in a year. Beggars can’t be choosers. But taking fish oil is better than not doing nothing. It addresses Omega-3 deficiency and helps reduce inflammation. That it reduces triglycerides is just a convenient side effect.

If you accept that fish oil supplements are far inferior to eating fish itself, then to worry about winterizing and antioxidants etc is besides the point. It’s the reality of taking a fish that lived 7,000 miles away and putting its oil in a pill that sits conveniently on a shelf without going rancid to be taken when needed. There are trade offs.

Too much Omega-3 can certainly create an imbalance in the body. Crossfit gym members frequently overdose on fish oil – not a good idea. But there is no evidence whatsoever that this has anything to do with prostate cancer. That was a bogus study. More on that here: http://www.omegavia.com/fish-oil-and-prostate-health/


John September 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Is salmon the best fish to eat multiple times a week? Any other fish just as concentrated in good fats?


Vin Kutty September 30, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Hi John – no, not necessarily. It’s just my favorite, so I keep mentioning it here. Sardines, mackerel, anchovies are all good too. But not King mackerel – that’s a big, polluted fish.


Pamela October 15, 2013 at 8:39 am

I can’t seem to find a list of ingredients for the OmegaVia fish oil capsules. Can you tell me where I can find this? One thing in particular I would like to know is if they are gluten free as I have celiac disease.


Vin Kutty October 15, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Hi Pamela – beside fish oil, it contains bovine gelatin, palm glycerin, enteric coating made from seaweed and a very small quantity of Vitamin E from soy. We’re reformulating the product to contain Vitamin E from sunflower. There is no gluten in the product. You can see the label of the product by clicking on the bottle images on the home page and clicking on one of the right or left arrows on the image. Or on this page: http://www.omegavia.com/taking-omegavia/


PIXE November 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I applaud your new formula that is now IFOS certified. You should tell your customer base that the source of the oil comes from the cuttings of Alaskan Pollock and other fish offal. Luckily, this fishery is one of the largest in the world and is heavily regulated and monitored for purity. Also, you show that other pills have fat but you fail to mention that this is natural fat that is TAG oil and not impurities. Also, if your product is all ethyl esters (not fat) then how do you list that the fat content in your product is 1.5 g which is more fat than a 1.0 TAG oil. Also, the term “fish oil” is misleading since fish don’t make ethyl esters. As with many incorrectly labeled “fish oil” dietary supplements, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), calls this product misbranded.



Vin Kutty November 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Hi PIXE – interesting comment.

Just want to make sure I understand you correctly…you’re saying that:

1. OmegaVia is made from fish or parts of fish that you find objectionable
2. Other fish oil supplements have a lot of non-Omega-3 fat in the triglyceride form
3. Ethyl ester form of fatty acids should not be declared as fat
4. That OmegaVia is not a fish oil because fish do not concentrate the Omega-3 into ethyl ester form

Does the above summarize your objections?


PIXE November 11, 2013 at 5:26 am

I have no objections to your product. I was just commenting on the facts of your very pure product. OmegaVia is made from fish parts (Offal) from the Alaska Recovery company and this is not objectionable. In fact, it is a nice way to use otherwise discarded parts of Pollock that would be dumped into the ocean or a landfill. Your label is incorrect for the amount of fat since in your figures of TAG oils, you show for 18/12 TAG oils having 70% “fish fat.” Looking at your dietary supplement facts, your OmegaVia has 1.5 g of fat which is more fat than 18/12 natural TAG oil (1 g). Just wanted to know how you got the figure 1.5 g. Also, “fish oil” is not the correct term to use for ethyl esters. USP and other pharmacopoeias call your product “omega-3 ethyl esters” and not fish oil. The description “fish oil” is used for TAG natural fish oil. Again, I just pointing out errors in the way you are marketing your product with misinformation. As I said before, you have a high purity product. Another error is reporting the total omega-3 oil content of 1105 mg which is misleading. In fact, the oil in the capsule weighs 1277 mg and then the concentration of EPA and DHA is less based on the mass of the oil. Many other companies report the mass of the oil. Since the mass of the oil comes from all the ethyl esters in your product, then one should report the label amount as saying “providing x mgs EPA” or “supplying x mgs EPA” like other companies report. This way it is more realistic since these ethyl esters will never be 100% bioavailable. In fact, your product is technically referred to as a “pro-drug” just like Lovaza and Vascepa because your product contains the same two APIs (EPA-EE and DHA-EE) as the prescriptions.


Vin Kutty November 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Hi PIXE – let me address the label issue first.

We claim 1.5 grams even though we only have 1.3 grams in the capsule because of some FDA footnote about rounding up, per our legal counsel. 18/12 TAG fish oils all do not have 1 grams of fat. That is determined by the fill volume of the capsule in question.

Concentrated ethyl esters form of Omega-3 fatty acids are oils derived from fish. Consumers call it fish oil. I am perfectly fine calling it Omega-3 ethyl esters. To me, this is an irrelevant point. All fish oils found in supplements are so far removed from fish, especially the rTG oils, that this becomes an exercise in semantics. rTG oils are even more removed from nature than ethyl esters, but are incorrectly marketed an ‘natural.’

Our goal is to provide a product for people who are not going to eat wild fish regularly and they admit it. If you eat fish regularly, you do not need fish oil supplements.

People who admit to not eating fish and who wish to maintain a good Omega-3 status with the fewest number of pill, will require concentrated Omega-3 in its ethyl ester form or rTG form. I’ll be the first to admit that either solution is far inferior to eating fish.

OmegaVia is an Omega-3 ethyl ester.

We are quite open and proud about it. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. This is what allows people to get as much Omega-3 as possible with the fewest number of pills.

The oil in our capsules do not weigh 1277 mg. Our EPA, DHA and total Omega-3 (mg EPA or DHA/g basis) content are verified by no less than two third-party labs and two internal labs. We do not release a product until all lab reports are in agreement. We stand by our numbers.


Vin Kutty November 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Pixe – I would be happy to put you directly in contact with either of our third-party labs to discuss this matter to your hearts content. You can get answers directly from analytical chemists doing the testing. But on two conditions: 1) that you verify your true identity and affiliations and that you share what you discover (good, bad and ugly) right here on this blog in this comments section.


Rocky November 25, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I purchased my third bottle of your product Lot#S3B021 Exp: Mar 21, 2016 and wanted a copy of the certificate of analysis (C&A) that you talk about. Your comment that consumers deserve to get this important document prompted me to take you up on your word. Excellent product of high purity.


Vin Kutty November 25, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Hi Rocky – glad you like the product. Here is a link to the third-party Certificate of Analysis: http://www.ifosprogram.com/files/IFOS%20Innovix%20OmegaVia%20Batch%20S3B021.pdf


Rocky November 25, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Thanks for the report. I find it strange that IFOS got the same exact concentration as your product label. I hope this is not an error. I assume that more than one capsule was analyzed and there should be means and standard deviations.


Vin Kutty November 27, 2013 at 1:02 am

Hi Rocky – this is not an error, but a ‘reporting methodoogy’ per IFOS, when I asked the same question. In other words, when the results are very close to the amount claimed on the label, they will list the amount claimed on the label. However, if the results are clearly above or below the listed amount, they will say so. If the results are higher, it will be listed. If the results are lower, one star of the possible five stars will be deducted.


Bay December 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Can we buy your old TG product S1D019?


Vin Kutty December 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Hi Bay – that batch of product has been sold out for over a year. So, no, it is no longer available.


Bay December 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Is there a chance that you will resurrect your TG formulation and have both TG and EE products like Nutrigold who offers both?


Vin Kutty December 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Hi Bay – we have not offered a TG product in the past. OmegaVia has always been an EE formula. We may offer a TG formula under the OmegaVia brand sometime in the future.


Bay December 22, 2013 at 3:52 am

Thanks for the reply. The IFOS certificate for productOmegaVia S1D019 lists the “Product type as: TG capsule.”


Vin Kutty December 23, 2013 at 12:26 am

Hi Bay – that was an error and we’ve pointed it out to them. Not sure why they have not updated their page…possibly because it is a few years old.


Eric Li January 2, 2014 at 11:02 am

Omega-3 90% is better than omega-3 30% in the efficacy, do you have any direct evidence to prove high concentration fish oil is better than 30% fish oil?


Vin Kutty January 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Hi Eric – yes, we posted a blog about this: http://www.omegavia.com/why-pharmaceutical-grade-fish-oil-is-better/


Eric Li January 3, 2014 at 1:19 am

Thanks for your info. As I know, I didn’t find the direct comparison between 80-90% and 30% fish oil in this article. What else of 70% is in the 30% fish oil?


Vin Kutty January 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Hi Eric – the study did not compare 30% oil vs 80-90% oil. They found that going from 85% to as low as 62% dramatically reduced triglyceride reduction capacity. As far as I’m aware, there are no studies that compare 30% oil vs 90% oil.


Eric Li January 9, 2014 at 2:43 am

Thanks. One more question about the best time of taking the fish oil? Before the meal, with a meal or after a meal?


Vin Kutty January 9, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Hi Eric – it does not make much difference if it is 5 or 10 mins after a meal or with a meal. That would be preferable to 5 or 10 mins before…the process of ingesting other fats will trigger release of lipase enzymes to digest the Omega-3.


Eric Li January 15, 2014 at 7:15 am

Someone told me that 30% fish oil also have heavy fishy taste and flavor. It is associated with one ingredients:Trimethylamine. Do your product have the fishy taste? That means high concentration fish oil have less fishy taste than the 30% fish oil? Why? Thanks.


Vin Kutty January 15, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Hi Eric – trimethylamine is mostly responsible for the fishy smell of dead fish. The processing and purification of oils removes virtually all TMA. The fishy odor of fish oils is mostly a by-product of oxidation of EPA and DHA into aldehydes and a few other smelly compounds. This is not necessarily a factor of Omega-3 concentration. A 60% Omega-3 fish oil can become just as smelly as a 30% or 90% oil. It depends on how much oxygen, heat and light the Omega-3 has been exposed to.


Steve February 14, 2014 at 3:48 am

–Repeated molecular distillation required to get its high purity removes virtually all toxins and heavy metals like mercury–
It also denatures the oil. Do you have any comment about this ?


Vin Kutty February 14, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Hi Steve – you can denature proteins when you heat them. But fish oil can become oxidized or rancid of you heat it in the presence of oxygen. This is why molecular distillation is conducted under extreme vacuum and the oil is always handled under nitrogen. Molecular distillation of fish oil is a well-practiced science – this is not where most of the rancidity occurs. This is not denying no oxidation at all takes place during the molecular distillation – a tiny bit does. This is why we are exploring new technologies like heat-free CO2 extraction for OmegaVia. The product will become more expensive but it will also be cleaner and less oxidized. OmegaVia EPA 500 already uses this advanced technology and our customers are very pleased with it.


Dawn April 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Mr. Kutty – I’m researching Omega 3 Fish Oil to administer to my 33 year old son via his feeding tube; sustained Traumatic Brain Stem Injury and is quadriplegic. I care for him, myself, at home. I read that the Nordic Naturals DHA is what is given to the brain-injured. In an article, elsewhere, I read it best to give 20 Grams per day. I will need the liquid, not a capsule. My question, if this Nordic Naturals is one of the purest forms, is there any danger of 20 grams being too MUCH to give my son? I would very much appreciate your reply at your earliest convenience. Also, if you have received any feedback from those like my son and I, I would most assuredly welcome the information. Thank you.


Vin Kutty April 29, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Hi Dawn – I think you’d be fine with using Nordic, Zone, Barleans or Carlsons liquid fish oil. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one brand. Yes, Nordic is good, but so are the others.

However, you are asking me a medical question and I am not a doctor. I am neither qualified nor authorized to dispense medical advice over the internet. This really needs to be discussed with a local medical professional. As I mention in this article, 20 grams was used by some people, but it is an untested dosage. http://www.omegavia.com/fish-oil-brain-injury/ I suggest you re-post this comment under that article, where others in your shoes may read this and share their experience.


Dawn April 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Thank you, Mr. Kutty, for your prompt reply. I very much appreciate your offering the additional brands of fish oil. As far as 20 goes, I know of another whom has given her son this amount and since first doing so, has seen REMARKABLE improvement. Unfortunately, since our move to NC, I have been unable to get my son help and as soon as we can move out of this state, I will THEN have a doctor whom I can rely upon to answer questions, as you suggested. For now, I am appreciative for your response and any others whom are in a situation such as mine. Blessings, Dawn


Vin Kutty April 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Hi Dawn – it’s great to hear that the other person’s son noticed improvements with 20 grams of Omega-3 per day. Lots of people will read your comment, so I hope it adds to the information people have. Take care.


Nana August 23, 2014 at 12:33 am

Please explain the difference between Krill oil and Fish oil. I need a better understanding. Krill oil has helped lower my cholesterol.


Vin Kutty, MS August 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Hi Nana – everything you need to know about krill oil is here: http://www.omegavia.com/?s=krill+oil

In a nutshell, krill are small shirmp like creatures that live near the south pole. They have some Omega-3 in them. The Omega-3 in krill is well-absorbed, but the amount of Omega-3 is very low when compared to fish oil and it is very expensive.


Pallavi October 7, 2014 at 10:00 am

Hi Mr. Kutty,

My husband has a high cholestrol for the last few years with LDL and Triglycerides always being high despite controlled diet for the last 3 years and 3-4 days of 30 min exercise per week. He has Hypothyroid but the TSH has been within range and stable now for the last 2.5 years. I still do not understand the reason for the cholesterol not going down. We are from India; I need to understand that can he take a fish-oil supplement like Lovaza or similar product. I read somewhere that people with under/overactive thyroid should not take fish-oil supplements. Please advise.
Also, what are the best brands available in India?


Vin Kutty, MS October 9, 2014 at 3:06 am

Hi Pallavi – fish oil does not interfere with thyroid or thyroid medications, so that concern can be put away.

More on cholesterol here: http://www.omegavia.com/cholesterol-when-to-panic/ I don’t talk much about cholesterol here because it is an overblown risk factor. Total cholesterol is a combination of numbers that are supposed to be both high and low, so a high number could be good or bad. You are far better restricting triglyceride with starch and sugar reduction. Start with elimination of wheat and rice. By ‘controlled diet,’ I assume low-fat. Low fat diets are notorious for increasing triglycerides and cholesterol. Yes, I know, this is the opposite of what you’ve been told. I know. Science and awareness change – so must you. Fat is not the enemy. Sugar and grains are. Taking 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day will help, but diet changes need to come first.


Bryan November 22, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Hi Vin!

I am as impressed with your openness to discuss people’s questions as I am with your fish oil! Thanks for all that you do!

The longer I’ve taken fish oil the more I’ve learned about it, and I wanted to get your thoughts on triglyceride form fish oil compared to the ethyl ester form. I believe I have a basic understanding between the two, in that the triglyceride form is a more natural form and doesn’t take as long to make a difference, however over the long term both forms of fish oil are equally effective. I was wondering if this is true, and if there are any other considerations between the two to be aware of? It seems like the higher strength fish oils, such as yours, are all the ethyl ester form.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts!


Vin Kutty, MS November 23, 2014 at 12:28 am

Hi Bryan – in the long term, you are right, there is not much difference between these two forms of oils, especially if you take your fish oil with meals. On an empty stomach and in the short term (days or weeks), triglyceride form is a little better.

There is quite a bit of internet chatter about this, which is a nice way of saying marketers trying to out-shout each other and out-scare customers. You have to weed thru the nonsense to find the truth.

I’ve written a lot about this subject in these blogs:


Bryan November 25, 2014 at 1:30 am

Thanks again for your response Vin! I saw the below information on another well known fish oil company’s website about CO2 extraction, which makes it sound like even when CO2 extraction is used, the fish oil has already undergone molecular distillation or flash distillation. I realize this isn’t your statement, but could you help explain, because I thought the point of using CO2 extraction was to avoid molecular distillation?

Molecular distillation removes impurities (heavy metals, dioxins, etc), saturated fats, and other undesirable organic compounds, leaving behind only the key beneficial components of the fish oil. It is a gentle distillation process with exceptionally low heat residence time, and is performed in a vacuum to further reduce the heat requirement. Flash distillation accomplishes the same thing as molecular distillation, but utilizes steam rather than a vacuum.
CO2 extraction or fractionation starts with oil that has previously undergone either molecular distillation or flash distillation to remove impurities. It uses a combination of pressure and heat to concentrate the amount of omega-3s (EPA and/or DHA) in the oil, extracting the ethyl esters from the fish oil in order to increase their concentration.


Vin Kutty, MS November 25, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Hi Bryan – the point of CO2 extraction is not to avoid molecular distillation. The point of CO2 extraction is to avoid extended and repeated high heat exposure. Most/many CO2 extracted oils are briefly molecularly distilled from say 15 to 20% Omega-3 to about 50% Omega-3. This is a very quick process compared to, say, getting an oil from 20% Omega-3 to 80 or 85% Omega-3, which could expose oils to days and days of 400 F. The temperature and duration combination is what matters – high levels of both (in the wrong hands!) can produce isomers of EPA, which are not ideal. Having said that, every company that concentrates fish oil has proprietary secrets and methods that they use to keep the process gentle, to reduce isomer generation and to limit oxidation.

The process you describe is what Nordic Naturals claims to use. There is some…how shall I put it…aspirational marketing language woven in with facts. That’s not to say their products are bad – I regularly recommend their Omegas to many readers here. Nordic is committed to their existing technology, hence the somewhat negative stance on CO2. However, some of their new products like EPA Elite use CO2 technology.


Bryan November 26, 2014 at 12:28 am

Thanks for sharing your knowledge! It’s greatly appreciated!


Bryan November 28, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Hi Vin!

Omega 7 seems to be getting a lot of attention, and I wanted to get your thoughts on it. There are some interesting health benefits that seem to be garnered by including omega 7, even though omega 7 isn’t considered essential. I was wondering how much of the claims someone could reasonably expect to receive and how much is just hype to get consumers to buy it? Innovix Labs, who makes Omega Via, is one of the makers of omega 7, promoting its benefits.

I take Omega Via and am very pleased with it, and as well as you answering the various questions I’ve asked. I am considering including omega 7, and wanted to get your thoughts on it. Thanks!


Vin Kutty, MS November 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Hi Bryan – have you read this? http://www.omegavia.com/omega-7/ I think the key benefit to Omega-7 is the reduction in CRP. There are lots of nutrients that reduce CRP (inflammation)…Omega-7, magnesium, some probiotic bacteria like L. reuteri. But Omega-7 has additional metabolic benefits, even with small doses. Some people consider it a lipokine (acts like a hormone, sort of like Vit D) in that you get a lot of effect with a small quantity. I’ve been taking it every day for the past year or so. Happy with it.


Sheila January 25, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Mr. Kutty – My parents (ages 82 and 83) have tasked me with finding out what supplements can help them with memory issues they both seem to be having. They are both in relatively good health, all things considered, but are scared to death of developing dementia. I don’t see signs of that at this point – just what I would consider normal age-related memory issues. But after many days reading and scouring the internet, I am more confused than ever with all the conflicting information and “possible” helps: DHA, EPA, curcumin, ALA, CoQ10, vinpocetine, lithium aspartate, rosemary essential oil, vitamin E, gingko leaf extract, and I could go on and on. It is maddening! How does an average person determine what to believe or what supplements can promote good health, regardless of the particular issue? Any suggestions, and any suggestions particularly for age-related memory issues?


Vin Kutty, MS January 25, 2015 at 10:59 pm

Hi Sheila – my parents are the same age. I give them Omega-3, magnesium, curcumin, and phosphatidyl choline supplements for supporting their brain health. A multivitamin helps. I give them other stuff too, but this is what I give them specifically for brain health.


Sheila January 25, 2015 at 11:22 pm

Thanks so much, Vin! That is very helpful. Can you tell me which multivitamin you give them? Also, what dosage for the magnesium, curcumin, and choline? And if I may be so bold, I’m curious now as to what other things you give them.


Vin Kutty, MS January 26, 2015 at 12:46 am

Hi Sheila –

Multi: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Extension-Two-Capsules-Count/dp/B00B35A7YU/
Curcumin: http://www.amazon.com/Absorption-InnovixLabs-Award-Winning-BioPerine-extracts/dp/B00L775W3U/ – 2 per day
Choline: http://www.amazon.com/Jarrow-Formulas-Citicoline-Choline-250mg/dp/B004JO4EFU/ – 2 per day
Magnesium – 400 mg per day from glycinate and malate forms.

They also take CoQ10, Vitamins A, K2 and D3.


Ken January 29, 2015 at 11:43 pm

I am very surprised that the subject of GOUT has not been mentioned here.
I have been taking “Kirkland Signature™ Super Concentrate Omega – 3” capsules for a couple of years and they seem to help greatly with the the aches and pains that we “over 70’s” seem to suffer from. I also started taking them to reduce Cholesterol, etc.

Prior to that I tried Cod Liver Oil (in my ignorance) and had a Gout attach within 10 days.

I am let to understand that “Ultra-Purified” product does not contain Purines. The Kirkland does not state Ultra-purified but I have been using it for a couple of years with no problem. Then, since I started my latest purchase last November, I am having recurring problems with Gout. I am trying to trace the cause and it’s starting to look like it’s the Omega-3 product.

Does “Ultra-Purified” guarantee that it contains no purines?
Does Your product contain Purines?
And do you supply Costco (Canada) with the Kirkland Product?


Vin Kutty, MS January 30, 2015 at 5:26 am

Hi Ken – I have no way of knowing what caused your gout attacks. But I very seriously doubt Omega-3 supplements had anything to do with it. Yes, purines can make gout worse, but there isnt much or any of it in fish oils, even the ones that are not ultra concentrated. The real issue is a lifetime of inappropriate diet. Sodas, juices, and other sources of fructose, refined grains etc. contribute to it a lot more than purines ever would. My suggestion is to follow a whole foods only paleo type diet. I could be wrong, but I think you’re barking up the wrong tree with the purine/fish oil angle.

OmegaVia does not contain purines. We do not supply Costco.


Ken January 30, 2015 at 5:53 pm


Thanks for the prompt reply. As you might guess, I am trying all those things.

You should know that Costco website does state “*From MEG-3® brand fish oil concentrate.” for this product. Here’s the link…



Vin Kutty, MS January 31, 2015 at 12:14 am

Hi Ken – no, this is not an OmegaVia oil. MEG-3 brand is Canadian oil. Good stuff.


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