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Is fish oil contaminated?

In the "Secrets to Optimum Health" article [Jan./Feb. '07], Dr. Weil states that "fish oils are distilled, so they are free of toxic contaminants."

In Dr. Weil's 8 Weeks to Optimum Health book, copyright 1997, Dr. Weil on page 52 says: "You can buy capsules of fish oils in drug stores and healthfood stores, but I advise you not to use them. It is not clear that they reproduce the benefits of whole fish, and they may contain toxic contaminants." In his Eating Well for Optimum Health, copyright 2000, Dr. Weft on the subject of fish oil on page 177 says, "I would need assurance that they are free of the toxins that are so prevalent in fish today."

Please advise if fish oil capsules are free of toxic contaminants, as we are taking them for high blood pressure.

Barbara Hall

Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

Editors note: We sent your letter to Dr. Andrew Weil, who sent us the following update:

"The information quoted is from the old edition of 8 Weeks," Dr. Weil replied. "It has been updated in the new edition to reflect the fact that fish oils now on the market are distilled, free of toxins, and safe."

Indeed, in his latest book, Healthy Aging, Dr. Weil addresses the issue:

"But in the past few years, I have become increasingly concerned about the dangerous levels of mercury and PCBs and other organic toxins in many of the fish we eat, both wild and farmed," Dr. Weil writes. "In my own diet, I still include Alaskan salmon, Alaskan black cod (sablefish or butterfish), and sardines as omega-3 sources, but I also take a daily dose of fish oil (distilled and toxin free), and recommend that to people who cannot get wild Alaskan fish and do not like canned sardines." (See "Medical Mailbox" March/April 2006 for more information on the correct balance of omega-3 fatty acids.)
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Hall, Barbara
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2007
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