Omega-3's Rise in Popularity

September 21, 2010

By Andrew Goldman, Nutricap Labs  

By Andrew Goldman, Nutricap Labs

 

Omega-3...s benefits are astounding and real. The fact that the public is well aware of the varied health benefits of fish oil capsules is evidenced by a recent survey (on 6012 people) conducted online by ConsumerLab.com. The survey showed that omega-3 supplements are now at the top of consumers... shopping list of dietary supplements, with 74% of respondents reporting that they take omega-3 supplements regularly. The next most popular category was multivitamins, which 72% of respondents reported taking. It...s mind-boggling: more Americans today are taking omega-3 supplements than they are multivitamins.

This news made for an interesting read, even as private-lab testing, at the request of environmental lawyers, revealed that many of the popular fish oil capsules in the market today'”and there are more than a hundred of them'”may contain unhealthy levels of PCB toxins. Although tests were only done on 10 brands of fish oil capsules, the negative test reports may impact consumers... impression of fish oil capsules. Manufacturers will need to work harder in enforcing and ensuring higher-quality manufacturing of fish oil capsules. Manufacturers with a known reputation for quality or for fish oil capsules that are verified by third-party lab testing will obviously have a competitive advantage over other brands in the market.

Because omega-3...s many benefits are substantiated by strong research, the surge in sales of omega-3 supplements is more than likely to continue.

Omega-3 health benefits include:

'¢ Supports cardiovascular and arterial health
'¢ Exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and is useful for reducing inflammation and pain. Supports joint health.
'¢ Supports brain health, promoting concentration and long-term cognitive functions
'¢ Promotes mental well-being
'¢ Supports eye health
'¢ Supports prenatal and postnatal development of the brain and eyes
'¢ Promotes fat metabolism
'¢ Promotes cellular health

In the 1980s, new manufacturing techniques were able to produce a type of fish oil that was derived from the whole fish, and not just the liver. Although this step was an upgrade in the manufacturing process, and produced the best fish oil capsules available for that time, it did not solve the problem of impurities being present in fish oil. Fish oil contains toxins, PCBs, and metal contaminants such as mercury and lead. Although fish oil was considered healthy, most people during the time loathed taking fish oil because of its obnoxious taste. With the invention of soft-gel encapsulation, this problem was solved, but another problem emerged: how could one teaspoon of fish oil be encapsulated and yet still allow the capsule to be of a size that would be easy to swallow?

Today, high-tech manufacturing processes such as molecular distillation are able to remove a large percentage of the impurities in fish oil. This same process produces a higher concentration of fish oil'”higher potencies of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Only a minute quantity of this pharmaceutical-grade fish oil is required in one encapsulation.

There are various grades of fish oil available in the market. Pharmaceutical-grade fish oil holds the highest level of purity and potency. Many people experience bloating or mild indigestion with fish oil capsules, but further advances in formulating have introduced enteric-coated fish oil capsules. This special enteric coating allows digestion of fish oil to take place in the intestine, and not in the stomach. The advantage includes no fishy after-burps and reduced side effects common to non-enteric fish oil capsules.

Consumers now enjoy the health benefits of fish oil capsules conveniently encapsulated, without the impurities. This, combined with the expanding research on omega-3 benefits, has led to the increased usage of omega-3 supplements. As science continues to affirm the rich benefits of omega-3 supplements on health, the market for fish oil capsules will continue to flourish. From 2006 to 2010, the U.S. market for fish oil capsules has more than doubled and is valued at an estimated $1 billion. Expect those numbers to grow.

About Nutricap Labs:
Nutricap Labs is a vitamin supplement manufacturing service, providing nutritional tablets, capsules, powders, liquids, and creams. The company also offers label and packaging design services and order-fulfillment services.
Visit the company's website for more information