I have been adding fish oils to my entire family’s diet – both pups and people for quite some time. The fish oils provide us with Omega 3, an essential fatty acid, which is commonly deficient in modern diets. In days of yore, our protein sources – like game, grass fed livestock and wild caught fish – contained sufficient amounts of Omega 3. But today, with most livestock either fed grain-based diets or fattened up on corn in feedlots, we lack Omega 3.
Feedlot cattle fattening up on corn
I suppose I have received good advice from nutritionists as now the major kibble manufacturers taut the addition of Omega 3. Well that is nice to see but I can’t find that it is effective and it may even be harmful to your dog. Kibble is made through an extrusion process and the ingredients are subjected to very high heat. Fish oil, an excellent source of Omega 3, is extremely fragile. It could never withstand the kibble manufacturing process so the Omega 3 source is sprayed onto the kibble after the heat process. Then it is packaged and may sit on the shelf or in the warehouse for a year or so before you pour it into your dog’s bowl. It is doubtful that the fragile oils could withstand that and fish oils can go rancid and cause serious harm.
Bags of kibble sit in a warehouse
My nutritionists have advised me to add fish or krill oil to supplement Omega 3: Buy the best you can afford and be careful how you store it – out of sunlight, in a cool spot and refrigerated in some cases.
For many years I have also been a fan of extra virgin olive oil (EVO). Recently I read some interesting information on Dr. Joseph Mercola’s site www.mercola.com concerning the safe way to use and store EVO. Extra virgin olive oil is also fragile – as much so as the fish oils.
According to Dr. Mercola:
Extra-virgin olive oil is a good monounsaturated fat that is also well-known for its health benefits. It’s a staple in healthful diets such as Mediterranean-style diets.
However, it’s important to realize it is NOT good for cooking. It should really only be used cold, typically drizzled on salads and other food.
Due to its chemical structure and a large amount of unsaturated fats, cooking makes extra-virgin olive oil very susceptible to oxidative damage. However, during this interview (with Dr. Rudi Moerck – noted oil expert) I learned that extra-virgin olive oil has a significant draw-back even when used cold – it’s still extremely perishable!
As it turns out, extra-virgin olive oil contains chlorophyll that accelerates decomposition and makes the oil go rancid rather quickly.
In fact, Dr. Moerck actually prefers using almost tasteless, semi-refined olive oil rather than extra-virgin olive oil for this reason.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably leaving your bottle of olive oil right on the counter, opening and closing it multiple times a week. Remember, any time the oil is exposed to air and/or light, it oxidizes, and as it turns out, the chlorophyll in extra virgin olive oil accelerates the oxidation of the unsaturated fats.
Clearly, consuming spoiled oil (of any kind) will likely do more harm than good.
To protect the oil, Dr. Moerck recommends treating it with the same care as you would other sensitive omega-3 oils:
- Keep in a cool, dark place
- Purchase smaller bottles rather than larger to ensure freshness
- Immediately replace the cap after each pour
To help protect extra virgin olive oil from oxidation, Dr. Moerck suggests putting one drop of astaxanthin into the bottle. You can purchase astaxanthin, which is an extremely potent antioxidant, in soft gel capsules. Just prick it with a pin and squeeze the capsule into the oil.
The beautiful thing about using astaxanthin instead of another antioxidant such as vitamin E, is that it is naturally red, whereas vitamin E is colorless, so you can tell the oil still has astaxanthin in it by its color.
As the olive oil starts to pale in color, you know it’s time to throw it away.
You can also use one drop of lutein in your olive oil. Lutein imparts an orange color and will also protect against oxidation. Again, once the orange color fades, your oil is no longer protected against rancidity and should be tossed.
This method is yet another reason for buying SMALL bottles. If you have a large bottle, you may be tempted to keep it even though it has begun to oxidize.
Thank you Dr. Mercola. I have always made a habit of buying gallon tins of Extra Virgin Olive Oil when it is on sale. I would then de-cant a manageable amount into a decorative glass pourer that has a rather un-air tight top. Also, with all of the to-do about toxins in plastic containers these days – I will only buy my oils packaged in small glass dark colored bottles – even certain cans are lined with plastics.