“The consumer awareness for omega-7 is relatively low, certainly when compared against omega-3. There is already some awareness on the consumer side from products containing omega-7, mostly from alternate sources such as sea buckthorn oil, but there is a long way to go,” Steve Dillingham – Global Director, AlaskOmega Ingredients at Organic Technologies told us.
The company’s AlaskOmega Omega-7 Palmitoleic 500, is a highly concentrated form (min. 50% omega-7), for food, supplement, and cosmetic formulations.
“Our omega-7 is derived from MSC-certified Wild Alaska Pollock, the same source material as we use for our omega-3 concentrates,” said Dillingham.
Scientific interest in cis palmitoleic acid started around the beginning of the new millennium, but awareness among the scientific community also remains low, said Gretchen Vannice, Head of Global Nutrition Education at Organic Technologies. Vannice co-chaired and opened a session on omega-7 at the recent 12th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) in South Africa. The session reviewed research conducted over the past 15 years on the potential health benefits of palmitoleic acid.
“One of the reasons we did the session was to stimulate interest in omega-7,” Vannice told us. “Data from animal and cell culture studies show that cis palmitoleic acid has many benefits, including improving glucose and insulin uptake, improving beta-cell function, decreasing markers of inflammation, and modifying fat uptake in tissues.”
“One short-term supplement trial suggests beneficial effects on blood lipids, but how these findings translate into human health benefit is unclear,” she added.
There is also promising work with palmitoleic acid and skin health, perhaps healing tissue and hydrating mucous membranes, etc, and numerous sea buckthorn-based cosmetic products are commercially available.
“Palmitoleic acid is a unique monounsaturated fat, second only in abundance to oleic acid in the diet,” sheexplained. “Twelve percent of total calories in the US diet come from monounsaturated fats, and the majority is oleic acid. There are very few food sources for palmitoleic acid – you can find it in fish, in macadamia nuts, and in sea buckthorn berries.
“Interestingly, humans synthesize palmitoleic acid, and it’s the fifth most abundant fatty acid in the body.”
Vannice noted that more human and mechanistic research is needed, and is pleased that Organic Technologies is taking the lead by actively conducting studies with leading researchers worldwide to document effects of its AlaskOmega Omega-7 Palmitoleic 500.
“In terms of the research, we’re probably where omega-3s where 20 years ago,” she said.
Coshocton, OH-based Organic Technologies 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.