Consumer awareness of omega-3s growing strong.

When Americans seek a functional ingredient, there's only one that they look for more than omega-3 fatty acid – fiber. And while folks have been focused on fiber for a while, consumer awareness that omegas may be more than frat boys is relatively recent. The growing power of omega-3s in functional food and beverages is documented in research by Global Organisation for EPA and DHA omega-3, (GOED) and noted in a story on

Nearly 85 percent of all omega-3 based products that are launched remain on the market. “This demonstrates a substantial interest, continued consumption and demand for beverages in the omega-3 category,” writes Benjamin Mamola, co-founder and CEO of Mycell Technologies which owns Oceans Omega which produces omega-3 liquid ingredient solutions.

Americans' aversion to glugging pills helps the popularity of functional foods and beverages containing the fatty acid. More than 40 percent of Americans either cannot or do not like taking pills, according to the story.

The research reveals that people 49 years and older consume omega-3 most frequently, while there is significant usage among 18-47 year olds. Younger people, however, may get the biggest (brain) bang for the omega buck, according to recent research. The fatty acid may help with attention and cognition in children.

One June 2012 study, published in the journal Nutrition, looked at 90 children, ages seven to 12, who rated high on measures of ADHD. Some were given 500 mg EPA/DHA-rich fish oil, while others were given safflower oil. After four months, those who saw a boost in DHA in their blood saw significant improvements in reading and fewer behavior problems. Another trial, published by University of Oxford researchers in 2012, looked at 224 kids between ages seven and nine who scored poorly on school reading tests and found the worst readers saw scores improve by as much as 50 percent above what was expected after supplementing with 600 mg daily of algae-based DHA.

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