Blog

  • DHA and human brain evolution

    I read a review recently in The Economist of Clive Finlayson’s The Improbable Primate: How Water Shaped Human Evolution and it prompted me to buy the book. This subject has fascinated me ever since I saw Michael Crawford give a talk on the importance of DHA omega-3 to the human brain and how its dietary availability may be a prime factor in the evolution (and potentially devolution) of the human brain. However, the more I have read about brain evolution, the more controversial every theory in this field seemed to be. The camp that believes DHA played an important role in evolution of the...

  • NBJ Summit: The omega-3 recap

    I just returned from the NBJ Summit in California, which Is a great event for networking with leaders in the nutrition industry as well as getting the opportunity to hear from some very unique speakers. Omega-3s were a frequent theme throughout the conference, but not always in the best light. Here are some of my observations from the conference: Building consumer confidence in supplements is going to be important going forward and there are a lot of people watching what the omega-3 industry does with its consumer education campaign to see if it can be a model for the rest of the suppl...

  • ISSFAL 2014 recap

    GOED just returned from the 11th Biennial Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) held in Stockholm, Sweden. As you might imagine, there was no shortage of presentations and discussions on research related to EPA and DHA. It was an honor to be involved in the meeting. Not only did I present a poster on GOED’s commissioned blood pressure meta-analysis, which was used as the basis for our FDA health claim petition, but I had the honor of chairing the GOED-sponsored workshop on designing omega-3 clinical trials with cardiovascular outcomes. That...

  • The Chinese market is changing

    We just returned from the Hi China tradeshow and one thing is clear, the Chinese nutrition industry seems to be making major strides forward. In geopolitics, China is often targeted for intellectual property issues and not innovating on its own. However, that was not what I observed this time and I think the results will be exciting for the omega-3 space going forward. I talked with multiple companies that have already brought exciting innovations to market, like fish phospholipids that naturally contain 50% EPA+DHA levels and new concentration techniques that allow companies to reach ...

  • Omega-3s in the military: ongoing research shows promise

    Over the years there has been substantial interest in researching omega-3s and their health benefits for soldiers and veterans in a variety of scenarios. GOED recently talked to one organization, Samueli Institute, which is intimately involved in this work. As background, Samueli Institute is a non-profit research organization based in Washington D.C., whose mandate includes “fostering wellness through self-care”  and whose research focuses on “healing, well-being and resilience.” For more than a decade, Samueli Institute has worked with the military to uncover the evidence base for tradi...

  • 92% of fish oil is ethyl ester???

    The other day I came across a supplement company claiming that 92% of fish oil products on the market are in the ethyl ester form. The company did not cite the source of this statistic, but it is a good example of fear-based marketing that is both misleading and wrong…and the kind of marketing that ultimately confuses consumers. Let’s start with the fact that the 92% figure is completely wrong. GOED recently completed our ingredient market estimates for 2013, and on a global basis there were 9,990 tons of EPA and DHA oils consumed in ethyl ester form, which is slightly over 11% of the tot...

  • On Capitol Hill: snapshot of the consumer

    A few weeks ago GOED had the opportunity to participate with one of our members, Wiley’s Finest, in a Senate health fair that took place “on the hill” in Washington DC. The event was organized by Sister to Sister, a wonderful non-profit organization whose mission is to educate women about protecting their hearts.      During the four-hour event, almost 200 Senate staffers showed up to get a health screening, which was sponsored by Johns Hopkins and included blood pressure and cholesterol testing and body mass index (BMI) measurement. Several heart healthy exhibitors — including the Cali...

  • Why the change of heart?

    In contrast to earlier investigations about the effects of omega-3s on cardiovascular disease, media reports about recent studies have been generally negative. This does not mean, however, that the results were negative. In general, recent results have been either neutral (no effect found) or positive (beneficial effect(s) found). So why the change of heart?   There are two things going on here. First, the reason studies are yielding neutral results in areas where there is strong evidence that EPA and DHA have beneficial effects appears to lie in the experimental design. Second, many of...

  • Welcome to the new GOED website!

    Welcome to the new GOED website. This has been a long time in coming and we are very excited about the new functionality and user-friendliness built in to the site. The big new highlight on the main site is the expanded directory of member companies, which will help our members and the larger industry learn more about GOED members’ capabilities and offerings.  Go to the “Find a Member” tab under Our Members to start your search.   We’ve also added a blog — which you’re reading right now — and we see this as another way to communicate with members and the industry about all the importan...

  • Zombie ideas

    Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, recently wrote a column about a zombie idea, which he defines as “an idea that should have been killed by evidence, but refuses to die.” I would argue that we have zombie ideas in the omega-3 space as well. The most prevalent is the recent deluge of studies from cardiologists and doctors that purport to show omega-3s are not beneficial for cardiovascular disease. Perhaps EPA and DHA are maligned because of their association with the broader dietary supplement industry, which is not trusted by doctors or consumers, but that should not blind res...