The pet industry is dynamic and many great people and companies are doing their utmost to make the lives of companion animals better. However occasionally one comes across an area in nutrition that makes me CRAZY! Omega-3 and especially marine / fish oils are a special problem for me within the pet care industry. I have made investments in and have participated in natural supplement ingredients within the human supplements industry and am astonished at how slow the pet industry is regarding EPA / DHA omega-3 and how susceptible they are to becoming oxidized and rancid and when in this state possibly very harmful to a pets health.
I meet people constantly and keep telling everyone about the importance and value of fish oils for us humans and also for our furry friends. I am often asked what are the best sources of Omega-3 – at which point i explain that the marine sourced / fish oil from the body fat of ocean fish are the best , we talk dosages and make sure that the money spent is delivery the highest payload of the most biologically available and beneficial omega-3 which are EPA/DHA omega-3. The plant sourced ALA omega-3 is fine and very helpful however it does not deliver the biological effects of EPA / DHA omega-3s as rapidly and as assuredly.
The next point that I must talk about or I would be remiss is the FRESHNESS OF FISH OIL, IT IS SO CRITICALLY IMPORTANT! EPA / DHA / ALA Omega-3 fats are extremely fragile and are VERY easily damaged and effected by the oxygen in air. This is true for ALL omega-3 sources, whether fish, algal or plant-based (flax seed oil).
Fish oil rancidity, it is something that very few in the pet industry involved in manufacturing pet foods or supplements seemingly wants to discuss or have discussed. I have long been an advocate helping to have pet parents be better aware of the harm that they do when they feed rancid oxidized fish oil to their trusting animal companions. As they say… “You don’t know what you don’t know and what you don’t know can really harm your cat or dog.”
Rancid fish oil smells bad and tastes so awful that no-one would want to swallow it, not even a dog. It is important for us to understand that rancid fish oil is not at all beneficial and at worst harmful to anyone, human or dog or cat that consumes it.
Fish oil, unlike many other oils, has a chemical structure that makes it highly susceptible to spoiling or oxidation. The oxidation process begins as soon as the fish is caught and continues as the oil is exposed to oxygen, heat or light. As the oil oxidizes, it begins to release a distinct pungent, sharp odor and off-flavors
Consuming rancid fish oil causes a reaction in the body known as oxidative stress in the cell membrane. Fats are an integral part of cell membranes and essential to inter/intracellular signaling throughout the body. They exist as long chain “fatty acids” in the membranes and are modified and released as chemical messengers when needed, both to the outside of the cell.
These fatty acid chains in the cell membrane are easily oxidized by “free radical” damage. This free radical damage takes place when a high energy particle, known as an electron, “bounces around” looking for a place to land and give up its energy. Free radical damage cells is problematic because the energy from that loose free radical electron can be passed from one fat chain to another in a true “chain reaction” as that electron’s excess energy bounces from one fat chain to another doing damage all the way. The
By feeding a rancid fish oil not only are you increasing the potential of health harming free radicals and you have spent money for something that is harming the cat or dog’s health.
I trust that you do see the importance of only buying and feeding FRESH FISH OILS and work to keep them fresh and beneficial.
Here are some steps that ypou can take to be certain you are feeding FRESH fish oil.
1 Evaluate your current product. The best way to tell whether or not your omega-3 fish oil supplement is fresh is the look, taste and smell test. If you have a jug of fish oil or a pump bottle with a type of shampoo pump – both of which permits air into the container you very likely have rancid fish oil in about a week after opening the package. If they look dark and your nose gets a whiff of something that reminds you of dead rotten fish, then be advised: throw your rancid fish oil away and get something else.
2 Shop wisely. Fish oil is a very much like a fresh food substance that is highly perishable, just like milk or meat. To a certain degree it can be stabilized, but beware of labels that have a longer than two year expiration date. These products have most likely been sitting on the shelf for years, and almost certainly contain rancid oil made worse by being packaged in a simple thin plastic shampoo like bottle.
3 Remember that bigger is NOT always better. If buying a liquid form purchase small containers, not supersized bottles when buying fish oil. The more times that you open and close the jug the more air and oxygen that gets mixed in and over time the fish oil becomes rancid over time. DO NOT BUY FISH OIL WITH SOMETHING LIKE A SHAMPOO PUMP on the bottle as these pumps push air / oxygen tint the fish oil. There are very special medical AIRLESS PUMPS that WellyTails fish oils are packaged in so that air and oxygen do not get into the container. These special WellyTails “airless dosing pumps” make it easy to feed a fresh fish oil from the beginning to the end of the bottle.
4 Keep it cold. Buy fish oil that you can easily keep stored in the refrigerator. Low temperatures slow down the enzymatic time bomb that is ticking away that is natural to fish oil.
5 Use it or lose it. When you first buy fish oil, don’t let it sit around. Use it up within a few months. People forget to use the fish oil daily and just keep it around, thinking they are saving money. Realistically you wouldn’t save a spoiled fish in the refrigerator, hoping to someday get around to cooking and eating it. Think of fish oil supplements the same way, throw ay old unused product out.
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