The Omega-3 Coalition, a group of industry stakeholders working to improve consumer knowledge of omega-3s, announced the formation of a scientific advisory council. Comprised of a team of cardiovascular experts, researchers and nutritionists, the council will serve in an advisory role and complement the coalition's efforts to educate consumers about the benefits, efficacy and safety of the specific omega-3s: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Specifically, the council will provide independent scientific insights and perspectives regarding omega-3 claims for cardiovascular health, guide research on the connection between omega-3s and cardiovascular health, and broadly serve as advocates to peers and consumers for incorporating more EPA and DHA in the diet. The Omega-3 Coalition is governed by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), an association representing EPA and DHA omega-3 industry interests.
"Decades of research and thousands of studies support the heart-healthy benefits of EPA and DHA omega-3s, yet many consumers still don't have the information they need about the effectiveness and best sources of these important fatty acids," said Adam Ismail, executive director of GOED. "We are excited to bring together such prominent health and nutrition professionals to help turn the tide toward greater omega-3 awareness and consumption to support overall cardiovascular health."
According to national data sources, more than 75 percent of American diets are deficient in omega-3s. While the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and other heart-health advocacy groups recommend eating eight ounces of fish (or two 4-oz. portions), preferably fatty fish, per week, the average intake among Americans is just 3.5 ounces weekly. People who do not consume the recommended amounts of fatty fish should consider taking an omega-3 supplement, or enhancing their diet with products fortified with EPA and DHA omega-3s such as milk, eggs and bread.
Members of the Omega-3 Science Advisory Council include:
• Cheryl Forberg, RD is a James Beard award-winning chef, New York Times bestselling author, and the nutritionist for NBC's "The Biggest Loser." She is a food and nutrition spokesperson, journalist and a blogger for The Huffington Post.
• Bill Harris, PhD, FAHA, FNLA is an internationally-known expert on omega-3 fatty acids and how they benefit patients with heart disease. Dr. Harris has researched omega-3s since 1980 and has more than 190 publications related to omega-3 fatty acids in medical literature. He is a Senior Scientist at Health Diagnostic Laboratory; a Professor in the Department of Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota; and the President and CEO of OmegaQuant.
• Daniel Soffer, MD, FNLA is an internist and lipidologist with Penn Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. He lectures regularly on lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and clinical management of lipid disorders and atherosclerosis. He is a Fellow of the National Lipid Association (NLA), serves on the board of the Northeast Lipid Association, and co-chairs the Publication Committee for the NLA.
• Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD is a food and nutrition journalist, spokesperson and frequent guest on national and regional TV stations. She has authored hundreds of magazine and trade publication articles, written book chapters, and is co-editor of the NSCA's Guide to Exercise and Sport Nutrition (Human Kinetics Publishers).