Fish Oil and the styrofoam test.

Good day. I would like to ask your opinion on the fish oil and Styrofoam test done by a lot of direct selling companies. Some tell me the ones that can melt Styrofoam is good because it can melt away my cholesterol, but others tell me that the ones that can melt away cholesterol are bad because it will cause our blood vessels to leak. Can I know which is true?

(Question asked in the pharmacy, reposted here with permission)

Stephanie Loh Hooi Tin

Dear Stephanie

The short answer to your question is ---NEITHER. Unless your arteries or cholesterol are made of Styrofoam.

The reason why Styrofoam melts is because fish oil is an organic solvent in nature. The more hydrophobic the fish oil (more soluble in oil), the faster the Styrofoam will melt. It is not due to acidity, more “chemicals” etc. It’s just plain solubility.

There are 2 main kinds groups of fish oil in the market, and they are namely those in triglyceride form (natural form) and ethyl ester form (usually the high dose fish oils). Those in ethyl ester form are a lot more hydrophobic, and thus will melt Styrofoam faster.

The whole test of determining the quality of fish oil with Styrofoam is in 2 words, BULL SHIT. This is because the quality of fish oil is NOT based on how fat soluble it is, but more on how much EPA/DHA it offers, what fish it uses, country of origin etc.

A good fish oil should contain High doses of EPA/DHA if it is to have any pharmaceutical effect. The most common condition that doctors prescribe fish oil for is Hypertriglyeridemia (a form of high cholesterol). Studies have shown that only very high doses of EPA+DHA (some as high as 3400mg/day of EPA+DHA) are capable of reducing Triglycerides. Of all Fish oil brands in the market, the highest EPA/DHA doses/capsule can be found in the following brands:

1.  Megalive Omega 600/300mg. Which like its name suggests, contains EPA 600mg/capsule, and DHA 300mg/capsule. It’s also enteric coated (no fishy smell), and it’s country of origin is New Zealand. Source of Fish is Sardina pilchardus, Poecilia, Auxis tapeinosoma.

2.  Swissmed Cardiplex, a product that is almost identical to Megalive 600/300mg. The only difference is the price.

3.  Blackmores Omega Cardiwell. Containing EPA 420mg and DHA 210mg. Origin Australia.

Incidentally, ALL of the high dose fish oil are of ethyl ester form.


The Pharmacist.



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