Fish oil supplements that are rich in omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs). PUFAs are among the most widely-used dietary supplements globally, and millions of people consume them regularly. There have always been public concerns that these products should be guaranteed to be safe and of good quality, especially as these types of fish oil supplements are extremely susceptible to oxidative degradation.
The aim of the current study is to investigate and examine the oxidation status of dietary supplements containing fish oils and to identify important factors related to the oxidation status of such supplements available in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A total of 44 fish oil supplements were analysed in this study. For each product, the oxidative parameters peroxide value (PV), anisidine value (AV), and total oxidation (TOTOX) were calculated, and comparisons were made with the guidelines supplied by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED). Median values for each of the above oxidative parameters were tested using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests. P values < 0.05 were chosen as the statistically significant boundary.
The estimate for the average PV value was 6.4 with a 95% confidence interval (CI) [4.2–8.7] compared to the maximum allowable limit of 5 meq/kg. The estimate for the average P-AV was 11 with a 95% CI [7.8–14.2] compared to the maximum allowable limit of 20. The estimate for the average TOTOX value was 23.8 meq/kg with a 95% CI [17.4–30.3] compared to the maximum allowable limit of 26 according to the GOED standards.
This research shows that most, although not all, of the fish oil supplements tested are compliant with the GOED oxidative quality standards. Nevertheless, it is clear that there should be a high level of inspection and control regarding authenticity, purity, quality, and safety in the processes of production and supply of dietary supplements containing fish oils.