NutraCast: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Expert Bill Harris, PhD

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

NutraCast: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Expert Bill Harris, PhD

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acid Dha omega-3 Omega-3 index

William Harris, PhD, has been researching fatty acids for over 40 years. To date, he has published more than 300 papers on these nutrients. And recently, he has been ranked in the top 2% of scientists worldwide.

“I found out about it, a friend of mine, who's a biostatistician ran into it somewhere and sent me a text, congratulating me. And I was like what's that about? So, I looked it up,”​ explained Harris, who was ranked among 160,000 other scientists -- dead and alive. 

Harris founded OmegaQuant in 2009 and in 2020 he founded the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI), a non-profit research and education foundation that focuses on publishing high-quality research studies on the multiple relationships between fatty acid levels and health outcomes.

This week, new research led by Harris was published in Nature Communications,​ which found those people with higher omega-3 EPA and DHA blood levels (i.e., Omega-3 Index) lived longer than those with lower levels. 

In 2004, Harris co-invented the Omega-3 Index which has been used by him and many others in hundreds of other research papers. One day Harris hopes the omega-3 test will make its way into routine medicine. 

“This is a big challenge, to try and standardize an omega-3 status test that can be used routinely in medicine. So if there's anything that's my big goal, that's it.”

When asked what he’s most proud, Harris pointed to the omega-3 story. 

“I have been pretty consistent. Probably more than most scientists,” ​said Harris. “With very few diversions, it's been the omega-3 story. If you want to pick a topic to study, you gotta hope that it continues to bear fruit because I could have gone down a dead end. You know, gotten interested in ‘nutrient x’ that nobody ever cared about never did anything, but it turns out omega-3 was a great horse to get on early on and the ride has been fun.”

To learn more about Harris’ latest research and how he plans to get the omega-3 index test into routine medicine, listen to the NutraCast.

You can also subscribe on iTunes​, Spotify ​, Stitcher​ and Google Podcasts​ or wherever you get your podcasts,

NutraCast is a podcast that focuses on insights from inside the nutrition industry. It is a production by NutraIngredients-USA. Music by Kevin Macleod.

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