Marine Ingredients banks on content of omega-3 metabolites in its Bering Sea cod liver oil

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Marine Ingredients banks on content of omega-3 metabolites in its Bering Sea cod liver oil

Related tags Cod liver oil Vitamin d Immune system

Marine Ingredients, a division of KD Pharma, is refining the message surrounding its cod liver oil omega-3 ingredient to concentrate on its unique chemical profile, which includes significant amounts of important omega-3 metabolites.

The ingredient has been rebranded as NutraSolv 3, and is being produced from the livers of Alaksan Cod that are processed at the company’s fairly new facility in Dutch Harbor, in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Ingredients from the facility are marketed under the Bering Select brand name.

“These are sustainably line-caught fish,”​ Todd Parker, vice president of sales for Marine Ingredients, told NutraIngredients-USA. “We process them at our rendering facility in Dutch Harbor in a way that maintains all of the natural Vitamin D and Vitamin A in the livers.”

The fishery is MSC certified. The line catching technique, as opposed to the various net methods, helps keep bycatch, or the inadvertent harvesting and wastage of non targeted species, to an absolute minimum, Parker said. So the ingredient, and the other omega-3 ingredients that come out of the facility from species such as Alaskan Pollock, have a pristine environmental message to tell. 

Important metabolites

But Jeffrey Bland, PhD, a partner in the venture, said as the company came to appreciate the powerful nutritional profile of the oil taken from the cod livers, the message now focuses more on those unique and potentially efficacious constituents and less on the clean environment/sustainability message.

“It’s not only an old story with traditional uses of this material but with modern analytical methods we’ve been able to unlock a whole trove of active constitutents of this material,”​ said Bland. He came to the ingredient via a prior relationship with Clifford Seafoods, another partner in the Bering Select project, with whom he’d become familiar through family trips to Alaska.

Prime among those constituents are chemicals referred to as resolvins and protectins, a class of highly bioactive omega-3 metabolites that are naturally found in the livers. The company refers to these ‘Preresolving Mediators,’ which include 14-HDHA (hydroxydocosahexaenoic acid), 17-HDHA and 18-HEPE (hydroxyeicosapentaenoic acid). These highly reactive molecules are difficult to formulate with in isolation, because they’re not very stable if exposed to the slightest whiff of oxygen. And there is the question of the distilling, extracting and fractionating of an omega-3 base ingredient down to this level. What steps did you have to go through to get there? And do you still have a natural dietary ingredient or something that more resembles an active pharmaceutical ingredient?

Minimal processing preserves labile constituents

In the case of NutraSolve 3, nature has done this processing already. And, locked within the oil, these mediators remain stable, and don’t get the chance to break down as they might with the processing methods used by other suppliers.  Bland said the pristine environment of the Bering Sea where the fish are caught does play a role, in that only the barest minimum of processing is necessary to produce a light colored, almost flavorless oil.

“I believe what we are dealing with our Dutch Harbor material is a composition of mater that is uniquely different to other products in the marketplace. It starts with where the fish are caught. We are catching them in the Bering Sea, which is a cleaner environment than the North Atlantic. The livers are cleaner to begin with, and they are excised out of the fish within at most 15 to 20 minutes from when the fish are caught and are flash frozen. You are able to capture these labile materials that are present in the oil,”​ Bland said.

“I think the cod liver oil that is on the market today has lost some of its clinical effectiveness. Cod liver oil has a history of use as one of the oldest dietary supplements of all. The early use was based on oil that minimally processed or even non processed oil. The material we call cod liver oil today has been processed by many steps to make it colorless, odorless and tasteless,”​ he said.

Immune system support

One teaspoon, or 5 ml of the oil, contains 425 mg each of EPA and DHA as well as significant amounts of naturally occurring Vitamin A and Vitamin D.  In addition, that serving contains 45 mcg of the mediators, an amount that Bland said means an immune system support claim could be a possibility. These omega-3 metabolites have been shown to be a key facet of the human immune system response​.

“We believe that we can reap the same benefits of these materials that were present in the animals themselves. They didn’t make them by accident; we believe they were there for a reason. Deep water fish are under high stress from predators, so their immune systems are highly active. Those same nutrients are useful in the same way for humans,”​ he said.

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