Debunking Tiktok Myths: Nano Singapore Confronts “Fake Science” on Fish Oil Efficacy and Safety
- User ch***kim alleges that if fish oil melts styrofoam, it is toxic to human health
- Dr. Calvin Poh, Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, clarifies that dissolution does not equate to toxicity. He compares it to salt melting ice — it's simply a characteristic of salt and is not dangerous or indicative of poor quality
- Ethyl ester (EE) forms of fish oil react with Styrofoam faster but are used in the majority of cardiovascular-related clinical trials, demonstrating the benefits of omega-3s. This form is also the choice for the National Eye Institute’s AREDS 2 trial
- The claim about fish oil and Styrofoam has been a TikTok myth circulating since 2013 and has been discredited multiple times
At Nano Singapore, we prioritize the accuracy of information concerning health and wellness. Recently, a review on our TikTok Shop regarding our Omega-3 Fish Oil supplements has prompted discussions necessitating a detailed examination.
Addressing Claims Made in the Review by User “ch***kim”
In today’s environment, where misinformation can be widespread, it is critical for us to confront and clarify pseudoscientific claims. This approach is not only a matter of correcting inaccuracies but also a commitment to our consumers' well-being and trust in our brand.
Our response to such claims involves:
1. Swiftly addressing misinformation to protect consumers from potential health risks.
2. Ensuring a prompt and transparent response to maintain and reinforce consumer trust.
3. Providing clear and factual communication to uphold the integrity of our brand.
Expert Opinion on the Allegations
To further clarify the scientific aspects of the claims made, we consulted Dr. Calvin Poh, Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry & Biomedical Sciences from the National University of Singapore. Dr. Poh has identified several points for consideration:
1. The use of asbestos, as mentioned in the review, is illegal in Singapore. Since the late 1980s, asbestos materials and the import of raw asbestos have been banned, raising concerns about the legality of its acquisition.
2. Asbestos is known for its chemical inertness. Therefore, it is highly improbable that it would dissolve or react with omega-3 fatty acids, presumably from fish oil.
3. The images provided are unclear, making it difficult to ascertain the exact materials involved. However, the substance in question seems more likely to be Styrofoam rather than asbestos.
4. It is important to note that dissolution does not equate to toxicity. Common substances like salt and sugar dissolve in water without being toxic. The ability of salt to melt ice is a phenomenon to that is unrelated to the toxicity of a substance. Standard scientific methods exist for assessing chemical toxicity; using asbestos in such tests is not a valid approach, particularly given its known toxic and carcinogenic properties.
In an effort to thoroughly understand and address these concerns, we have reached out to the user 'chngskim' for additional information
What about Fish Oil and Styrofoam?
You might also have seen similar videos on TikTok or YouTube where people show oil dissolving things like Styrofoam to make a point about the oil's strength or quality.
Here are some examples.
It's an eye-catching trick, but scientists say it's not the best way to judge a health product like fish oil.
Here's the simple science: all oils, including the ones we eat, can make Styrofoam break down. This isn't dangerous or a sign of bad quality; it's just what happens when these two materials meet. Think of it like salt melting ice — it's just what salt does.
By its nature, polystyrene dissolves in some long-chain fatty acids found in natural fats and oils. This is not even a chemical reaction: just like sugar dissolves in water, polystyrene happens to dissolve in some types of fatty acids. And highly purified concentrated Omega-3 fish oils are one of the things that dissolve polystyrene. USANA
Why do some fish oils dissolve Styrofoam faster and some others slower?
There are two forms of Fish Oil Omega-3 fatty acids which are triglycerides (TG) and ethyl esters (EE). TG forms of fish oil take longer to react with Styrofoam than EE forms of fish oil. Both are beneficial and are similar to each other in stability, efficacy and absorption.
In short, the claim that the TG form is, in any clinically significant way, more advantageous or beneficial than the EE form is not supported by credible science at this time. The EE form has been used in the majority of cardiovascular-related clinical trials showing the benefit of omega-3s and is the choice for the National Eye Institute’s AREDS 2 trial. The EE form enjoys a strong safety profile when taken as directed, and a more highly concentrated, prescription EE product is approved by the FDA. ScienceBasedHealth
We have also consulted our expert panel advisor Dr John Lee (MD, Medicine) who also highlighted that “In 2016, the same “fake science experiment” on fish oil went viral on social media in Vietnam and its effect was further amplified when a clip on the biggest national broadcaster VTV showed how the omega-3 fish oil taken from two jars supposedly imported from China gradually made a hole through a Styrofoam sheet.
This created such a public concern that Vietnam’s National Institute for Food Control had to organize a press meeting and debunked this by demonstrating that fish oils from the US, China, and Vietnam all dissolve Styrofoam similarly due to their ethyl ester composition. Officials confirmed that such a reaction is not harmful to human health as polystyrene, the material in Styrofoam, is not found in the human body. Moreover, the fish oil jars featured in the original clip were illegally imported and of unknown origin.
You also may be interested on Dr John Lee (MD, Medicine)’s Fishy Business: 5 Omega-3 Myths You Should Stop Believing Now!
Separately we have also reached out to TikTok to request them to take down the “fake science” review that may have been a deliberate act to spread misinformation. We would also like to warn consumers to exercise great caution from taking products promoted by such individuals.
At Nano Singapore, we never compromise on safety and quality. The health, wellness and safety of our consumers is the heart of our business.
We operate both in Singapore and internationally. Our products are formulated in Singapore, and we appoint manufacturing to the best facilities around the world. Our existing manufacturers include USA, Malaysia, Australia, and HK (China), to produce our products. Our choice of manufacturing location is driven by various factors, including FDA and GMP certification, quality control, proximity to key markets, trade dynamics, and ensuring business continuity. These relationships are also not static and continuously evolving to better meet the needs of our customers.
In addition, all our manufacturers are required to comply with local HSA regulatory guidelines. We maintain strict quality control standards across all our facilities, regardless of their location. This ensures that every product, no matter where it is crafted, meets our high-quality benchmarks.
All the content on this blog, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, are solely to provide information only. Any information/statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and should NOT be a substitute for health and medical advice that can be provided by your own physician/medical doctor. We at Nano Singapore Shop, encourage you to consult a doctor before making any health or diet changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.