60-second interview, Stuart Tomc, Nordic Naturals

Are you getting enough omega-3? ‘Stop guessing and start testing’

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Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-3 fatty acid

Tomc: Always read the label
Tomc: Always read the label
Elaine Watson caught up with Stuart Tomc, global educator at omega-3 expert Nordic Naturals at Expo West to get the lowdown on omega-3s.

Where is the omega-3 market going?

We don’t see the market slowing down at all. But I believe the next catalyst for consumers will be when omega-3s become prescribed for primary prevention along with statins and blood pressure medication, rather than just something your doctor might recommend to lower triglycerides or something to consider taking after a heart attack. What this will do for omega-3s in the natural products channel will just be incredible. The growth will be exponential.

Why would setting dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for EPA and DHA in the US be helpful?

We think DRIs will be really important for consumers to know how much they need and how much they are actually getting. Basically, we should stop guessing and start testing. It really helps if consumers can go to places like www.omega3test.com​ and do a test in their own home and prick the tip of their finger, send the blood sample into the lab and get sent the results, to see what their omega-3 levels really are. Look what this did for vitamin D. This is what is behind our ‘know your numbers’ campaign.

What’s next for omega-3s?

I think the next huge opportunity is brain health.

How can firms tackle the ‘yuck factor’ surrounding fish oil for some consumers?

There has been an incredible effort to get omega-3s into fun delivery formats for children or people that don’t want to take a supplement. We’ve got gummies and gel fishes and powdered effervescent omega-3s, which is just an exploding area.

What role do you see other sources of long-chain omega-3s beyond fish playing in the market in future?

We think algae will play a big role in the market in the future along with fish. We’ve got an algae omega product and I think as the market develops there will be room for all of these products.

What frustrates you when you walk into a store and look at the omega-3 supplements aisle?

My one concern is that marketers are misleading people that the way that fish oils are made has something to do with the mechanism of action – so you see these claims about cold pressed salmon as if it must be better. It’s also vital to read the label. Look at the dosage you are getting. And are you getting the natural triglyceride form or the ethyl ester form of fish oil?

Nordic Naturals does not use the FDA-approved qualified health claim on pack (‘Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease….’). Why not?

We don’t use the qualified health claim… because it is too qualified. There is clinical evidence out there that supports a much stronger claim than this.

Click here​ to read about novel delivery formats for omega-3s.

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Lets focus on the main issue - dosage, not form

Posted by Christopher Speed MND APD,

This is a great initiative and I applaud Nordic Naturals for doing this. The work of Bill Lands is why we know the importance of understanding our omega -3 levels as it is intimately associated with cellular inflammatory profiles. What concerns me here is the mixed and incorrect messaging around ethyl ester and "so-called" natural triglyceride omega-3 forms. The weight of research shows clearly that there is no difference and that the responsible message is getting Americans to 1,000mg EPA and DHA per day. Independent experts have reached consensus around this and do not stipulate the source needs to be in any particular form, from any specific fish species or fished from any specific ocean in the world. The sooner we all focus on a responsible message that is not driven by marketing gain, the better we will serve the health interest of humanity.

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Omega-3 and Chemotherapy

Posted by J. Wilson,

Thanks for an excellent article and interview. I believe taking omega-3 supplements regularly throughout the course of chemotherapy helped in terms of supporting my immune system during the five month course. I didn't have a cold, cough or any kind of infection the entire winter and perhaps it added to the efficacy of the chemo itself. I am currently free of disease (lung cancer) and continue to take omega-3 supplements regularly. I'm a believer!

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Omega 3 Testing

Posted by Keith Wakeman, Cherry Street Innovation,

Great story. Through Gene Smart, we've been working to build awareness of omega-3 testing for the past couple of years. Dr. Oz aired a show last year on omega-3 (& omega-6) testing that used Gene Smart's Omega-3 Test.

Omega-3 home test kits are also available at GeneSmart.com. The company markets the omega-3 test as part of its anti-inflammatory diet lifestyle.

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