Funding by the Norwegian Research Council to the tune of eight million Norwegian Kroner over four years, will fund studies of the 30 or so fatty acids that occur naturally in marine oils, which could benefit human health in years to come.
“This award from the Norwegian Research Council is an endorsement of our vision. We’re honoured to receive it and excited to start exploring the opportunities it offers,” explains Iren Stoknes, research and development manager at Epax.
“There are thousands of papers and clinical studies demonstrating the health benefits of marine lipids.
“Most of these have focused on the well-known Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, but there are more than 30 different fatty acids that occur naturally in marine oils.”
Oceans of Possibilities
As part of the Norwegian firm’s ‘Oceans of Possibilities’ initiative, Epax are currently developing its new NovusLipid product range that will contain these newly discovered long chain fatty acids, alongside established ones.
In the long-term the range will look to contribute to improving reproductive and skin health as well as established benefits such as cardiovascular, cognitive and eye health.
In 2019, the firm sunk €32m in upgrading its facilities and capacity in Ålesund in response to consumer demand for high-potency omega-3 oils with the firm expecting to boost output by over 50% by 2021.
Pelagia-owned Epax has already formed a number of research collaborations with academic institutions supplying test materials for pre-clinical research, with clinical studies taking place at a later stage.
These collaborations include one with the research institute Nofima with research linked to an Epax-sponsored PhD. The publication is expected in 2021.
The firm’s omega-3 oils came under the microscope recently in a study linking their use to enhanced neural blood flow.
This boost in blood volume could possibly prevent memory decline caused by restricted blood flow or brain cell inflammation.
“DHA is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in the brain having a series of important effects preventing inflammatory brain cell death, which is the pathological basis for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr Morten Bryhn, scientific advisor at Epax.
“EPA being another marine omega-3 fatty acid is present in less amount in the brain, although enriched in arterial endothelium engaged in maintaining arterial tone and blood flow.”