It’s been a big year for science and research in the omega-3 space, Ellen Schutt, executive director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (or GOED for short) told us. And as conflicting headlines abound regarding the human health benefits of omega-3s, healthcare practitioners may be the industry's best ally.
GOED’s new initiative starts with a website called FatsOfLife.com. “We just launched the campaign last month, so this is brand new,” she told us at the SupplySide West expo last week in Las Vegas.
The trade group spent time researching the healthcare practitioner community to determine who to talk to, and decided that nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, as well as pharmacists, are the audiences that are most likely to have conversations with consumers about omega-3s. The site compiles studies done to date that looked at the benefits of omega-3s for heart, brain, eye, and prenatal health.
“In the nurse practitioner example, they’re the ones that are the first person you see at a doctor’s office who asks you the lifestyle questions about diet and exercise, and by the way, do you take supplements? So to educate them about omega-3s in that environment makes a lot of sense,” Schutt said.
The new Fats Of Life site departs from the usual standards of the supplements industry in that it is non-DSHEA compliant and uses disease language.
Because of that, several warnings and reminders appear on the site, notifying visitors that it was exclusively built for healthcare practitioners.
In addition, GOED also paid for a separate Continuing Education (CE) program for pharmacists through Pharmacy Times, in which pharmacists can earn credits. "All practitioners are required to continue to get education credits throughout their career, by attending conferences, reading info packets, and so on," she said.
“Our goal is of course to increase the number of doctors who recommend omega-3s, but it’s also to increase the number of patients to whom they recommend,” Schutt said.
“Because we talk to these nurse practitioners and they said, ‘oh yeah, we recommend omega-3s.’ But then we’d say, ‘do you recommend them to all of your patients? To 50%?’ And really it was to 25% of their patients, so we want to make them understand that omega-3s are important to everyone they’re talking to.”