‘Clean’ omega-3 supplements offer better absorption, better nutritional value, better compliance, and better benefits for patients
Chances are, your patients are already familiar with omega-3 fatty acids. But it may surprise your patients to learn that the very nutrients they hope will help can actually hurt them.
Although omega-3 supplements are available almost everywhere, there are very few differences for patients about what to look for. And unfortunately, the quality of omega-3 fatty acids, most of which come in oil forms that may have been hard-processed and are likely to go rancid, is often questionable.
There is no doubt that sources of fish oil play a role. I think a single source like salmon is best. But procurement is also not the most important thing. Whether the supplement has been tested to verify its purity is a must.
Omega-3 supplements: purity and form
Various levels of testing are required to ensure the quality of a marine oil and extracts from marine sources. The heavy metal content must be assessed. There must also be an assessment of the exposure to harmful substances such as PCBs and residual pesticide components. All marine fish are contaminated to some extent. We weren’t good stewards of our environment. Unfortunately, the location of the fish harvest is no guarantee of purity – the evidence lies in the tests, regardless of where or how a fish is obtained.
In addition to purity, the form of an omega-3 preparation can also represent added value for your patients. For example, DHA is typically associated with phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylserine (PS), and EPA is associated with phosphatidylinositol (PI) in the brain. 1 Therefore, a phospholipid-bound omega-3 preparation that has been tested for purity, is more stable than oils and from a single source, salmon, makes the most sense.
Because this form is more stable, it’s a real bonus for patients struggling with fish oil because they don’t like fish burps, or for patients who get hit and miss with their supplement and the oil goes rancid. The absorption of omega-3 fatty acids is much better with phospholipids than with triglyceride-bound oils because they are simply more natural for the body. The dosage levels of this form of omega-3 supplement are low due to the superior absorption of only two per day. This is a far cry from conventional oils and practically guarantees better compliance.
Clean salmon omega-3 fatty acids
What Makes a Cleaner Form of Omega-3 Diet Supplement Made From Salmon? A unique process developed by French researchers at the University of Nancy. This process uses water and enzymes immediately after the catch – no intense heat or harsh solvents that could compromise the safety and benefits of omega-3s and other compounds. This process also means that the supplement is rich in phospholipids and peptides, and this could make all the difference for your patients. 2
Consider this in vitro study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry. The researchers pretreated neuronal cells with DHA from this phospholipid-linked omega-3 source for 48 hours before exposing these cells to soluble oligomers of amyloid beta peptide, a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
DHA pretreatment significantly increased neuronal survival and decreased damage. The researchers concluded that “such neuroprotective effects could be of great interest for the prevention of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases”. 3
Comparison of omega-3 oils
Fish oil, and to a lesser extent krill oil, have been available for some time and are likely to be familiar to your patients. Hence, it can be a challenge for them to consider another shape. You can remind them that while fish oil contains DHA and EPA, these essential fatty acids are prone to rancidity, difficult for humans to absorb efficiently in this form, and can cause oxidative stress and inflammatory damage. And while krill oil can provide omega-3 fatty acids and some phospholipids, it doesn’t provide the heart and neuron protective peptides found in the phospholipid-bound form of salmon.
The benefits of phospholipids as part of the dietary supplement cannot be ruled out – it turns what would otherwise be a standard omega-3 into a multi-nutrient addition to a patient’s treatment regimen. The list of these valued components that come from an omega-3 form of salmon reads like a who’s who of nutrients:
- Phosphatidylcholine (PC) – Helps in the production of neurotransmitters, supports nerve cells and protects the mitochondria from the risk of free radical damage.
- Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) – Supports the structure of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells for healthy brain function.
- Phosphatidylinositol (pl) – Plays an important role in nerve, brain and muscle signals.
- Sphingomyelin (Sph) – Found in the myelin sheaths of neurons; Your concentration in the brain is absolutely crucial for healthy cognitive processes.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) – Often recommended as a standalone nutrient for broad spectrum brain health including mood and working memory.
Without a doubt, omega-3 fatty acids have shown remarkable benefits. Essential fatty acids hold cells together and protect them from intruders. EPA and DHA from fish oil improve heart health and blood profile, relieve pain through anti-inflammatory effects, improve immunity, improve mood, relieve symptoms of ADHD and menstrual cramps, promote brain and vision development in infants and children, and help with treatment from depression. 4-9
Omega-3 fatty acids and bioavailability
Including omega-3s in your diet is known to be really important. But they are only valuable if they are not oxidized and bioavailable. If you have patients struggling to adhere to an omega-3 regimen, it may be time to reconsider delivering these nutrients with a clean, pure, and effective source for consistent, lasting benefits.
This phospholipid-bound form of omega-3 fatty acids from salmon is easy for patients to adhere to. Just two tablets a day can help reset your patients’ experiences and expectations as they see concrete results on their way to optimal health.
Terry Lemerond is a natural health expert with over 40 years of experience. He owned health food stores, founded nutritional supplement companies, and formulated more than 400 products. As a published author, he appears on radio and television and is a frequent guest speaker. He can be contacted via europharmausa.com.
- Dyall SC. Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the Brain: An Overview of the Independent and Joint Effects of EPA, DPA, and DHA. Front Aging Neurosci. 2015, April 21; 7:52.
- Analysis at Nancy University, INPL-ENSAIA; Food Science and Technology Laboratory, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France.
- Florent S., Malaplate-Armand C., Youssef I. et al. Docosahexaenoic acid prevents the neuronal apoptosis induced by soluble amyloid beta oligomers. J Neurochem. 2006 Jan; 96 (2): 385- 95.
- Fish oils. In: Hendler SS, ed. PDR for dietary supplements. 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Physician’s Desk Reference; 2008: 208- 214.
- Kendall-Tackett K. Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Mental Health of Women in the Perinatal Period and Beyond. J midwifery womens health. 2010; 55 (6): 561- 7th
- Rocha Araujo DM, Vilarim MM, Nardi AE. What is the Effectiveness of Using Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Treating Depression? Expert Rev Neurother. 2010 Jul; 10 (7): 1117- 29
- Chang JP, Chen YT, Su KP. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (n-3 PUFAs) in Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) and Depression: The Missing Link? Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2009; 2009: 725310. Epub 2009 Sep 27.
- Parmentier M., Al Sayed Mahmoud C., Linder M., Fanni J. et al. Polar lipids: n-3 PUFA carriers for membranes and brain: nutritional concern and emerging processes. Oleagineux, Corps Gras, Lipids; Volume 14 (Edition 3): 2007; P.224-9.
- Bourre JM. The role of unsaturated fatty acids (particularly omega-3 fatty acids) in the brain at different ages and during aging. J Nutr Health Aging. 2004; 8 (3): 163-163; 74.