AlaskOmega is a brand held by Coshocton, OH-based Organic Technologies, which also produces the Wiley’s Finest brand of omega-3 fish oils. The company pioneered the use of Alaska pollock remainders from filet production as a source of dietary supplement raw material, and boasts a dedicated rail tanker fleet to bring the crude oil directly to its NSF GMP certified refinery in Ohio. Rather than a “Made in USA” positioning, which can be a little problematical from a claims standpoint, the company touts the more precise slogan “Caught in Alaska. Refined in Ohio.”
Sustainability is a part of the brand equity, said Steve Dillingham, global director for AlaskOmega. The base Alaska pollock fishery is MSC-certified, and has been cited as one of the world’s fishery success stories, registering relatively stable levels of catch and overall biomass for decades.
Dillingham said the market for omega-7, or palmitoleic acid, is in its infancy, but the promise is significant.
“There are not as many human studies that have been done on omega-3s. But in insulin sensitivity, and in heart health, those are some areas that show promise,” Dillingham told NutraIngredients-USA. Other health indications mentioned by the company include anti inflammatory effects, antimicrobial effects, moisture replenishment of mucosal membranes and anti-aging benefits for skin, hair and nails.
“We are in discussion now to develop a research program for our product to be able to show its effects in humans,” Dillingham said.
The new ingredient is a way to more fully use the incoming raw material, boosting the sustainability message, Dillingham said. The production of omega-7 does not cannibalize the company’s existing omega-3 production scheme, he said.
“We fractionate our oil in our concentration process, and we were able to extract the omega-7s as well. Up to now we weren’t exploiting this fraction for health applications, and now we can devote it to a higher value product,” he said.
Organic Technologies says the highly refined oil is up to five times more concentrated than some forms of the omega-7 category benchmark, sea buckthorn oil.
“Organic Technologies is positioning our AlaskOmega Omega-7 Palmitoleic 500 concentrate as a high strength omega-7 alternative—basically a double strength sea buckthorn oil, at a more competitive price,” said Dan Wiley, vice president of nutrition and health at Organic Technologies.
Fish oil competitor
While the company stacks itself up against sea buckthorn, it does have an omega-7 competitor in the fish oil space, Ohio-based Tersus Pharmaceuticals. Tersus has a patent on its omega-7 ingredient which is sources from anchovy and menhaden oil. Dillingham acknowledged Tersus’s IP, but said Organic Technologies has a different enough formulation approach that the two don’t overlap. Tersus also touts how its refining process excludes the palmitic acid fraction, which has been associated with atherosclerosis, arthritis and weight gain. Dillingham said the small amount of palmitic acid in his company’s raw material is not worth worrying about.
“We are not taking out the natural palmitic acid that is in our raw material and we don’t see any reason to do so. The research shows that the body takes palmitic acid and converts it into palmitoleic acid,” he said.
The AlaskOmega brand will be promoting the new addition to the product line at the upcoming Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas at booth 1014.