A supplement called Cardia7, built around the benefits of omega-7 palmitoleic acid, a long chain fatty acid found in fish oil as well as sea buckthorn berries and macadamia nuts, has been launched by Ohio-based Omega Wonders.
The story of omega fatty acids has been becoming more complex as more research is done into the ingredients. First the message was: For optimum health, consumers need to get enough EPA and DHA via fish oil or one of the other sources (such as algal or krill oils). Then nutritionists began speaking of the importance of a proper ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s in the diet. Western diets now average about 10-1 or more omega-6 to omega-3; a 3-1 or lower ratio is thought to be more healthful.
Then researchers began looking into the benefits of omega-7s, specifically palmitoleic acid. This fatty acid has been gaining increasing notoriety in recent years, with industry trends observer Jeff Hilton calling it the “elusive omega” and one to watch in the coming year as sea buckthorn, one of the major plant sources, gains more attention.
“There are some great studies at Harvard and the Cleveland clinic on omega-7. I think omega-7 is going to surrass where omega-3 is,” said Bruce McMullin, founder of Sibu, a health products company based on sea buckthorn.
“Omega-3s definitely have benefits but omega-7 seems to take it to another level,” said Les Proctor, managing director of Omega Wonders, which is based in Cleveland, OH. “It supports healthy lipid metabolism. It supports healthy cholesterol levels.” The product and its research plan were developed under the aegis of Dr Michael Roizen, chairman of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
Anchovy oil source
The base ingredient in Cardia7 is branded as Provinal Purified Omega-7, and is manufactured by Tersus Pharmaceuticals, also based in Cleveland. The company sources its omega-7 base material from anchovy oil. It was originally a waste byproduct of the purifcation of fish oils for omega-3 supplements, Proctor said.
“They were burning it to get rid of it,” he said.
The ingredient consists of 51% pamitoleic acid, but more importantly, Proctor said, it contains only a trace amount of the antagonistic palmitic acid associated with atherosclerosis, diabetes, and weight gain. This less desirable fraction may be found in higher levels in some other sources of omega-7s, he said. The exclusion of palmitic acid is achieved through Tersus’ proprietary purifcation process. And the highly purified oil that results (in an ethyl ester form) results in few reports of ‘fishy burps’ from users, Proctor said.
“We think that it is because of the rigorous purification process it goes through. We can honestly say there is no purer omega,” he said.
The ingredient has GRAS status, Proctor said, via a petition filed with the aid of Seattle-based scientific and regulatory consultancy AIBMR. “That was one of the keys in developing a viable product, that and securing the supply chain,” Proctor said.