When consuming a product made from marine animals, sustainability is an important point to consider. The product should not only be made from a plentiful resource but the whole sourcing and manufacturing process should also be under strict sustainability guidelines
What are omega-3 supplements?
Omega-3 supplements are usually called fish oil or krill oil, and are small capsules full of goodness! They contain the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which come from marine sources like fatty fish or krill, and have many health benefits. EPA and DHA are so-called long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which describes their molecular makeup and structure. They are also considered essential fatty acids, which means, that our body is not able to produce them itself with sufficient efficiency, so we need to consume them through our food or via supplements. While our body can produce EPA and DHA for ALA, the “original” omega-3, that can be found in algae and other plant-based sources, this process of transformation is very inefficient, and it is considered to be more beneficial to consume EPA and DHA directly.
How sustainable are omega-3 supplements?
When it comes to the question of how sustainable an omega-3 supplement is, we need to look at a few different factors. First, we will look at the sourcing of the raw ingredient: the fish or krill that is used to produce the fish oil or krill oil.
Secondly, there is the manufacturing of the supplement and the capsules in which it is sold. Here at Omega 3 of Norway, we produce a high-quality product and always make sure to use the newest scientific findings to improve our supplements and their manufacturing process.
The raw ingredients: anchovies and Antarctic krill
We only use wild water anchovies for our fish oil supplements, because they are naturally high in EPA and DHA. Thanks to our advanced distillation process at our facilities in Norway, we can guarantee a high-quality product that meets the highest standards when it comes to the purity and concentration of the oils.
The anchovies are caught in the South Pacific, where the fishery is monitored by a scientific body called the IMARPE. This organization regularly conducts sonar surveys of the anchovy biomass in these areas, and then sets quotas according to their findings. There are 2 specific fishing seasons each year and depending on the findings of the organization, they can even be restricted further. This has been the case in the past few years to protect spawning and juvenile biomass. Following the catch, our freezer ships transport the Anchovies to Ålesund, Norway to be prepared for our 12x unique stages of refinement.
Our krill oil is made from Antarctic Krill, that is sourced using a patented catching method called the eco-harvesting ® technique. For this, we deploy specifically designed vessels that reduce unwanted by-catch thanks to their onboard filtration system, which releases all non-krill species back into the ocean. This way, only the Krill we actually need for our manufacturing process gets caught. Our production is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and is 100 % traceable. This guarantees sustainability and quality assurance for you as a consumer, because this means that you can trace your product throughout its whole production chain.
Furthermore, the CCAMLR (The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) is monitoring the fishing activities in the Antarctic Ocean. There is an estimated total krill biomass of 125 to 750 million tons in these waters. But only a certain area of the ocean is open to commercial fishing, and within that area, only a quota of 9% can be harvested. These restrictions are in place to keep the ecosystem healthy and to avoid overfishing and its detrimental impacts on the marine world.
The manufacturing processes
There are a few steps we have taken at Omega 3 of Norway, to make our products more sustainable.
We offer reusable containers for your supplements to reduce waste and contribute to a circular economy with less single use plastic.
Additionally, we are very particular when it comes to the companies we work with, to ensure the highest quality and transparency in the manufacturing process.
The omega-3 we use meets the highest standards when it comes to purity and quality, and surpasses the requirements of EU and US Pharmacopoeias as well as the IFOS 5-star rating standards. Epax, the company we work with on our omega-3, also has an environmental stewardship policy called Epax ®Ecovision, which unifies a three-part approach to sustainable and ethical business practices. This means that their products are sustainable, traceable they can be held accountable.
Our softgel capsules are Swiss Caps made by the Aenova Group, market leader in fish and bovine gelatine capsules. They offer a high-quality product for the most pleasant consumer experience. Swiss Caps are part of the Aenova Group and are produced mainly in their manufacturing plants in Switzerland and Romania.
Aenova has recently taken further steps to improve their sustainability at the production plant in Cornu, Romania by installing a photovoltaic system. In 2020 two roofs of the production facility were covered in solar panels to produce renewable energy to be used in the manufacturing unit.
Video by ENGIE Romania in Romanian
Aenova is also a member of the MSC and continuously tracks their environmental data via Ecodesk for their key clients. They strive to reduce their emissions and use hydropower energy or solar energy to use more renewable energy sources in their production.
Why you should take these supplements
If you are not already taking omega-3 supplements like fish oil or krill oil on a regular basis, you might be wondering why you should start doing it? Omega-3 supplements can have a lot of positive impacts on your mind and body, whether you are an athlete or not and for adults as well as children.
Impact on cells
Omega-3 fatty acids are integral part of cell membranes in our whole body and affect the function of the cells in the membranes. They have other important functions in processes such as the production of hormones that regulate blood clotting and inflammation. There are many health benefits could be associated with consuming omega-3s on a regular basis, such as reduced risk of heart disease, improved symptoms of certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and they may even play a role in protecting your body from cancer or other conditions.
Inflammation and recovery
They have also been shown to be beneficial for muscle recovery in athletes, and many Olympic athletes use it daily.
Your diet can really impact your athletic performance, and it is important to fuel your body with the right nutrients at all times. Omega-3 fatty acids are said to be anti-inflammatory, which means that they can help your muscles recover faster after exercise. This might be because omega-3 may increase the supply of blood and oxygen to our muscles and heart.
Omega-3 fatty acids can also have a positive impact on other conditions caused by inflammatory processes, and can even have a positive impact in case of allergies.
In this article, we talked about sustainability and why it is so important to make informed decisions as a consumer. Here at Omega 3 of Norway, we are trying to always improve and are taking steps to becoming more sustainable day by day.
Here are some things we are already doing to be more sustainable:
- using a patented fishing technology to reduce unwanted by-catch (eco-harvesting ®)
- fishing under supervision of scientific bodies and only high-quality fish
- offering reusable bottles for the storage of your capsules
- our partner and supplier, SwissCaps is improving their carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy
Of course, there is still a lot more to do, but small changes can really add up, and we are dedicated to keep improving with time and not only improve our customer’s experience but also do good things for our planet!
We offer a range of high-quality krill oil and fish oil supplements in our shop and a lot of information about omega-3, health and nutrition on our blog.