Where omega-3s may be headed

Steve Dillingham, general manager at fish-oil supplier GC Rieber Oils, ponders the future of fish-oil research

FI: Is there anything that can significantly move the needle to new heights?

SD: I would like to see an official DRI for omega-3 in the US, as it is quite confusing now for consumers to find a practical consensus, based on all the different studies and qualified opinions supporting different omega-3 levels out there.

I would also like to see more public studies on the health effects of DHA at various stages of life, from prenatal, childhood development on through to the elderly, as much has been done to-date on the EPA side of omega-3 toward heart health.

FI: “Omega-3” is a resonant term with consumers – even though the health benefits are not from omega-3s per se (I’m thinking ALA or SDA), but rather specifically from EPA and DHA. Are some manufacturers pulling a bait-and-switch?

SD: ‘Omega-3’ is a good start, but obviously the more information and understanding one has on the source of omega-3, and the specific amounts of EPA and/or DHA, the better. The advent of omega-3 concentrates is helping to distinguish the difference with consumers, however, as they realize that fish oil (30% omega-3) is quite different from an omega-3 concentrate (typically >60% omega-3), based on the amount of omega-3 intake they are trying to achieve.

We still have a long way to go on educating consumers in this regard, however, as the market is flooded with misunderstandings and crafty marketing executions adding confusion between overall omega-3 levels versus EPA and DHA levels, per serving size.

FI: Differentiation in the supply market seems to be gaining sway – high concentrates, full-spectrum, krill, DHA-specific. What’s your marketable difference?

SD: First, although we do offer a portfolio of omega-3 concentrates in the 60-70% total omega-3 range in popular EPA/DHA ratios, our forte is making high-omega concentrates up to 90 percent DHA in the triglyceride form.

Our newest product innovation is our VivoMega 70 DHA Ultra TG – a 90% Total Omega-3 concentrate offering min. 650 mg/g DHA and 50 mg/g EPA (min. 90% TG). This unique product is intended for formulators who are looking to include high DHA levels in a smaller capsule size, or in multiple ingredient formulations, targeting the prenatal, childhood development, brain and eye-health markets.

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