Organic & Natural Health launches omega-3 field study

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The Organic and Natural Health Association has launched a consumer education campaign to encourage consumers to test their omega-3 levels to identify supplementation needs, following on from the success of its “Power of D” campaign.

The “Power of D” campaign garnered over 35 million media impressions as part of an international population-based nutrient study with research partner GrassrootsHealth. Organic & Natural Health has now announced it will run consecutive nutrient campaigns as part of its consumer education initiative with a new nutrient focus each year under the updated campaign name, “The Power of Nutrients”.

“We wanted to have a research agenda and push out the message that nutrient deficiencies are serious and need to be dealt with,” Karen Howard, CEO and executive director of Organic & Natural Health Association, told NutraIngredients-USA. “Until we fix our agricultural system we are going to rely on dietary supplements.”

“RCTs are part of the research parcel but they don’t work well for nutrients. The Power of Nutrients is crowd-sourced research with self-selecting participants. Many of these are paying for their own tests, which come with a comprehensive survey,” she explained.

The shortlist for future featured nutrients includes magnesium, vitamin E, iron, vitamin K2. Some of these will require blood draws and so it is important to build relationships with practitioners.

Scientific Advisory Board

So why omega-3s? “Omega-3s have suffered from some bad press, but people know they need to take them and they don’t know what their levels need to be. Healthcare practitioners regularly test for vitamin D levels now, but they don’t test for omega-3 levels,” said Howard.

The 2017 nutrient campaign brings consumer attention to research backing the health benefits of omega-3s EPA and DHA and the importance of self-testing, showing consumers how to use the omega-3 index, developed by William Harris, PhD, to determine adequate levels of DHA and EPA in the bloodstream.

ONH is again collaborating with GrassrootsHealth to run the omega-3 nutrient field study and testing program being developed in partnership with member organizations Aker Bio Marine and Natural Partners’ NP Script, its online patient dispensary that will enroll practitioners into the program concurrent to Organic & Natural Health’s consumer awareness campaign to encourage individual participation. 

The at-home, self-test will determine omega-3 DHA and EPA levels as well as vitamin D levels. “There are so many variables with nutrient studies it’s important to do field studies to collect as much data as possible.  By measuring omega-3, DHA and EPA levels along with vitamin D serum levels, we can help to pinpoint exactly what’s working and what combinations of these nutrients are needed for improved outcomes for a variety of health conditions,” said Carole Baggerly, director of GrassrootsHealth.

“Because we are partnering with Organic & Natural Health Association we will be able to publish peer-reviewed research on the health outcomes of combining omega-3 and vitamin D supplementation.”

While peer-reviewed publications are important, the end objective is to move this into the practice like Grassroots Health has achieved with vitamin D and pre-term births in South Carolina, said Howard.

The advisory board for the campaign is led by Dr Joseph Mercola and expert members include: Dr Dana Cohen; Dr Geo Espinosa; David Foreman, RPh; Dr Dennis Goodman; Dr Christine Horner; James LaValle, RPh, CCN; Dr Michael Murray, ND; and Dr Ken Redcross.

Pesticide product testing

The association also announced a partnership with HRI Labs to test its members’ raw ingredients and finished products for pesticide residue. Howard explained that a pilot study to verify the chain of custody process will involve products submitted by board member Patrick Sullivan Jr., president of Jigsaw Health.

“As an industry we need to be proactively transparent about looking for extremely harmful and dangerous pesticides like glyphosate in our own products,” said Howard. “This is just one of our pro-active steps in effectively eliminating pesticides from organic and natural source materials and part of Organic & Natural Health’s membership requirements to be in pursuit of non-GMO status.”

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