Yes, Optimal DHA is certified by IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards).
Launched in 2004, IFOS provides a way for companies to test their products to the highest quality, safety, and purity standards in the world. Products that get IFOS-certified are typically omega-3 supplements like fish oil. They are tested against standards for:
- Active Ingredient Content – Does the product contain the amount and specific types of omega-3's the label says it should?
Too often, the amount of active ingredient listed on the label doesn’t match what is actually inside the product. Too low, and it may not be effective. Too high, and it could be unsafe for consumption. This is especially common with omega-3 supplements. Some brands will claim to have certain quantities of EPA and DHA in them, when really the capsules contain another (usually cheaper to manufacture) type of omega-3 altogether. IFOS provides you with peace of mind so you can easily find products that deliver what the label promises.
- Contaminants – Does the product contain unsafe levels of harmful chemicals?
This certification ensures that the product contains the lowest levels of contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins and furans, dioxin-Like PCBs, mercury, lead, cadmium, and inorganic arsenic. Why are these chemicals found in fish oil in the first place? They enter the environment from industrial activity and persist for a long time, bioaccumulating in large fatty fish. This means that oil derived from these fish could contain too-high concentrations of contaminants. There’s no way to tell if your supplement is contaminated just by looking at it, or even by reading the label (companies typically only have to show testing documentation to sell legally, and there’s no guarantee of accuracy or legitimacy). Only laboratory testing can tell you for certain.
- Stability – Is the product as fresh as possible, or has it gone bad (oxidized)?
An omega-3 supplement that has “gone bad,” whether from poor handling by the manufacturer or passing its expiration date, is ineffective at best. Worse, it could be unsafe to consume. Stability, also known as shelf-life, refers to how quickly and easily a product will deteriorate under normal storage conditions. Spoiled products may have an unpleasant fishy taste or smell, but this is not always the case, especially for encapsulated products.
Why is stability a problem for omega-3 products? Similar to how a cut apple turns brown when exposed to oxygen, oil-based ingredients are naturally prone to oxidation. This means that fish oil that has been exposed to unsuitable conditions at any point in the supply chain, such as high temperatures or excess humidity, could be spoiled or rancid by the time it makes it to the shelf. IFOS takes the burden off you by testing products for stability to make sure they are as fresh and shelf-stable as possible. Stability results are shown in IFOS Product Reports so that you can rest easy knowing you are not wasting money on a spoiled product.