Speaking with attendees at the recent GOED Exchange meeting in Salt Lake City, GOED’s Adam Ismail explained that the first generation omega-3 forms were fish oil and cod liver oil. Second generation omega-3 forms included triglycerides, methyl and ethyl esters, and phospholipid forms.
Of all the new forms making waves in the omega-3 market, omega-3 salts have the greatest potential to create a “pretty good market size”, Ismail told NutraIngredients-USA.
Omega-3 salts – soluble forms of EPA and DHA that are believed to be better absorbed – have application in both the pharma and supplement sector. Indeed, Novotech is making calcium salts from omega-3s from triglyceride oils,
Borrowing from Mother Nature
Sergej Trusov, PhD, director of research and product development for Ventura, CA-based Novotech, told us recently that the product is not microencapsulated, and the chemistry is borrowed from Mother Nature.
“The first step when the body is digesting any fatty acid is hydrolysis,” explained Dr Trusov. “We are converting omega-3s into a salt containing calcium. This is the core of our approach.”
“The main enemy of any type of organic compound and especially omega-3s is oxygen in the air. So we have found an effective and all natural system to protect our product from oxidation,” he added.
The technology offers several advantages, said Dr Trusov. It can be used with any number of fish oils including both triglyceride and ethyl ester forms (Novotech uses sardine and anchovy oils for its NovoOmega ingredient). Dr Trusov said the company has experimented using it with algal omega-3 oils and it could even be used with krill oil.
On the pharma side, Connecticut-based Thetis Pharmaceuticals is said to be developing drugs with free fatty acid omega-3s in diamine and meglumine salts for diabetics. By combining the omega-3 salts with diabetes drug metformin, it could be possible to treat both high blood glucose levels and elevated triglycerides with one tablet.
According to Ismail, the potential market for all omega-3 salts could be $1-5 billion. “Supplements are a smaller, but more tangible opportunity than pharmaceuticals,” he said.
Another developing form to watch is glycolipids, in which the fatty acids are attached to carbohydrates, but are similar to phospholipids in that they are found in cell membranes, explained Ismail.
They are believed to have better bio-absorption than phospholipids because they form smaller micelles that can more easily pass through gut lumen. The area is still developing and no company is believed to be active in isolating glycolipids.