There are a number of legitimate concerns about including fish oil derivatives in a prenatal vitamin product. Heavy metal contaminants such as mercury, and chemical contaminants such as dioxin and PCB’s can have seriously adverse effects on a developing child, particularly with regard to the nervous system.
There are, however, a number of steps that can be taken to virtually eliminate the presence of contaminants in fish oil material. For starters, crude fish oils can be checked for heavy metal and pesticide content, and only those with levels below accepted safety standards accepted for further processing.
One of the best processing tools for cleaning up fish oil is known as molecular distillation. This is distillation done at low temperatures in a near vacuum. With the reduced pressure, boiling occurs a temperatures low enough to not damage the delicate structure of the sought-after omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. Further enhancements to molecular distillation include keeping the distance between the heat source and the condenser small, and using a motorized wiper to apply a thin film of the oil to the heating wall. These enhancements ensure that only a small number of molecules of the oil are undergoing distillation at any given time.
There are additional steps that can be employed to further purify fish oil and remove substances that contribute to unpleasant odor and taste. These are featured in one of the best processing systems for cleaning up fish oil – a patented system known as EPAX®. This multi-step approach will be covered in the next blog.