Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that the human body is unable to produce itself, and therefore must be acquired through diet and supplementation. Because of the multitude of health benefits that fatty acids offer, Omega-3’s have become the “golden child” of the supplement and vitamin industry. According to Packaged Facts’ report “Omega-3: Global Product Trends and Opportunities,” spending for Omega-3 food, beverage, supplement, and other health/beauty care products is expected to reach $13 billion in the global market, with growth predicted to continue at a
rate between 15-20% through 2015.

In a Packaged Facts report, food, beverage, and supplement figures, excluding fish, Omega-3s represented a 17% rise in 2009. Growth of Omega-3 nutraceutical products is predicted to be at a rate of between 15-20% through 2015. What is contributing to the success of this “wonder” supplement?

Public awareness and promising health benefits are critical components of the success of Omega-3s. Both mainstream and industry media have publicly heralded essential fatty acids as necessary to a healthy lifestyle, which has resulted in growth in consumer demand and increased product innovations
by food, beverage, and supplement manufacturers.

Although positive press has expanded the general population’s familiarity with Omega-3s, it is truly the extensive range of health advantages that sets this essential fatty acid apart from other product offerings. Studies have shown a variety of uses for essential fatty acids regarding brain function, normal growth and development, and heart health, to name a few.

There are several types of Omega-3 fatty acids – ALA, DHA, and EPA. The less potent ALA is found in several plant sources, while DHA and EPA are sourced from several species of fish. DHA may also be derived from algae, giving vegetarians an option other than fish oil for Omega-3 supplementation.

Omega-3s have a great deal of support from the medical community. Research supports that Omega-3s reduce inflammation throughout the body, supporting cardiovascular and joint functions. A study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism concluded that DHA target brain function that controls memories, and may also fight age-related vision loss. Multiple studies have shown DHA lower triglycerides, reducing the risk for heart disease. Other studies suggest Omega-3 may lower the risk of stroke, ease rheumatoid arthritis, boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs, relieve depression, support prenatal health, improve asthma, reduce ADHD symptoms, and even protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

When creating your own Omega-3 formulation, it is ideal to offer your customers several options. Medical professionals recommend 1-4 grams per day of DHA and EPA combined depending on individual health concerns. You may also consider offering Omega-3 fortified products, as well as custom products targeted to children, seniors, and other specific age groups.

So, why offer Omega-3 formulas to your consumers? Growth in this segment will continue as research continues to support the efficiency of these essential fatty acids. Because of the versatility of Omega-3, product scope also continues to expand. Omega-3s are profitable and marketable, making them an ideal choice for supplement distributors to promote.