Seven Seas produce a wide range of cod liver oil-based products. They are based in the UK, owned by the Proctor & Gamble company, and have been producing cod liver oil since the early 1935’s.
Although they make the ‘cod liver oil’ name quite apparent on their label, none of their products are pure cod liver oil. They are made up of a mix of cod liver oil and fish oil. Seven Seas cod liver oil falls into the ‘conventional’ cod liver oil category. Each Seven Seas cod liver oil varies slightly in nutritional information and dosage, so for this review, we are looking at the ‘omega-3 fish oil plus cod liver oil maximum strength product’. It is advertised as being Seven Seas’ highest strength cod liver oil, with a recommended dosage of 1 capsule a day.
It can be bought from various retailers, with an average price of £10, giving ~£0.17/ dosage.
|Ingredients||Quantity Per 1 Capsule||NRV*|
|Cod Liver Oil||570 mg|
|Fish Oil||315 mg|
|Proving Omega-3 Nutrients||308 mg|
|Of which EPA||134 mg|
|Of which DHA||116 mg|
|Vitamin A||750 μg RE||94%|
|Vitamin D||10 μg||200%|
|Vitamin E||10 mg α-TE||83%|
As with other conventional cod liver oils, the omega-3 fatty acids in Seven Seas cod liver oil will be made up of ethyl-esters. Ethyl-esters are not absorbed quite as well as naturally occurring triglycerides. Although essential for maintaining a healthy body, omega-3 fatty acids do not have a recommended daily intake. The quantity of omega-3 fatty acids is quite reasonable for a single dosage, but by no means high, and is certainly not ‘max strength’. People may consider taking 2 capsules to increase EPA and DHA intake further, but this will also increase vitamin A intake.
A single capsule provides roughly your daily requirement of vitamin A and twice your requirements of vitamin D3. Due to the processing methods, the naturally occurring vitamins have been removed from the oil, and vitamins D3, A, and E have been added into the oil to fortify it. Vitamin E is added to the oil to stabilize the oil from oxidative damage.
Vitamin D is the Cholecalciferol (D3) form, which is the most biologically active form. However, as it is added to the oil it will lack any naturally occurring metabolites. This is somewhat compensated for with the high dosage.
Vitamin A is in the Retinyl Palmitate form. This is one of the most abundant forms of vitamin A and is biologically active. The dosage of vitamin A is quite high, especially as many people may want to take more than one capsule. Vitamin A can be toxic in large dosages. 2, or even 3 capsules of Seven Seas cod liver oil alone doesn’t pose a risk. However, alongside dietary vitamin A and other supplements, such as multivitamins, the large vitamin A dosage may pose a risk, and is something to be aware of.
Seven Seas boasts a range of products that are mixed with their cod liver oil products, such as vitamin C. This allows customers to pick and choose products which they think are most suitable for them.
Being a large and well-established producer of cod liver oil in Europe, there is no reason to suspect Seven Seas cod liver oil contains high levels of any contaminants. Seven Seas are a well-established large producer, and because their oil is heavily processed already, I would expect them the remove their contaminants.
Seven Seas source their cod liver oil from Iceland, and mix it with fish oil sourced throughout Europe. The fish oil source is variable and will depend on various business factors. Although in recent history cod were heavily fished, their population is now rising, and Iceland adheres to very strict fishing quotas to maintain healthy cod populations. By mixing the cod liver oil with various fish oils Seven Seas do reduce their demand for any specific species of fish, which is more environmentally friendly. Fish oils are typically sourced from fish lower down the food chain, which again, is kinder to the environment. Overall, these products are quite reasonably environmentally friendly, although they are sold in plastic pots.
From Seven Seas
We always like to get in touch with the company and ask for more information on their product. It gives the company a chance to fill in any information gaps that they do not make public,
“Thank you for your email.
The ingredients come from different countries; with cod-liver oil from a supplier in Iceland. Our Fish Oils are sourced from a range of different oily fish, depending on the season and availability, and are not from farmed fish. We do not disclose the specific areas from which the fish we use are caught because this is subject to change depending on the time of year and availability, although typically it is Scandinavia. Furthermore, insisting upon fish caught in a certain area or ocean has the potential to lead to overfishing, which then causes issues with sustainability.
We are unable to share any lab test data, as this is commercially sensitive. However, Seven Seas are committed to ensuring that all our fish oils are responsibly sourced and we use the highest quality ingredients to deliver only the best products, tailored to your needs and manufactured to the highest standards and EU regulations on contaminants. As a responsible company our products are tested to the European standards for heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs as well as checking the peroxide values at the beginning and end of shelf life.
We hope this is useful, please let us know if you have any further questions.”
This is a typical response from a large company. Customer support is typically a ‘sales’ role. The response appeared to be copy/ pasted and didn’t address all the questions we asked about. Whilst this is disappointing, it is not surprising. They do make a strong emphasis on them being environmentally responsible.
Seven Seas are a very typical conventional cod liver oil. There is nothing to get excited about by their cod liver oil, but also no cause for concern. The nutritional content of the oil is mediocre, with more vitamin A than we’d like to see, and fewer omega-3s. There is little concern for contaminants though. As a company, they do acknowledge the importance of being environmentally friendly. On a personal level, their use of ‘Max Strength’ and emphasis on ‘Cod Liver Oil’ on their bottle is misleading.