AlgaeBio Prepares for Omega-3 Launch
July 4, 2012
lgae BioSciences, an Arizona-based biotechnology company now completing a $5-million, first-phase expansion process, will soon begin commercial production of its ultra-pure omega-3 fatty acid oils. The oils will be sourced from marine algae and grown in Arizona sunlight, at the company’s production facilities in the high desert plains near Holbrook.
The initial output of AlgaeBio’s algal oils – which will be packaged for consumers by Global Health Trax (GHT) as AlgaeBio Omega-3 Origins™, and made available in both adult and child dosages – will contain long-chain essential fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA.
Because these marine algae are cultured through photosynthesis, AlgaeBio Omega-3 Origins™ will also include beneficial compounds such as phytosterols, chlorophyll, Vitamins C, D, and E, and the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein, fucoxanthin, and zeaxanthin. And because they are algae-based, the oils will contain higher ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) values, gram for gram, than nearly any land-based foods.
AlgaeBio and GHT, of Vista, Calif., have in place a sales and distribution contract that gives GHT exclusive rights to purchase and distribute AlgaeBio’s oils to the nutraceutical, food additive, and animal feed markets.
Thanks to some recent scientific research, the public can now be certain that these vegetarian-based polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are as effective as fish-based omega-3s in providing health benefits.
Researchers involved in three independent studies focusing on pregnancy and infancy, all of them using algae-sourced docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), reported beneficial results when they presented their findings late last month at the 10th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) in Vancouver.
In one study, led by Dr. Susan E. Carlson of the University of Kansas Medical Center, it was found that prenatal algal DHA supplementation – 600 mg daily, from 14 weeks gestation through delivery – increased DHA blood levels in both mother and infant, as well as newborn birth weight, length, and head circumference.
A second study – the DHA Intake and Measurement of Neural Development (DIAMOND) study, led by Dr. John Colombo – concluded that supplementation with DHA and arachidonic acid (ARA), an omega-6 fatty acid, from the ages of 18 months to six years provides cognitive and developmental benefits evident through the age of six. Meanwhile, Drs. Kelly Mulder and Sheila Innis, of the University of British Columbia, presented their own study that found prenatal DHA deficiency may well limit development potential among infants.
These three studies are particularly significant because they represent some of the first research to concentrate specifically on the health benefits of algal omega-3s, according to AlgaeBio’s Vice-President of Corporate Development and Marketing, Dr. Mark Edwards.
“When we do GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) analysis, we want to be able to say our processes yield something similar to what’s already known,” says Dr. Edwards, who is also an Arizona State University professor, award-winning author, and renowned “algaevangelist” focusing on algae’s potential in freedom foods, agribusiness, and sustainable energy.
“The question we have here is: are omega-3s omega-3s? Are fish-based omega-3s equal to algae-based omega-3s? Logically, of course, there shouldn’t be any question, because fish get their omega-3 oils from algae,” adds Dr. Edwards. “What these studies do is demonstrate what we thought all along, but didn’t know for sure – that algae-based omega-3s have therapeutic effects similar to those in fish oil.”