Benefits of Omega 3 Supplements
Benefits of Omega 3 Supplements
The list of potential benefits of Omega-3 supplements keeps getting longer as research continues to unravel the mysteries behind this all-star nutrient. A recent study, published in Science Translational Medicine, led by scientists from Harvard Medical School suggests that metabolites resulting from the breakdown of omega-3 fatty acids in the body may help support eye health. 1
The omega-3 metabolite, 4-hydroxy-docosahexaenoic acid (4-HDHA), was specifically found to support healthy blood vessels, although the mechanism by which 4-HDHA exerts its protective effects is not yet fully understood. The good news is that scientists continue to decipher the pathways and bioactive metabolites that 4-HDHA uses to support eye health.
The Health Benefits of Omega-3 Supplements
Omega-3 fatty acids are a chain of unsaturated fatty acids abundantly found in fatty fish like trout, mackerel, tuna and other cold water fish. Omega-3s, also called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential nutrients, critical to life itself and vital to many physiological functions. The two most important Omega-3 fatty acids under extensive study are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).The body cannot make EPA and DHA, and therefore depends on receiving the benefits of omega-3 by supplements or an intake through natural food sources. Scientific evidence suggests that the average American consumes very low quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. 2
The strongest and most established studies have linked the benefits of Omega-3 supplements directly to cardiovascular health. EPA and DHA are incorporated into the cellular membrane where they are thought to displace arachidonic acid (an omega 6 fatty acid). EPA produces compounds called eicosanoids which help maintain normal blood pressure levels already withing the normal range. They also help support normal blood clotting and overall heart health.
The Omega-3 supplements benefits, however, go far beyond supporting cardiovascular health. The gamut of potential benefits from this supplement is extremely impressive and includes brain health particularly in infant development and growth, joint health, skin health, immune health, cognitive health, breast health and many more. Based on research results, the National Institutes of Health lists several benefits, apart from supporting heart health, for which omega-3 supplementation may be effective. 3
6 Ways to Make Your Omega-3 Supplement Stand Out
According to the 2011 ConsumerLab's dietary supplement survey, Omega-3 supplements have superseded multi-vitamins for the second consecutive year. Fish oil supplements are now the number one supplement choice of Americans. Consumer awareness and interest in Omega-3 is likely to keep growing as the body of scientific research gets stronger. 4-5
Supplement companies looking to manufacture Omega-3 supplements may wonder how to make their product stand out amid hundreds of competing brands in the marketplace. Product differentiation is a key challenge. To make a successful entry, you should consider the following key factors:
1. Use high-quality, pharmaceutical grade fish oil: A 2008 ConsumerLab test revealed that 7 out of 24 products reviewed had quality problems such as: 6
- Products contained less than the claimed amounts of EPA and DHA
- The enteric coating released its oil too early
- The fish oil was rancid when purchased
Supplement manufacturers can avoid such common quality problems by using pharmaceutical grade fish oil which has the highest level of purity and potency. You can also increase purity levels by using fish oil derived from fish that are caught in higher latitudes where the waters are more isolated and therefore less likely to be polluted.
2. Eliminate Oxidation: Due to rapid oxidation, fish oil can go bad very quickly during storage. If capsules are not perfectly sealed hermetically, oxidation can easily occur causing the oil to go rancid. Can this happen to your fish oil supplements? Make sure it doesn't by using a high-quality gel capsule manufacturer who works within a GMP-certified facility. Incorporating Vitamin E into your fish oil formula can also further help stabilize the product and prevent oxidation during storage.
3. Get Rid Of Fishy Burps: Fish oil has a tendency to produce a fishy taste in the mouth or an unpleasant reflux. A lot of people do not like this and as a result, will not purchase fish oil supplements. Producing citrus Omega-3 supplements helps to reduce the fishy taste. Enteric coating also delays the release of fish oil from the capsule so that digestion takes place in the intestine and not in the stomach.
4. Offer Low- and High-Serving Options of EPA and DHA: The dosage of Omega-3 fatty acids is determined by the health objectives a consumer wants to achieve. Giving your customers a choice of dosage makes it convenient for your customers to choose a product according to their individual requirements. Those with a weak digestive system often experience mild gastro-intestinal disturbances with fish oil supplementation. A lower serving option may benefit such people as well.
5. Create an Omega-3 Supplement Option for Vegans and Vegetarians: A vegetarian version of Omega-3 supplements can be derived from flax or other plant sources rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA must be converted to EPA and DHA by the body in order to gain any Omega-3 supplements benefits. This conversion may vary with each individual but is still a popular amongst vegans and vegetarians. The DHA supplements derived from microalgae have an advantage over fish oil - they are thought to contain less contaminants. Although microalgae do not produce EPA, the DHA benefits they do provide may help support brain, eye, and heart health.
6. Sustainability: This seems to be a major issue these days. People are concerned about sustaining the earth's ecological systems. There are fears that over-fishing, which has escalated over the years, could lead to the eco-system collapsing. Krill oil is an alternative choice to traditional fish oil capsules. Krill are small shrimp-like crustaceans found abundantly on ocean floors. They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and also contain the powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin.
Popular Delivery Systems for Omega-3 Supplements
Fish oil is usually delivered in soft gel capsules. The addition of citrus or an enteric coating reduces the reflux effects.
A pilot study using a new delivery system for fish oil supplements was published in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. Using solid gelled emulsion instead of soft gel capsules may help increase the bioavailability of EPA and DHA by over 40 percent and eliminate fishy burps. This technology, once perfected, may introduce a totally new delivery concept for Omega-3 supplements. 7
The Rising Popularity of Omega-3 Supplements
In the United States the sale of Omega-3 supplements reached $980 billion in 2009, up 17 percent from the previous year, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, a market research company based in Boulder, Co. Packaged Facts, a leading provider of market research based in Maryland, reports the market for the Omega-3 group of fatty acids grew 34 percent from an estimated $3 billion to nearly $5 billion in 2007. 8-9
NutraScience Labs can help you manufacture a high-quality Omega-3 supplement. Depending on your target market and the condition-specific benefits you want to incorporate, we can help you formulate a unique formula. Call our customer service at (855) 492-7388 or request for a free quote.
1. Science Translational Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 69, doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001571
7. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ejlt.201000450
About the Author: Andrew Goldman
Andrew Goldman is the Vice President of Marketing for NutraScience Labs. In this role, he leverages his 10+ years of experience to develop cutting-edge initiatives for our firm.