Dispatches from Supply Side West

Valensa extends omega-3 portfolio with new ALA ingredient

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acid

Florida’s Valensa International has launched a new extract of perilla, said to contain an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 6:1 and with a two-year shelf life.

The ingredient – obtained using supercritical CO2 extraction and called Omega Joe ALA – is obtained from seeds of Asian Perilla frutescens​ plant and is extracted using the company’s proprietary Deep Extract extraction process.

According to Valensa, the ingredient features the company’s potent O2B peroxidation blocker technology, giving the product an extended shelf life of two years.

Unbalanced Intake

The beneficial role that polyunsaturated fatty acids can have on health is well established. However when their intake is unbalanced, these essential fatty acids can enhance factors that can induce obesity, and may have serious long-term effects on human health.

During the last forty years Western societies have seen increases in the level of calories ingested, alongside an increase of over 250 percent in levels omega-6 intake and a fall in levels of omega-3 of 40 percent. This change in diet has coincided with a steady rise in obesity levels through the generations.

Over this time the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in a typical Western diet has shifted from the recommended 5-to-1, to 15-to-1 in much of Europe, and can be as high as 40-to-1 in the United States.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that the body cannot make, and therefore must be consumed in the diet. Good sources of ALA include: flaxseed, soybeans, walnuts, and olive oil. The U.S Institute of Medicine recommends an ALA intake of 1.6 grams per day for men and 1.1 grams per day for women.

Supplementing the Western Diet

The health benefits associated with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) consumption include cardiovascular effects, neuro-protection, a counter to the inflammation response, and benefits against autoimmune disease (Nutrition Reviews​, 2008, Vol. 66, pp. 326-332).

“Studies on the ratio of linoleic acid (LA) to alpha linoleic acid (ALA) in diets show dramatic evidence that the nations where that ratio is high have much greater incidence of mortality from cardiovascular disease,”​ said Dr Rudi Moerck, President and CEO of Valensa.

“Research also suggests that a number of health conditions that are prevalent in Western nations such as diabetes, asthma, and certain forms of cancer, obesity and even mental health are believed to stem from inflammation in the body related to ‘modern’ eating habits.

“This suggests that regular supplementation with a plant-based omega-3 such as chia, flax or Omega Joe ALA should start in early years and become a lifelong routine for people having ‘typical’ Western diets,”​ he added.

“On the cardiovascular health front alone, low levels of ALA consumption have been reported to have profound effects either before or after myocardial infarction (MI). The scientific literature indicates that ALA is itself a very potent down-regulator of the LA-AA pro-inflammatory cascade,”​ said Dr Moerck.
“Published biological rate studies indicate that ALA, as a substrate for the key rate limiting step in the shared biological cascade, is actually four times faster than LA conversion. We think this research is too important to be ignored by the natural products industry,”​ he added.

Plants versus fish

Despite the apparent benefits of ALA, the longer-chain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have received more study from scientists and more attention from the consumers.

It is time for ALA to take its position alongside DHA and EPA, said Moerck.

“Beyond a broad range of demonstrable health benefits, plant-based omega-3s are inherently lower in heavy metals and are sustainable – while conventional fish oils are problematic. They offer better consumer compliance from a taste and ingestion standpoint. They have the potential to be lower in cost and can be provided to a broader section of the population. Most importantly, they potentially offer support for some of the chronic health issues we associate with the Western lifestyle,”​ he said.

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ALA versus EPA & DHA

Posted by Bob Corish,

EPA and DHA are the ultimate functional omega 3 PUFAS utilized by cells. ALA must 1st be converted to these functional fatty acids. Although it holds significant importance, it is still only a precursor rather than an EFFECTOR

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Very Interesting

Posted by Dan the Omega Man,

Omega 3 seems to be so beneficial to your health. I was under the impression that DHA and EPA were so much better then ALA. I will have to research this more.

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