Omega 3 – How to find the best by the experts at Croda


Recent media reports have shown that omega 3 supplements on the UK high street vary significantly in terms of the amount of essential fatty acids they contain. Trying to cut through the confusion for consumers is becoming increasingly paramount, because omega 3 fatty acids have clear benefits for many areas of our health and lifestyle, such as heart, circulation and brain health. But we need to seek the best possible quality – and the question remains, how can we tell what’s best?

Pure concentration

An exciting new development area at the top end of the omega 3 spectrum is in high potency, high purity omega 3 marine-based supplement concentrates, which are creating new opportunities and bringing additional health benefits to consumers. They are enriched in EPA, (Eicosapentaenoic Acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), and in some, the newly emerging DPA (Docosapentaenoic Acid), seen by experts as the next generation in omega 3 for heart health. Concentrates are distilled and refined during several processes, which also reduces the level of saturates and contaminants which may remain in more unrefined 18/12 grades.

But there’s a catch…

There is currently no globally accepted standard for the omega 3 levels required to define a fish oil product as a ‘concentrate’. Most fish oils currently on the market are based on cod liver or ‘18/12’ oils. 18/12 oils are sourced from blended fish body oils and are known as ‘18/12’ because they give an EPA/DHA ratio of 18% and 12% respectively per 1g of oil. In low-cost health supplements, they form the basis of many so-called ‘concentrates’.

What am I looking for?

Check the ingredient list on the pack to find out the content and dosage of each fatty acid. Look for more of EPA and DPA if you are taking omega 3 for heart health and DHA for brain health.

In true concentrates, fewer and smaller capsules are needed per omega 3 dose, which means that compliance is enhanced and therefore the therapeutic benefits boosted.

Typical fish oil concentrate label information shows:
Nutritional Information Amount per Softgel % RDA
Fish Oil 1200mg *
Providing Omega 3 fatty acids 720mg *
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) 396mg *
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) 264mg *
Other fatty acids 60mg *

There is no official RDA, but two world-renowned and respected scientific committees have offered advice on this subject:

• The UK’s JCHI (Joint Health Claims Initiative) recommends that 0.45g of long chain omega 3 fatty acids daily to help maintain a healthy heart
• The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends:
o 1-2g per day to help maintain a healthy heart
o 4g EPA + DHA per day for people with coronary heart disease

Stamp of approval
Croda has developed the PureMax sign of quality. Products displaying the PureMax logo have gone through a unique purification and concentration technology process. The process removes heavy metals, environmental pollutants and oxidative impurities to ensure the highest quality oils. The end products have minimal impurities and contain the selectively concentrated fatty acids. Higher concentration offers greater consumer convenience, improved palatability, better dose compliance and greater cost-efficiency.

So look out for the PureMax stamp of approval to ensure you are taking the best omega 3.

Visit to discover more.

For further information and to receive a comprehensive omega 3 information pack, please contact Claire or Stephen at Fuel PR on 020 7498 8211. Experts available for interview.

• References:
o Arterburn LM, Bailey E, Oken H; Distribution, interconversion, and dose response of n-3 fatty acids in human, Am J Clin Nutr, 2006, 83, 1467S-76S
o Barton CL, Next-Generation Nutraceuticals . Food and pharma convergence in disease prevention and personalized nutrition, Business Insights Ltd, 2006
o Calder PC, Grimble RF; Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002, 26 Suppl 3, S14-S19.

Bones act as an organ – new research reveals

Even though bones seem to be metabolically inactive structures, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, bones are rebuilt constantly through the action of cells known as osteoblasts while old bone is destroyed by other cells known as osteoclasts. Bones also produce red and white blood cells, help maintain blood pH and store calcium.

However, exciting new research published in this month’s edition of the magazine Cell, has shown that bones also act as an endocrine organ. Not only do bones produce a protein hormone, osteocalcin that regulates bone formation, but this hormone also protects against obesity and glucose intolerance by increasing proliferation of pancreatic beta cells and their subsequent secretion of insulin. Osteocalcin was also found to increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin and as well as reducing its fat stores.

Hormones function as chemical messengers that allow the body to precisely coordinate metabolism, reproduction and other essential biological processes that involve multiple organs.

“The skeleton used to be thought of as just a structural support system. This opens the door to a new way of seeing the bones,” said Dr. Gerard Karsenty, chairman of the department of genetics and development at Columbia University Medical Center in NYC, who headed the team that made the discovery.

Osteocalcin is not new to science: Its existence has been known for 50 years, “but its function was never understood,” observed Karsenty. However, researchers have long known that people with diabetes tend to have low levels of osteocalcin, but until now no one understood the significance.

Based on their knowledge of skeletal biology and endocrinology, the research team hypothesized that there might be a relationship between skeletal biology and endocrine regulation because of the long-known observation that obesity protects against osteoporosis in mammals. Additionally, it was known that people with untreated type 2 diabetes have low osteocalcin levels, which made this hormone an appealing target for their research efforts.

To do this research, the scientists designed an elegant series of experiments using several groups of mice. The first group of experimental mice had their osteoblast gene, called Esp, genetically deactivated, or “knocked out”. Esp encodes a receptor-like protein tyrosine phosphatase called OST-PTP that increases beta-cell proliferation and insulin secretion in the pancreas, which results in hypoglycemia. But these so called “knock-out mice” lacked all functional Esp genes, so their insulin secretion and sensitivity decreased causing them to become obese and then to develop Type 2 diabetes when fed a normal diet. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar metabolism.

A second group of experimental mice were genetically engineered to over-produce osteocalcin. These mice showed lower-than-normal blood glucose levels and higher insulin levels than did normal mice that were fed a normal diet. Additionally, these “overproducer mice” also showed increased insulin sensitivity. This is probably the most exciting result because typically, excess blood insulin decreases tissues’ sensitivity to the hormone, which makes insulin treatment difficult for diabetics. Further, the team found that treating the “knock-out mice” with osteocalcin helped regulate their blood sugar and insulin.

Additionally, the investigators reported that mice with one functional copy of Esp showed a significant reversal of their metabolic abnormalities, which provides “genetic evidence that Esp and osteocalcin lie in the same regulatory pathway and that [the] Esp-/- mice metabolic phenotype is caused by a gain-of-activity of this hormone.”

Interestingly, mice that are genetically programmed to overeat and mice that were fed fatty diets were prevented from suffering both obesity and diabetes when given high levels of osteocalcin. Karsenty is now determining whether giving osteocalcin to his diabetic “knock-out mice” will reverse the disease. This research shows promise for treating human diabetics as well.

Finding a substance that increases beta cell proliferation, says Karsenty, “is a holy grail for diabetes research.” Thus, if what’s true for mice also proves true for humans, “then we have inside us a hormone that does precisely this.”

“The findings could have important implications for the treatment of diabetes. Osteocalcin has a triple-punch effect, in that it raises both insulin levels and insulin uptake while keeping fat at bay. That makes it a promising therapy for middle-aged people who want to fight type 2 diabetes,” Karsenty said.

Additionally, this study also reveals that the skeleton is an important part of the endocrine system.

“To our knowledge this study provides the first in vivo evidence that [the] skeleton exerts an endocrine regulation of energy metabolism and thereby may contribute to the onset and severity of metabolic disorders,” the authors wrote in their paper.

British hospital’s used stolen body parts in patients

London: Twenty-five British hospitals have bought tissue which may have been taken from diseased corpses in the UK body snatchers scandal.

And at least 40 British patients have been given transplants using body parts plundered by the mafia gang who stole more than 1,000 bodies from US funeral parlours. Most of the parts have been used in bone and dental grafts.

The body of veteran BBC broadcaster Alistair Cooke was among those stolen. and there are fears that potentially inadequate screening may have exposed British patients to HIV or syphilis.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency yesterday named the 25 hospitals where potentially contaminated body parts were grafted into British patients.

It revealed that 82 pieces of bone had been bought to be used in procedures such as hip operations and were distributed to the hospitals by the Swindon-based firm Plus Orthopaedics.

A spokesman for the health watchdog said the risk of catching an infection from the stolen bones was ‘negligible’ as they had been sterilised.

Normally, once tissue has been removed from a donor’s body and screened for disease, it is soaked in various solutions to prevent transmission of bacteria and viruses.

Nevertheless affected patients have been contacted and offered screening for diseases.

The scandal emerged in October last year when it was discovered hat the New Jersey-based company Biomedical Tissue Services (BTS) had been selling bones, ligaments and skin for use in transplants which had allegedly been removed illegally from corpses.

Bone is said to have been taken illegally from American corpses at funeral parlours without consent and without the necessary checks to make sure the bodies were free of disease. Cooke, whose Radio 4 programme Letter From America ran for 58 years, died from lung cancer aged 95 last December.

His bones were cut out and sent to BTS before he was cremated.

BTS owner Michael Mastromarino, who faces body harvesting charges, is said to have paid £500 per corpse.

The company, which has been shut down, supplied bones and other body parts to the NHS. Many of the bones supplied by BTS were recalled after the scandal broke.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which ensures medicines and medical devices are safe, has tracked down affected patients in the UK and alerted their doctors. It initially-thought 77 parts had been sent to the UK but has now increased the figure to 82.

‘We ensured that affected hospitals were contacted, advising them that the infection risk was negligible, so that clinicians could decide what advice they should give to their patients,’ a spokesman said.

Campaigners called for tougher controls on the import of human body parts into the UK.

Professor Stephen Wigmore, chairman of the ethics committee of the British Transplantation Society, said: ‘No one would want to think they’d received tissue from someone from whom it had been taken against their will. It’s cases like this that highlight holes in the law.’

The scandal has exposed a growing trade in bones and tissue which are harvested abroad and shipped to Britain.

Shortages of organs and tissue from this country have been blamed on the fall-out from Alder Hey and the Bristol babies scandal, where organs were removed without consent.

There are currently no laws governing the import and export of body parts into the UK.

The Government organisation responsible, the Human Tissue Authority, said yesterday that it does not know which countries import skin, bone and ligaments to Britain, nor does it know the quantities shipped.

The American scam was uncovered when a funeral parlour owner in Brooklyn discovered records of the bone theft and called in police.

It was found that the bones of some corpses had been replaced with plastic pipes.

In the case of Cooke, documents listed the cause of death as a heart attack and lowered his age to 85, investigators said.

Mastromarino and three others have pleaded not guilty to the charges

Scientists turn fat into muscle

Los Angeles: Scientists have turned fat cells into muscle cells in an experiment published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers said that although they would not be able to use the cells to turn fat tummies into flat ones the experiment showed how fat can be a source of master cells which could be used to repair organs. These cells are of a type that help the heart beat and blood flow, push food through the digestive system and make bladders fill and empty.

Assistant Professor Larissa Rodriguez from the Department of Urology at the University of Los Angeles medical school said the cells may prove a source to regenerate and repair damaged organs.

Rodriguez and colleagues incubated adipose-derived stem cells in a nourishing mixture of growth factors, human proteins that encouraged the cells to become smooth muscle cells.

The researchers said scientists have been looking for sources of smooth muscle for organ repair and treating heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases and bladder dysfunction. Previous studies that used cells from a patients own organ failed because the organ was damaged or diseased.

But transplants grown from a patient’s own fat could be used with no need for anti-rejection drugs. Smooth muscle cells have been produced from stem cells found in the brain and bone marrow, but acquiring stem cells from fat is much easier.

The stem cells found in fat are known as multipotent stem cells. They can produce a variety of cell and tissue types, but are not as flexible as embryonic stem cells.

Last week, President George W. Bush vetoed a bill that would have broadened federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, saying he preferred that researchers pursue so-called adult stem cells, such as those used at UCLA.

Many groups have been looking to fat as a source of stem cells. In April, Cytori Therapeutics Inc. said it was starting a clinical trial to test whether stem cells derived from fat can be used to regenerate breast tissue.

Other researchers have been trying to get stem cells from liposuction specimens.

In a second study published in the same journal, British researchers said they found one important protein that keeps stem cells in a quiescent and non-dividing stage.

Fiona Watt of Cancer Research UK and colleagues studied stem cells from human skin and found a protein known as Lrig1 kept the skin cells from proliferating. When Lrig1 production was silenced, the stem cells began growing and dividing.

The finding may not only offer important information to stem cell researchers, but may also offer insights into cancer, Watt’s team said. In cancer, cells ignore the normal signals from the body and proliferate uncontrollably. The protein is also involved in psoriasis.