Over the counter meds list the amount of Omega 3 (say 900 mg in a 1200 mg labeled bottle). Lavaza doesn't include such a listing. I take a 1gm pill of Lavaza. How much of that is Omega 3? Why should I pay the perscription cost when I can get fish oil at much less cost?
The over-the-counter supplements industry is unregulated because, despite the billions made in health claims, its products are not technically deemed medications. For that reason the industry is unregulated and it faces little-to-no inspections. What is actually in each capsule, pill, or tea bag varies and the levels of the intended supplement varies too. Sometimes dangerous substances are found in them so it pays to do careful research to learn which brands have passed safety and accuracy tests. That's the best one can do given the low standards the industry is required to meet.
Because of the lack of regulation, over-the-counter fish oil is a gamble regarding dosage amounts in each capsule, consistency, and even what is actually in each capsule (from non-harmful to harmful) just like all over-the-counter supplements.
Despite its numerous flaws, the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated. Hence, prescription Lovaza must contain the claimed levels of Omega 3, and it must contain only reported secondary ingredients and they must have been approved by the FDA.
Over-the-counter fish oil supplements require more capsules per day to obtain the same doses of Omega-3 so it pays to compare the cost of more over-the-counter capsules compared to the price of the Lovaza. If over-the-counter supplements are the way to go, then it is important to check the most current ConsumerLab test reports (at consumerlab dot com) of the most reliable brands in order to better ensure your safety and that you receive what you're paying for.
According to information that I found listed by Lovaza maker GSK, each 1 gram capsule of Lovaza contains at least 900 mg of ethyl esters of omega-3 fatty acids listed as EPA 465 mg and DHA 375 mg.
For example, if you are prescribed to take 4/day (2/AM and 2/PM) that would be 3,600 mg/day of ethyl esters of omega-3 from Lovaza.
As a comparison, each Costco Kirkland 1200mg Enteric Coated fish oil capsule contains 684 mg of ethyl esters of omega-3 fatty acids listed as EPA 410 mg and DHA 274 mg.
5/day (perhaps 2/AM and 3/PM) would give you 3,420 mg of ethyl esters of omega-3 from the Costco capsules. Slightly less than 3,600 mg/day of ethyl esters of omega that a 4/day Lovaza regime would give you, but pretty close. I think I just got some on sale at Costco for 10.99 for a 180 capsule bottle with a regular price of 12.99. Your local store might be different from my experience. The numbers here are for comparison only and not recommended dosages - do check with your doctor and all.
I do note that this Costco Kirkland brand is tested and verified by USP Dietary Supplement Standards, but also agree with previous response that supplement industry is not as well regulated as the pharmaceutical industry.
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