He believes natural fish oils, instead of the fast-growing chemically-modified omega-3 supplements that seem to be popping up everywhere, offer consumers a better option
VENICE, FL – For 16 years, Dr. Bo Martinsen – co-founder of Venice-based Omega3 Innovations – has championed omega-3 fish oils by touting the fatty acids’ numerous health benefits at both national and international speaking engagements.
“As a physician, I always tell my patients, if there is one simple thing you can do for your health, take a solid dose of omega-3 fish oil every day,” Martinsen says.
But recently, Martinsen, who co-owns the biotech company with his wife, Dr. Anne-Marie Chalmers, witnessed a growing trend in the industry – the market shift toward highly-concentrated fish oil supplements – that convinced him to alter his advice. As the market for fish oil grows, concentrates are becoming increasingly popular both in prescription and over-the-counter form.
A quick look around your local pharmacy shows the increasing presence of concentrated omega-3s, says Martinsen, who believes the industry’s market growth projections of eight percent a year through 2020.
And, the growth spurt in products created by this type of manufacturing process has him worried.
“I used to think that as long as we took an adequate dose of omega-3 every day, the type of oil didn’t matter,” he says. “But, the more I work with omega-3, the more I see that the quality and manufacturing process of the oil is crucial to consumer health.”
Martinsen says that some manufacturers – in an effort to increase the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA in the fish oil – transform the acids into new chemical structures known as ethyl esters. He notes that ethyl esters exist neither in nature, nor in the human body.
His research on chemically modified omega-3s versus natural fish oils has led him to create a blog titled “Seven Reasons the Omega-3 Industry is on the Wrong Track.” Omega-3 Industry is on the Wrong Track
“When we start changing the chemical structure of the omega-3 molecules, the body responds differently to the modified oil than it does to natural fish oil,” he explains. “Just like with genetically modified organisms, these chemical modifications are troubling because we don’t know how the body will fully respond for years.”
Martinsen says some other negative issues with concentrated omega-3s are rancidity, fewer fatty acids and natural vitamins, environmental waste, and the fact that they can be more expensive.
“The fact is that people can get the same amount of EPA and DHA from natural sources as is advertised in the concentrated products,” he says. “I believe we would all benefit greatly if the industry focused instead on improving the technology for making liquid fish oil that is fresh and sustainable.”
About Omega3 Innovations: Founded by Bo Martinsen, M.D., and Anne-Marie Chalmers, M.D. – two physicians who have worked with omega-3 fish oil for more than 16 years – the company offers several varieties of Omega Cookies, Omega Passion chocolates, as well as Omega Cure supplements. Each cookie contains seven capsules worth of omega-3 fish oil, five grams of fiber, 200% of the daily value of vitamin D and 35% of calcium. The company was an innovation winner at the 2010 annual Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County’s Hall of Fame awards and was nominated in this year’s young business category. Omega3 Innovations is the first to create a bakery product that contains an effective dose of omega-3 fish oil. For more information, visit www.omega3innovations.com.