OmegaQuant partners with Australian agency to drive omega-3s research

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images

Related tags Epa Dha omega-3 Omega-3 fatty acid cardiovascular health

A new lab partnership will help drive omega-3s research in the Asia Pacific region, according to OmegaQuant, a firm that has developed a simple blood test to measure levels of these important nutrients.

The partnership teams OmegaQuant and its testing technology with Australia’s leading science agency, CSIRO​ (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization). This collaboration will help expedite the processing of fatty acid blood samples coming from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region (APAC).

OmegaQuant’s blood pinprick, mail-in test determines a subject’s Omega-3 Index, a measure which was invented by company founder William S. Harris, PhD along with a collaborator. The index measures a subject’s omega-3 levels as a percentage of red blood cell volume.  Research has shown it to be a long-term, stable marker of omega-3 status that accurately reflects tissue levels of EPA and DHA. An Omega-3 Index between 8% and 12% is considered the optimal range. 

Harris, who is also associated with the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota, has spent several decades studying these special nutrients.  According to OmegaQuant, the test itself has been used in more than 200 studies and referenced more than 700 times in various research papers.
Harris founded OmegaQuant​, which is based in Sioux Falls, SD, in 2009 and has received several institutional grants for studies on the effects of fatty acids on human health. He currently has more than 300 publications in this field of research.

New lab to be located in Adelaide

OmegaQuant CEO Jason Polreis said the new collaboration will see an OmegaQuant lab relocated to Adelaide from Brisbane to more closely facilitate the research collaboration. Blood samples will now able to be turned around in two weeks or less, which will facilitate the incorporation of baseline and post intervention blood testing into large scale omega-3 studies. The lack of baseline data in many such studies in the past has been one of the issues holding back research into these nutrients.

“It’s really the perception of not having to have samples cross the big pond,” ​Polreis told NutraIngredients-USA. “And there are economies of scale, more on the overhead end that in the consumables themselves.”

The new partnership fits well into CSIRO’s priorities, which include investigating how new technologies such as wearable devices that track health parameters in real time, digital tools to support dietary change and others.

“Omega-3s are so important for consumers of all ages and tests of nutritional status such as the Omega-3 Index will only encourage people to make better choices and take the steps needed to improve their health. We are proud to partner with OmegaQuant, as they bring innovation and a strong foundation of science to the table,”​ said Dr. Welma Stonehouse, Group Leader in the Nutrition and Health Program at CSIRO.
OmegaQuant said it will continue to support fatty acid research and the use of Omega-3 Index testing to improve health in the APAC region through its collaboration with CSIRO. It will also continue to seek out partners that are interested in bringing the benefits of omega-3 testing to the APAC region.
“Having a partner like CSIRO in the APAC region will help elevate the importance of omega-3 testing. CSIRO’s reputation in Australia, and throughout the world, is excellent and we are excited to be working so closely with them,” ​Polreis said.

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