Industry to examine DHA-EPA opportunities

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acid

DHA and EPA omega-3 will be the focus of two events to be held next
month, which will aim to provide food and supplement makers with
key issues affecting the industry.

Symposium ​Organized by the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute, the one-day symposium is due to take place on March 7 at the Mississauga Convention Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. It hopes to bring together members from the industry and the health care sector to examine the science behind the health benefits of the fish-derived fatty acids, as well as current recommended versus actual dietary intakes, regulatory issues on food labeling and health claims, and consumer and business perspectives. This event is coordinated by the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute (University of Guelph Research Park) and is supported by the Dietitians of Canada. Speakers will include:

  • Dr Sheila Innis (UBC), who will speak about omega-3 for mother and infant health;

  • Dr Joseph Hibbeln (NIH), who will discuss seafood consumption in pregnancy and long-term outcomes in childhood;

  • Dr Bruce Holub (University of Guelph) will talk on agri-foods and enriched functional foods as sources of DHA/EPA Omega-3 and health outcomes;

  • Dr Dariush Mozzafarian (Harvard), on fish and fish oil containing DHA/EPA for protection from heart disease;

  • Dr Allison Hill (Penn State) will discuss the improvement of body composition and risk factors by combining omega-3 supplementation with exercise in overweight subjects;

  • Tom Aarts (founder, Nutrition Business Journal) will talk about present and future marketing perspectives on omega-3 fatty acids in functional foods and supplements.

Webinar ​The day of the symposium will coincide with a webinar on future drivers for the omega-3 category. The webinar is organized by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), and will be held on March 6 and 7. It will be held twice in order to allow companies in multiple geographies to participate during normal business hours. The webinar will also become available for download on the GOED website. ​ GOED said the 90-minute webinar is designed to help the omega-3 industry understand how some of its initiatives will positively impact food and supplement companies around the world. "This is one of the fastest-growing markets in both the food and supplement sectors because of the strong science supporting EPA and DHA. We broadened access to the webinar because it is important for companies to understand how they can participate in shaping the growth of the market in coming years,"​ said Adam Ismail, executive director of GOED. Sessions will include:

  • Dr Bruce Watkins (Purdue University), who will introduce the International Omega-3 Learning Consortium and highlight how its activities will drive consumer acceptance of omega-3s;

  • Dr Mike Falk (Life Sciences Research Office) will discuss the implications of a GOED-sponsored workshop in March that assesses the regulatory environment for obtaining RDIs and Daily Values for EPA and DHA;

  • Hilary Lloyd (Ocean Nutrition Canada and Chair of GOED's Regulatory Committee) will discuss GOED's role in three projects affecting the omega-3 market, including US and European claims initiatives and EU hygiene regulations.

DHA/EPA benefits ​ EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are derived from marine sources such as oily fish, and DHA can also be derived from microalgae. The omega-3s have been linked to healthy brain function. The mechanism behind the supplement's effect seems to be specific to the type of omega oil. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is proposed to function by increasing blood flow in the body. It is also suggested to affect hormones and the immune system, both of which have a direct effect on brain function. Docosahexaenioc acid (DHA), on the other hand, is involved in the membrane of ion channels in the brain, making it easier for them to change shape and transit electrical signals.

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