Product Review: Black Currant Oil, Borage Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Flaxseed Oil, and Hemp Oil Supplements: Sources of ALA and GLA (Omega-3 and -6 Fatty Acids)
HOW PRODUCTS WERE EVALUATED:
How Products were Selected:
Products tested represent those commonly sold and/or available nationally in the U.S. ConsumerLab.com purchased products on the open market through retail stores, on-line retailers, and direct sales or multi-level marketing companies. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.
Omega-3 & 6 vegetable oil products were tested in one or more independent laboratories for the following:
- Amounts of ALA, GLA and other fatty acids by Gas Chromatography (GC) utilizing a modified AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists, International) Official Method 991.39.
- Peroxide levels (which indicate spoilage) using AOCS (American Oil Chemists Society) Methods CD 8-53 & 12-57.
- Lead, cadmium and arsenic using ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy) for products containing milled seed or whole herb.
Any products not passing any initial testing criteria was sent to a second independent laboratory for repeat analysis using similar methodologies.
Identities of the products were not disclosed to laboratories performing the testing.
To achieve a "Pass" in the testing, a product had to:
A "Pass" was based on meeting the above criteria in either the first or second rounds of testing.
- Contain at least 100% and no more than 150% of its claimed amount of ALA, GLA, and other fatty acids, unless a naturally-occurring component (i.e., not isolated or made synthetically) of an oil, in which case it must be present at 80% to 150% of the listed amount. At a minimum the product must contain the following amounts of ALA and/or GLA (% wt/wt) respective of the labeled source: Flaxseed oil, min. 40% ALA, Borage oil, min. 20% GLA, Black currant oil, min.12% ALA, 15% GLA, Evening Primrose Oil, min. 7% GLA.
Heavy Metals: Products containing milled seed or whole herb must not exceed the following limits:
- Products marketed for use by children may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.8 mcg if the product contains more than 1,000 mg/day of calcium.
- Products with a single serving weights of less than 5 grams which are not marketed for use by children, may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.4 mcg if containing 250-999 mg/day of any combination of elemental calcium, magnesium and potassium or 0.8 mcg if containing more than 1,000 mg/day of any combination of these minerals. An additional allowance of 0.5 mcg is provided if containing 250-999 mg/day of whole herb (not extract) or 1.0 mcg if containing 1000 mg/day or more of whole herb (not extract). However, total lead allowance will not exceed 2 mcg.
- Products with single serving weights of 5 grams or more which are not marketed for children may not exceed 2.5 mcg per serving nor 4.0 mcg per daily serving.
- If marketed for use by children, may not exceed 3.0 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on Canada's limit for a child weighing 75 lbs.). If not marketed for use by children, may not exceed 4.1 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on the State of California's Prop 65 limit).
- Contain less than 10 micrograms of total arsenic and no more than 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per daily serving (EPA and state of New Jersey limits - based on 1 liter of water).
- Peroxide levels: For refined oils < 10 mEq/kg oil. For cold pressed and virgin oils < 15 mEq/kg oil (Codex Standards for Fats and Oils from Vegetable Sources, 1999).
- Be in compliance with FDA labeling requirements.
* Passing scores allow for specific margins of technical error associated with each analysis. ConsumerLab.com reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.
** If available for sale in California, a product that exceeds the State of California's Prop 65 lead limit requires a warning label. However, with or without this warning label, a product cannot pass ConsumerLab.com testing if it exceeds the levels described in this paragraph.
ConsumerLab.com reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.
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