Omega-3 supplement specialist Nordic Naturals has met growing demand for products that deliver the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA - minus the fish - with the launch of its new vegetarian Algal Omega brand.
While algal DHA has been on the market for years, and those seeking to avoid fish can also buy EPA/DHA from krill oil, algal products containing both EPA and DHA have only hit the market relatively recently.
Recent launches include Schiff Nutrition’s Plant Omega supplements and Darigold’s Omega-3 2% milk, which contain DSM/Martek’s ‘fishless fish oil’ DHO-O from the algae strain Schizochytrium sp.
Global Health Trax’s new Omega-3 Origins supplement range, launching later this year, will use AlgaeBio’s EPA/DHA blend .
A high-quality source of EPA and DHA from a non-fish source
Nordic Naturals' Algae Omega range is available in soft gels and liquid, said chief executive Joar Opheim.
“In order to support our mission of correcting the global omega-3 deficiency, we are committed to bringing innovative new products to market in order to meet the individual needs of our customers.
“We formulated Algae Omega with vegetarians in mind, and for anyone wanting a readily available, high-quality source of EPA and DHA from a non-fish source.”
Algae Omega delivers the daily dose of 500mg of combined EPA and DHA and offers “complete nutritional support for normal vision, heart health, positive mood, immunity and the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response”, says the firm.
Product development manager Tone Larsen would not say whether Nordic Naturals' algal oil was supplied by DSM/Martek, but said it was "from a strain of algae called Schizochytrium that is closely related to 'golden algae'... a non-GMO product and is fairly unique in that it is rich in both EPA and DHA".
Larsen added: "Until now, it has been difficult to find a plant-based source of omega-3s with high levels of both EPA and DHA. Algae Omega has been very well received by vegetarians, vegans, and others who want the health benefits of a marine omega-3 supplement from a source other than fish."
The product comes with a "modestly higher price" tag than omega-3 fish oil products.
The yuck factor?
According to a recent survey conducted by Discovery Research Group in partnership with krill oil supplier Aker BioMarine, 37% of US supplement users say they would rather take something other than fish oil as an omega-3 supplement.
The survey involved 705 US consumers who take a multi-vitamin or other nutritional supplement and indicated an interest in health, wellness and fitness.
When asked why they did not want to take fish oil, the most common reasons given were bad taste, bad aftertaste, fishy burps, bad smell, and large capsule size. Click here for more details.
The growth of ‘fishless fish oil’
Derived from a different species of the microalgae used to produce its life’sDHA brand, DSM/Martek’s DHO-O oil contains half as much EPA as DHA, giving it a fatty acid profile similar to many fish oils.
The oil, which is self-affirmed GRAS, also got an initial thumbs up from EU regulators late last year.
Meanwhile, the initial output of AlgaeBio Omega-3 Origins oil will contain equal parts of EPA and DHA, at a blended ratio of 40%.