The best omega-3 comes from salmon
Norway’s history of salmon farming is a huge success story. From its modest start in the 80s and 90s, aquaculture production of Norwegian salmon has become a seven-billion-euro mega-industry, contributing significantly to the increase in production of seafood for human consumption. The world is increasingly dependent on better utilization of the ocean for sustainable food production, and salmon farming is a significant contributor.
The salmon is primarily used for human consumption as fish filets.
Pioneer in omega-3 from salmon
In the 90s, Knut-Erik Karlsen’s NaturaMed Pharma in Norway was quickly gaining market share in the fast-growing omega-3 market. Karlsen was one of a few omega-3 pioneers that knew salmon has a unique composition of marine fatty acid that makes it more attractive than most other marine species.
Like other oily fishes, such as herring, mackerel, anchovy, sardines, and tuna, salmon is rich in the marine fatty acids called omega-3. However, unlike almost all other oily fishes, salmon has a fatty acid combination of all the three essential marine fatty acids and not just two of them.
Rich in all three omega-3 fatty acids
While all oily fishes are rich in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), salmon is also rich in DPA (docosapentaenoic acid). Karlsen had good insight into the research done by J Dyerberg, the famous Danish researcher that went to Greenland five times in the 70s to study the special diet of the Eskimos, consisting of whale, seal, and salmon. Prior to Dyerberg’s study, experts on health and nutrition were of the understanding that fatty diets were unhealthy and associated with a higher risk of cardiac deceases. The Eskimos consumed an abundance of marine fatty acids, and their diet was almost free from plant-based food. According to traditional knowledge, this diet should be very unhealthy. However, what Dyerberg found was opposite to what was expected. Dyerberg found that the Eskimos were very healthy, without almost any cardiac diseases. While the Eskimos had 40 words for snow, they did not have a single word for heart attack.
Dutch scientists undertook a large trial study on a share of the Dutch population in the early 80s, and the conclusion was that marine fatty acids contribute to better heart health. The word omega-3 was suddenly becoming well-known, and the market for omega-3 products exploded.
The omega-3 paradox
Karlsen started NaturaMed Pharma in 1991. Karlsen was increasingly concerned with one paradox: The Eskimo’s diet was based on North Atlantic whale, seal and salmon, all species with an omega-3 composition consisting of all the three essential fatty acids, EPA, DHA and DPA. However, the growing omega-3 industry was based on anchovies, sardines, and mackerel from the Pacific’s. These fishes have a different omega-3 composition than the diet of the Eskimos. The most notable difference is that Pacific fishes have only two of the three vital omega-3s and no presence of DPA. The omega-3 industry preferred the Pacific fishes because they were cheap and much cheaper than omega-3 from seal and salmon when measured as price per gram of omega-3. Karlsen was concerned about this choice.
Breast milk is rich in DPA
We know today that the omega-3 fatty acid DPA is more important to humans than previously anticipated. Recent studies have shown that there is a positive interaction between all three main types of omega 3 in our body. It is very telling that breast milk, containing the most crucial nutrition we ever get, is richer in DPA than in EPA and DHA.
As all three crucial omega-3 fatty acids are present in salmon, Karlsen was eager to introduce omega-3 based on salmon already twenty years ago. He realized that the growing output from the salmon aquaculture industry in Norway represented a unique opportunity that was not utilized. Around the turn of the millennium, Karlsen’s Natura Med Pharma, therefore, became one of the pioneers in omega-3 based on salmon oil.
Nature’s strongest antioxidant
Karlsen was also aware that salmon has other significant advantages. One of the major consumer concerns with omega-3 is the rancid taste and smell often associated with oxidized fish oil. It can lead to fishy burps, which many consumers find unpleasant. Lots of people don’t take omega-3 because of this unpleasant aftertaste, despite being aware of the many positive health effects of omega-3. Salmon has a significant advantage over other types of fishes, as it is naturally rich in an antioxidant called astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants, helping salmon oil to oxidize much slower than other fish oils. It means that omega-3 based on salmon oil is fresher than other omega-3 fish oils, and have few issues associated with fishy burps. Karlsen’s and Natural Pharmaceuticals mission is to convince people that don’t eat enough fish to take omega-3 as a dietary supplement, and best possible oxidation quality is vital to fulfilling this mission. By the way, astaxanthin is red and is the reason why salmon and trout have reddish meat, and why OmegaMarine Forte+ is red.
Salmon farming is very sustainable, and one of the world’s most resource-effective ways to produce food. Norwegian salmon farming is very tightly regulated, and farmed salmon is less affected by contaminations of the world oceans than its wild brother.
Natural Pharmaceuticals is member of The Norwegian Seafood Council, set up to support export and promotion of Norwegian seafood and GOED, the industry body for omega-3.