Our Ultra Pure DHA
Plant-Based vs Fish-Based DHA
Technically, all DHA is plant-based. DHA derived from fish sources originates in plants and is progressively concentrated as it moves through the food chain. An advantage of fish-based DHA lies in the fact that the food chain is more economical and efficient at concentrating DHA than the processes used on plant-based DHA.
Some advocates of plant-based DHA wrongly state that this form is free of “fishy” odor and taste. It is DHA (and other fatty acids) that has oxidized which gives fish that odor and taste, not the fish which imparts these to the DHA.
Another argument for plant-based vs fish-based DHA is that there is no concern over contaminants with the plant-based version. While this is true, the patented Epax® processing of the fish oil used in TriCare Prenatal™ DHA ONE® eliminates mercury, pesticides, and other contaminants so completely that they are virtually non-existent.
An important advantage that fish-based DHA has over plant-based DHA is that the fish source also includes EPA, another very important essential fatty acid for both mother and baby. When EPA levels are low, as is often the case for pregnant women, some DHA will be broken down and reassembled into EPA to meet the needs for EPA.
Fish Oil Purification Process
The fish oil used in TriCare Prenatal™ DHA ONE® with Folate is subjected to a patented, multi-step process called Epax® (see process below) to effectively remove contaminants, concentrate the essential fatty acid components, (DHA and EPA), and eliminate any unpleasant odor or taste.
At the start, crude fish oils are carefully analyzed for pesticides and heavy metals, and only those with levels below accepted safety standards are accepted. The oils are then subjected to a 9 step process, with 4 stages of molecular distillation, along with stripping, filtering, deodorization, concentration, and addition of vitamin E antioxidants. At the end of the processing, the oil is packaged into new, never reused, steel drums and blanketed with nitrogen. This protects the processed fish oil from oxidation.
In addition, the production of the DHA ONE® softgels is accomplished in an oxygen-free environment to further protect the fish oil from oxidation. The softgels used are of the highest quality available and provide an air-tight barrier. They are manufactured by Catalent Pharma Solutions, the company that invented softgel technology. TriCare Prenatal™ DHA ONE® with Folate also contains lemon oil to further protect the ultra-purified fish oil from oxidation.
With all of these factors, you can be sure that TriCare Prenatal™ DHA ONE® is free of contaminants and will not plague you with fishy odor, taste, or aftertaste.
Production Process Chart EPAX 6000 TG/N
Crude fish oils are analyzed and controlled for pesticides and heavy metalsbefore they are accepted.
Free fatty acids are removed as sodium soaps by mixing with aqueous sodium hydroxide solution. The sodium soaps are removed in a separator, washed with water and continuously dried under vacuum at a temperature not exceeding 100° C.
Pollutants are removed in a distillation unit ru nning using a patent process. Theprocess effectively reduces the level of PCB’s, pesticides and heavy metals. The level ofpollutants retained in the product is close to orunder detectable levels.
Ethyl esters are made by treating triglyceride with non-aqueous ethanol and a chemical catalyst (sodium methylate). Glycerol is drained off, excess ethanol recovered and the esters are washed with water and vacuum dried.
The ethyl ester is distilled under vacuum in a short-path evaporator. In order to achieve the specified concentration, the distillate may be subjected to further distillation using the same process.
The ethyl ester is reconverted to triglycerides by esterification with glycerol using an enzyme catalyst. The reaction is performed at temperatures below 100°C.
A unique process utilizing distillation in a specific sequence to decrease the level of monoglycerides, diglycerides and ethyl esters. The upgrading step has been specially developed by Epax and delivers a triglyceride content of at least 90%.
Bleaching and Filtering
Bleaching earth (natural clay) is added to the oil and the oil is filtered to remove the bleaching earth together with coulour components and oxidation products. This step reduces the peroxide and anisidine values and gives a clear and light yellow oil.
Steam distillation is performed under vacuum. The steam absorbs volatile components which are then removed under vacuum. The volatile components which contribute to bad smell and taste in the oil are effectively removed by this process.
Mixing and Adding Antioxidants
Antioxidants in the form of natural mixed tocopherols and/or d-alpha-tocoperol are added according to the specifications. A combination of mixed tocopherols and d-alpha-tocoperol are used unless otherwise specified. The antioxidants used are IP certified as GMO free.
The oil is filled into new steel drums and nitrogen blanketed. The drums used for EPAX products are never reused. The shelf life for EPAX products is two years when stored in an unopened drum at or below 25°C.