Lipids and Nutraceuticals March/April 2021
by Laurence Eyres FNZIFST and Mike Eyres
This year’s AGM for the Oils and Fats Specialists Group and social dinner will be postponed until much later in 2021 due to COVID and other issues in Auckland.
Omega-3 supplements have been around for over 50 years. The early products were composed of fish oil which had been refined and deodorized and then filled into soft gel capsules. The most popular example was a product called MaxEpa. This product was used in quite a lot of clinical trials. The early fish oil supplements were basically simple low concentration mixtures of EPA and DHA and these are known as the 1812 products. The majority were cheap with poor stability so were criticized for their fishy taste, causing fish burps (eructation) and they had high peroxide and anisidine values (TOTOX).
Since then, more sophisticated products have been developed based on molecular distilled, highly purified (adsorption) and concentrated extracts which have been processed to remove all contaminants including heavy metals and PAH. These new products show no sign of eructation or fish burps. If you wish to research choosing an omega-3 supplements it pays to look for branded products and research their websites to see from where they get their products and how they purify them.
Environmentally concerned people will look for products that meet the guidelines of marine stewardship. It is especially useful to study the work of GOED (https://goedomega3.com/) who have white papers on standards and updates on raw materials and processing techniques plus detailed investigations into erroneous analytical publications criticizing current omega-3 supplements.
Essentially one is looking for an extremely low oxidized material being low in peroxide and anisidine values with examples of control procedures such as certificates of analysis and supply audits.
Professor Philip Calder strong recommendation is to have at least 1 g long chain omega-3 per day. Good quality supplements have >50 % long chain omega-3 per capsule so one need only take 2 soft gels per day.
More sophisticated purified omega-3 concentrates are now being marketed containing a correct concentration of natural antioxidants and lipid soluble material such as vitamin D and coenzyme Q10 that will enhance the activity of the Omega 3. A good example of high- quality omega-3 with vitamins and coenzyme Q10 can be found at the following source: https://www.abouthealth.co.nz/.
There is a lot of fuss about the use of krill oil. This oil is extracted from krill (whale food) and its marketing is based on the fact that the omega-3 is in the form of phospholipids which are reputed to have a much higher bioavailability compared to natural triglyceride forms. Whilst this has some strong theoretical basis, we believe this is yet to be proven and the environmental effects of harvesting food that whales eat has been questioned.
There is a good review of quality supplements on the following website:
SeaDragon Omega 3 Powder
Hawkins Watts and SeaDragon have entered into a collaborative distribution agreement.
SeaDragon is New Zealand’s largest refiner and blender of high-quality, internationally certified Omega-3 oils. Their products are sourced from algae and by-products from fish caught in the clean, pure waters of New Zealand, the South Pacific and other certified- sustainable sources.
Specialising in high DHA oils and powders for brain and eye health with superior organoleptic properties, their products are derived from algae, NZ Hoki and Tuna and refined to world-leading standards. SeaDragon has developed technologies delivering functional Omega-3 powders with a superior organoleptic profile, creating exciting opportunities to include the goodness of DHA into an array of food products. Obviously, having a refinery in New Zealand dramatically shortens lead times and improves product freshness for local customers.
SeaDragon holds numerous certifications to ensure quality, market eligibility and sustainability practices. These include following and exceeding the GOED Monograph’s standards – the global organisation which sets quality standards for EPA and DHA, fishery sustainability certifications from Friend of the Sea and Marine Stewardship Council, and their refinery is FSSC22000 certified.
Hawkins Watts is a proud, locally owned food ingredient company with sales and manufacturing operations in Australia and New Zealand. Across the group, they have 30 food technologists on staff and multiple R&D laboratories. With a core competence is in texture, nutrients, colours and flavours, Hawkins Watts also provide technical support and R&D services in addition to ingredient supply. Their food ingredients are premium quality, sourced from many of the world’s leading manufacturers. What really sets them apart is their knowledge, experience, and problem-solving capability. Hawkins Watts also supplies other specialist lipid products and ingredients.
For more information and samples, contact Alan Bulmer. Ph: +64 9 622 8798 or Email:
Novel Lipid research and the endocannabinoid system
Researchers led by a team at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have found that two naturally occurring lipids can be converted, via a cellular process known as epoxidation, into potent agents that target multiple cannabinoid receptors in neurons, to interrupt pathways that promote pain and inflammation. The modified compounds, called epo-NA5HT and epo- NADA, have much more powerful effects than the molecules from which they are derived—N- arachidonoyl-dopamine (NADA) and N-arachidonoyl-serotonin (NA5HT)—which can also act to regulate pain and inflammation.
Reported in Nature Communications, the team’s study opens a new avenue of research in the effort to find alternatives to addictive opioid pain killers. “Understanding pain regulation in the body is important because we know we have an opioid crisis,” said study lead Adita Das, PhD, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign comparative biosciences professor. “We’re looking for lipid-based alternatives to opioids that can interact with the cannabinoid receptors and in the future be used to design therapeutics to reduce pain.”
Das and colleagues reported on their findings in a paper titled, “Anti-inflammatory dopamine- and serotonin-based endocannabinoid epoxides reciprocally regulate cannabinoid receptors and the TRPV1 channel,” in which they concluded, “The epoxide metabolites are bioactive lipids that are potent, multi-faceted molecules, capable of influencing the activity of CB1, CB2, and TRPV1 receptors … These molecules are potential candidates for the development of pain therapeutics.”
Opioids are highly addictive pain medications that are susceptible to abuse, the authors wrote. They cite CDC figures indicating that just five years ago the age-adjusted death rate by opioid overdose was nearly 20 per 100,000. “Hence, there is a need for therapeutic alternatives to opioids that combat inflammation and the associated pain.”
The newly reported work is part of a long-term effort to understand the potential therapeutic by-products of lipid metabolism, a largely neglected area of research, said Das. While many people appreciate the role of dietary lipids such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in promoting health, the body converts these fat-based nutrients into other forms, some of which also play a role in the healthy function of cells, tissues, and organ systems.
To read the full paper visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-20946-6
AOCS is forming an Avocado Oil Expert Panel and they are looking for interested parties. The panel, chaired by Dr. Selina Wang, Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, will follow the pattern of the influential AOCS Olive Oil Expert Panel working on standards and techniques with the support of AOCS. The first Avocado Oil Expert Panel meeting will be held virtually on April 30 at 9:30 am CST. Please email Denise Williams, Technical Service Manager at AOCS, for more information or to participate in the meeting. New Zealand has two highly active researchers in this field Dr’s Wong and Woolff who will be a key part of this group.
New Research demonstrates the benefits of omega 3 supplements for heart health
A recently published study into the association of the omega index and heart rate recovery gave good news for those looking to increase their exercise to shed a few lockdown pounds. The study involved 13912 people and correlated their heart rate recovery following an exercise test with their omega index. The omega index is a simple blood spot test that measures the amount of omega fatty acids in erythrocyte cell membranes. And omega index test of above 8% is considered optimal. A statistically significant trend was found showing the higher the omega index, the faster the heart rate recovery. The omega Index test is available in NZ from some nutritionists, naturopaths and holistic doctors.
To read the full article visit: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33227647/