The fats naturally occurring in fish and other seafood have long been praised for their health benefits, from the promotion of heart health to anti-aging properties. Fish fats, known as “healthy fats” or omega-3 fats, are typically found in naturally secreted fish oils. Salmon, sardines, and trout are among the most oily fishes available for consumption. Health and nutritional supplement vendors have capitalized on the benefits of fish oil, and many varieties of fish oil capsules can be purchased in most countries over the counter and without a prescription. Norwegian salmon oil is one such supplement.
Norwegian salmon oil is sold most commonly as a health food supplement. It is typically marketed as oil from salmon that live naturally as cold water fish in the deep Atlantic waters off the coast of Norway. Marketers promote Norwegian salmon as somewhat exotic: the salmon, they promise, live untainted, unpolluted lives in waters of the arctic. Norwegian salmon oil is often promoted as cleaner and healthier than other commercially available fish oils.
The range of fish oils available to the everyday consumer has grown exponentially. Fish oils, either consumed naturally or taken in supplement form, are considered “essential fats,” and are recommended by the American Heart Association and the British Heart Foundation, among other entities. These recommendations and endorsements have helped the rise in the popularity of fish oil. A recommendation for fish oil does not discriminate based on type of fish or country of origin of fish, however. As far as health properties are concerned, most medical professionals agree that fish oil from any source will impart the same benefits.
Salmon from Norway might taste better than salmon from anywhere else, but whether Norwegian salmon oil is better for health than any other salmon or fish oil is debatable. Much of the value of specifically Norwegian oil may be in the perception. Researchers disagree as to whether water pollution, water temperature, or lifespan of fish in any way affects the oil that those fish produce.
Consumers should be aware that many supplements marketed as Norwegian salmon oil contain mostly oil from Norwegian salmon, but are in fact a blend of other fish oils with differing fatty acid levels. If a consumer is after strictly Norwegian salmon oil, he or she should read labels carefully to be sure that a product is not a blend. Health supplements like fish oil are largely unregulated in most countries. This means that government agencies, like the U.S.’s Food and Drug Administration, do not carefully evaluate the claims made by health supplement producers, and do not regularly inspect ingredients for safety, potency, or legitimacy.
Fish oils, and salmon oils in particular, can be beneficial additions to most people’s diets. The efficacy of any supplement depends on the individual, however, and no claims of improved health should be treated as universally applicable. Also, while most doctors recommend and endorse fish oil, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor personally before beginning any long-term supplement regimen. While fish oil is widely lauded as beneficial, it can actually be harmful for people with certain conditions, particularly heart conditions.