Heavens to Mercury
To lower my my suddenly-sky-high triglycerides, my doctor wants me to take fish oil. She also wants me to drink less alcohol, but: a) I’ve pretended not to hear that, and b) I think it’s only fitting to try a fish oil supplement before succumbing to that drastic a plan. I mean come on, it is not reasonable to ask me to cut out my single glass of wine with dinner every night. It’s just not. So fish oil pills, here I come.
Now, you’d think that obtaining a fish oil supplement would be easy, right? Just go to your local drugstore or WalMart or Target, and stroll on over the vitamin aisle. But apparently some of the fish oil pills out there may contain mercury. And given my apparently unbreakable daily-tuna-sandwich-for-lunch habit, my doctor wants me to take ONLY a particular brand of fish oil supplement that is audited by three independent agencies to be mercury-free.
And of course, that brand is sold only in doctor’s offices. Sigh.
Finding other fish oil brands that are definitely mercury-free is nearly impossible because there is no governmental oversight of these nutritional supplements. They may CLAIM to be mercury-free, but it’s not clear that is true. The Environmental Defense Fund’s Fish Oil Supplements Guide, for example, explains why you should NOT buy Kmart or RiteAid brand fish oil, among others.
This sorry state of affairs is exacerbated by sham ‘Product Review’ sites, which abound in the nutritionals arena. Here’s what you need to know: if a site has general info and product ‘reviews’ but has links to or recommends JUST 1 product or brand, that ‘review site’ is actually a devious marketing ploy to sell that one brand. Like this site I found while researching fish oil for this post: it looks like a product review site with info about mercury in fish oil and even talks about the product in the third person:
“Looking for the benefits of fish oil without the mercury in fish oil supplements? A company we personally use called XYZ manufactures an omega 3 supplement that uses only a cold deepwater fish known as the Hoki that comes from the depths of the oceans in New Zealand.”
I would bet serious money this site is actually run by the company selling the ONLY product recommended on the site. I won’t name the company (changed it to ‘xyz’ above), but check this site out so you’ll know in the future what a fake review site looks like: www.nutritional-supplement-guides.com/fish-oil-supplements-and-mercury.html.
It’s likely that there are many legitimate fish oil supplements that don’t contain mercury, but since I can’t kill my tuna-for-lunch jones, I’m going with the brand sold in my doctor’s office.
For now, at least. But I’m going to keep researching this topic. And if I can find a way to remember to take this horse-pill sized supplement every day, that’d be good too.