The research-backed health benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) continue to grow. Yet there is a troubling trend worldwide: most individuals are not consuming enough of these fatty acids for optimal health. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for all stages of life -- from birth through adulthood.
In China, where this problem is noticeably severe, two powerhouse companies -- Ocean Nutrition Canada (ONC) and Wilmar International (Wilmar) -- have strategized to develop a solution: adding recommended levels of EPA and DHA to the nation’s best-selling cooking oil, which is a major staple of the Chinese diet. This one product, Arawana 3A+ premium cooking oil, has the potential to dramatically improve the health of Chinese consumers.
Sufficient Intake of Omega-3 EPA/DHA
Scientists have known for a long time that populations who consume more oily fish, naturally rich in EPA and DHA, have fewer heart attacks and lower mortality rates from cardiovascular disease. The research-backed benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA include a decreased risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death, a dose-dependent decrease in triglycerides and decreases in blood pressure, especially in older adults who have high blood pressure.
Children also benefit from omega-3 EPA/DHA.From the time they are infants until approximately age three, DHA is essential for brain and eye development as well as cognitive functioning.
Why the World’s Health Organizations are Concerned
Health studies worldwide indicate that most people are not getting enough omega-3 EPA and DHA in their diets, a situation that could have serious consequences to the world’s population.
It is, by many estimates, the biggest dietary deficiency in the Western diet. In fact, more than 80% of Americans do not consume the minimum of two 4-oz servings of fatty fish per week recommended by the American Heart Association. Vegetarians and children, who may have never been introduced to fish, may have an even higher risk of developing an omega-3 deficiency.
In Europe -- another Western diet stronghold -- the EU health authorities were so concerned that they recently established a dietary reference value (DRV) of 250mg per day of EPA and DHA.
The average daily intake of EPA/DHA of Chinese residents is only 37.6mg/day, less than 25% of the levels suggested by the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) and less than 10% of the intake recommended by the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids.
A Solution Hits Store Shelves in China
In China, residents are estimated to get as little as 10-25% of the recommended intake of EPA/DHA. Wilmar, one of Asia’s leading agribusiness groups and among the global leaders in omega-3 foods, sought ONC, a manufacturer of omega-3 EPA/DHA from fish oil, and the companies entered into a long-term strategic agreement.
The collaboration has resulted in the launch of Wilmar’s Arawana 3A+ premium cooking oil containing ONC’S omega-3 EPA/DHA ingredient. This application makes it easy and convenient for Chinese consumers to fortify their diets with these important nutrients. One serving of Arawana 3A+ per day, will allow Chinese consumers to meet the IOM’s recommended intake level for these nutrients. For its efforts, Wilmar was honored with ONC’s 2010 Most Significant Contribution to Human Health Award in the Omega-3 Sector.
Clear Answers for the Rest of the World
“The solution to omega-3 diet deficiency is to eat oily fish, such as salmon, twice a week,” explains Robert Orr. “Most people are aware of the benefits of omega-3 EPA/DHA yet they still can’t eat or don’t want to eat enough fish. The good news is that there are healthy alternatives including purified fish oil supplements and foods such as Arawana 3A+ that are enriched with omega-3 EPA/DHA.”
Consumers in other parts of the world should be watching for similar solutions. ONC is partnering with major food manufacturers in more than 40 countries -- encompassing the U.S., U.K., Europe, Australia and the Asia Pacific region -- to fortify more everyday foods with its tasteless, odorless omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil ingredient.
Additional product and formulating information may be found at www.ocean-nutrition.com.
March 23, 2010/Dartmouth, N.S./Ocean Nutrition Canada and Wilmar International