How important is freshness?
VERY important! Freshness is crucial with anything that you put into your mouth. In the case of fish oils, it is even more important as you could be unwittingly adding to your free radical 'load' (that is what you want to combat). Fish oil which is oxidized is loaded with free radicals and may do you more harm than good.
Keep in mind though that freshness is not just time related, it is how the produce has been handled and looked after since harvesting. For example, a well handled two-day old fish can be even fresher than a one-day old fish!
Fishing for freshness
The same senses you use when buying fish from your local fishmonger should also be applied when buying fish oil. This is because your sense of smell and sight are very important when making your purchasing decision.
- When buying a whole fish, the first thing you should notice are the eyes. Fresh fish that have been handled properly and stored correctly from the boat to the display counter should have big clear eyes. Their gills should mirror the same clarity as the eyes with a bright red lustre and no parasites attached.
- When buying a fish oil, always look at the supplier's Certificate of Analysis (COA). The oxidation levels should be as low as possible.
- Fresh fish should have no 'fishy' odours. They should literally smell like the ocean from which they've come. Fish that have been handled and stored incorrectly will start to oxidise (decompose) and the resultant smell should send you clear warning signs.
- Fresh fish oils should also have no rancid odours. Similarly, the fish oil shouldn't have distinct scents such as lime or any other unnatural fragrance. If it does, then there is no doubt that the supplier is quite aware of the product's lack of freshness and assumes that this simple 'scent-mask' will hide all traces of oxidation. Cut open a fish oil soft gel and put it to the 'smell' test. If these signs haven't been noticed and common sense hasn't been followed, then unfortunately – as decomposing fish will no doubt make you sick – oxidised fish oils with rancid odours and/or tastes will almost certainly result in some 'repeating' or 'burping' at best and an increase in free radical levels at worst. If your fish oil product is fresh and your digestive system is not compromised, the chance of you experiencing this with our Xtend-Life product is highly unlikely. In fact, we guarantee you will not get repeating.
What makes Xtend-Life's Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil so fresh?
Professional product management and control is the answer. Over the last eight years, we have been bordering on being paranoid about the way our fish oil is handled and processed. This goes all the way back to how the fish is handled on board when it is caught. This is particularly crucial for our hoki oil and we are probably the only company in this industry that has full traceability for our hoki; which is crucial as we use it in its natural form.
We follow very strict protocols at all stages of manufacture, right through to the point that the finished product is shipped to our customers. Prior to encapsulation, we store the fish oil in special 'Spacekraft' containers under a nitrogen blanket and maintain them at two degrees Celsius. (Note: after encapsulation and bottling temperature is not so important so there is no problem with shipping to customers even in hot climates)
At Xtend-Life, we endeavour to give you the freshest products possible. We are very proud of our 'fresh, pure and natural' policy and strive to maintain our exceptionally high standards.
Proof that we're fresh
Before we prove our levels of freshness, it's important to remind you that freshness is measured by oxidation. Always look out for the total oxidation (TOTOX) value on the supplier's COA – it is made up of two components:
- Anisidine value
- Peroxide value
Some companies in Europe do not publish their anisidine values and although the peroxide values may be reasonable, the overall TOTOX value can be very high. Interestingly, some of them do their testing just for the peroxide value (conveniently AFTER encapsulation and AFTER an elapsed period of time). The peroxide values in a soft gel actually go down over time BUT the anisidine values go up, therefore pushing the TOTOX value up as well. It is a trick of the trade that some companies use. Although the 'N/A' indication on the COA may mean 'Not Available', we believe that it should mean 'Not Acceptable' – don't be fooled.
The table below shows how fresh our Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil really is, it should also give you a clearer picture of what you need to look out for before choosing your preferred fish oil supplement. The blue column indicates Xtend-Life's demanding minimal specifications. For the actual results of the product that you will be ordering (which are always better than the specification) refer to the certificate of analysis.
|Component ||Xtend-Life |
|Council for |
|Peroxide Value |
|Anisidine Value || |
|Total Oxidation |
* N/A means 'Not Available'
* IFOS although included in the table is not a recognized entity. It is a private organization and it is claimed by some 'observers' that it was established for the benefit of a few marketers of fish oil.
As an extra measure to ensure that fish oil freshness is maintained across the spectrum, each and every batch of our Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil is comprehensively tested by independent government certified laboratories. The laboratory used depends on the test being carried out. We use two labs, namely: Cawthron Laboratories and AsureQuality Laboratories.