Recent scientific discovery has raised awareness of the benefits of cetoleic acid to optimise the health properties of omega-3 fish oil, explains Henrik Traaholt, Grøntvedt Chief Commercial officer.
“Norwegian herring is known for its high fatty acid content and nutritional value. In recent years, the benefits of cetoleic acid have been elucidated and shown to stimulate human cells to produce EPA and DHA.”
Specifically, cetoleic acid boosts conversion of short-chain alpha-linoleic acids (ALA) from omega-3 to polyunsaturated fatty acids (EPA and DHA) that have numerous documented benefits, including for cardiovascular health.
In addition, it has been shown to increase production of EPA and DHA in human hepatocytes (that activate innate immunity) by 40% and EPA in salmon hepatocytes by 12%, he says.
“New science has revealed the very positive effect of Cetoleic acid - to boost the body’s own production of EPA/DHA (hence omega-3 index), which is good news for consumers and explains the timing of our launch. Grøntvedt also continues to invest in research to further document the benefits of cetoleic acid.”
Norwegian herring and mackerel have been a cornerstone of the Norwegian and European diet for several thousand years, Traaholt explains. Pelagic fish, like herring, are especially desirable from a health perspective, as they tend to avoid swimming near the ocean surface or seabed and are therefore largely unaffected by ocean pollutants.
Grøntvedt has vast experience processing pelagic fish and with “full access” to a sustainable, 100% traceable, marine source has all the essential elements in place to support product expansion, he maintains.
“Access to raw material is key to developing a high quality Cetoleic acid product and secure supply for our customers. Also, as Cetoleic acid is only found in high value in North Atlantic pelagic fish, location in Norway is critical to be able to source this ingredient out globally.”
Production is vertically integrated with state-of-the equipment to deliver fresh fish to oil in just 30 minutes and ensure “unique sensory qualities”. The system uses a low-temperature, solvent-free procedure.
“This means that we start to process the product before any oxidation is taking place. No fishy smell and no reflux is an advantage even in a capsule. Also, this gives our customers many options in terms of launching products into the consumer markets,” says Traaholt.
Furthermore, Grøntvedt keeps waste to a minimum, utilising the whole fish: 40% is earmarked for food, while the “trimmings” are used for the “human grade” production of cetoleic, and omega-3 oil.
The novel ingredient is suitable as a standalone product or in a blend with other active ingredients. Being both tasteless and odourless, it can be adapted for use in a variety of applications, including nutritional liquids and functional food.
Traaholt confirms: “The commercial potential is huge as science is very promising and there is more to come. We are looking forward as a company to scaling-up production, building long-term partnerships and bringing this innovative product to the global market in both liquid and capsule forms.”