Expert Fish Oil Insights from Nordic Naturals

Nordic Naturals Omega 3

Nordic Naturals produces a line of fish oil supplements that promises to be superior to other types and brands of fish oil on the market. LoveToKnow caught up with Stuart Tomc, Nordic Naturals National Educator and Radio Personality, to ask him about the Nordic Naturals line of supplements and in particular about the value of consuming fish oil supplements.

What is Nordic Naturals?

Stuart Tomc

Nordic Naturals, Inc. was founded 20 years ago by Norwegian born Joar Opheim, BS, MBA. Joar recognized the lack of fish oils in the United States when he first arrived here 20 years ago, founded Nordic Naturals, Inc.Joar once said, "Having been born and raised in Arctic Norway where the fishing industry is a crucial part of both the commerce and academia, I was aware of the importance of pure Omega-3 in the diet." He started with the fundamental goal of advancing the overall quality of fish oils, by developing new technologies for improving taste, purity, and the molecular structure of the oils.

Today, Nordic Naturals offers the largest line of fish oil products available, with up to 95 percent concentration, all in natural triglyceride form. Nordic Naturals' award winning omega oils are available in patented natural fruit flavored capsules in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as great tasting liquids to suit even the most discriminating palate.

Why Are Fish Oils So Important?

Fish oil restores the essential order of life by feeding the body what it needs to resolve inflammation, build healthy cells, balance metabolism, stabilize blood sugar and burn fat. Fish oils contain preformed essential fatty acids EPA and DHA that the body can't make and must be obtained through diet. If we do not take fish oil or eat enough foods rich in both preformed EPA and DHA we may be deficient in the most critical nutrient for optimal health.

Please Explain the Essential Fatty Acids

Alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, is an essential fatty acid, which means that it is essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body. For this reason, ALA must be obtained from food. ALA, as well as the fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), belongs to a group of fatty acids called omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA are found primarily in fish while ALA is found in certain plant oils such as flaxseed oil and to a lesser extent, canola, soy and walnut oils and certain plants.

Once ingested, the body converts ALA to EPA and DHA, the two types of omega-3 fatty acids more readily used by the body. Fish oils are ideal because they are preformed for efficient and immediate use without the possible risks of eating fish.

Does the FDA Endorse or Recommend Essential Fatty Acid Consumption?

On September 8, 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave "qualified health claim" status to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) n−3 fatty acids, stating that "supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease." The FDA has never given this claim to ALA flaxseed and vegetable sources or DHA algae extracts.

Why Are These Fatty Acids So Important?

Human beings evolved consuming a diet that contained about equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Over the past 100 to 150 years, there has been an enormous increase in the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids due to the increased intake of vegetable oils from corn, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, cottonseed, and soybeans.

Today, in Western diets, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ranges from 20-30:1 instead of the traditional range of 1-2:1. Studies indicate that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids shifts the physiologic state to one that is prothrombotic and proaggregatory, characterized by increases in blood viscosity, vasospasm, and vasoconstriction and decreases in bleeding time. Omega-3 Fatty acids, however, have anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antiarrhythmic, hypolipidemic, and vasodilatory properties.

These beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and, in some patients with renal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Most of the studies have been carried out with fish oils (eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA.)

Fish Oil Supplements

What Causes the Unpleasant Aftertaste From Many Fish Oil Supplements?

The "burp" or repeat often associated with fish oils is due to the by products of oxidation which have a high vapor pressure i.e. gases rise.

Nordic Naturals Doesn't Seem to Have an Aftertaste. Why?

Fresh fish and fresh fish oils have low levels of oxidation. The lower the oxidation the lower the potential repeat. Avoiding oxidation is the key to manufacturing great tasting fish oil free from repeat. Nordic Naturals avoids oxidation by catching fish efficiently and rushing them to manufacturing in a multi-patented, oxygen-free process that preserves the freshness of the fish while removing any possible environmental contaminants.

Nordic Naturals avoids oxidation by manufacturing in a vacuum, in a nitrogen rich, oxygen-free environment and in the absence of free radical catalysts such as iron and/or copper.

Does the Manufacturing Process Impact the Quality of Fish Oils?

People sometimes inquire about the manufacturing of fish oils using steam and misunderstand the role of temperature.The only thing that heat has to do with any of this is that heat will speed up the rate of reaction, but without free radical or oxygen. Heat itself does not cause the oxidation - it only affects the rate of oxidation.

How Can Consumers Assess the Quality of Fish Oil?

The real evidence of high quality fish oil is low peroxide, anisidine, and totox values (measured in the finished product, but before flavor is added because most flavors falsely elevate anisidine values) and more importantly the absence of a fishy taste. It has been verified that the most significant and sensitive equipment to measure oxidation in oils is still not nearly as sensitive as the human pallet. The aldehyde byproducts of oxidative damage to fish oils have a high vapor pressure (thus the fish burp) and distinct rank taste and smell of rancid fish.

Nordic Naturals Fish Oil Supplement Specifics

What Types of Fish Are Used to Produce Nordic Naturals Supplements?

Nordic Naturals only uses fully sustainable sardines, anchovies and Arctic cod for all of our fish oil products. Nordic Naturals has a strict policy to never use non-sustainable fish like krill, salmon, mackerel, halibut, herring, white fish or other popular sources of fish often used in fish oil products.

Why Should People Choose Nordic Naturals?

Integrity, purity, freshness, sustainability and a fish oil that tastes like pure health - that's why Nordic Naturals is a favorite brand for people choosing to consume fish oil supplements.

Last year, Nordic Naturals was "Top-Rated Supplement Brand" by the 2008 ConsumerLab.com Survey of Vitamin and Supplement Users. Receiving two recognitions, #1 Rated Overall Brand for Consumer Satisfaction and #1 Rated Health Food Store Brand for Consumer Satisfaction, Nordic Naturals had the highest customer satisfaction ratings of all brands considered, throughout 8 different distribution channels, with 95.2 percent of its customers highly satisfied with the brand based on responses of "extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied". According to the report, "this was significantly higher than any other brand."

Though 1,367 brands were sited in the survey, only 47 received at least 100 consumer ratings and only those were included in determining the top ratings. To determine the ordering rank of brands, the survey took into account many components including availability, effectiveness, benefits relative to cost (value) and ingredient quality.

In all categories, Nordic Naturals received notable ratings. However, the Nordic Naturals brand showed the highest rating of consumer satisfaction for ingredient quality and received the highest rating of consumer satisfaction for brand effectiveness compared to all other brands included in the survey.

Six thousand dietary supplement users (qualified by 94 percent of the respondents taking 2 or more supplements daily) completed the online survey rating supplement brands and merchants on overall consumer satisfaction. The results were announced by ConsumerLab.com's President Tod Cooperman, MD, at the Focus on the Future conference held in Arizona and are detailed in their February 2008 Analysis Report.


Nordic Naturals supplements are available nationwide at health food stores, pharmacies and select stores, or you can visit the company's website for more information.

Expert Fish Oil Insights from Nordic Naturals