Omega-3s from Menhaden Oil Can Save Billions in Healthcare Costs

February 23, 2016 – HOUSTON – The U.S. has a large enough supply of sustainably produced menhaden-derived fish oil to meet the omega-3 fatty acid nutrition needs of several key demographics, and annually save $1.7 billion in healthcare costs, according to a study published today in Lipid Technology. The study, “United States menhaden oil could save billions in U.S. health care costs and improve IQ in children,” is authored by Dr. Doug Bibus, President of Lipid Technologies and an expert on omega-3 fatty acids.

“Menhaden oil offers a rich and sustainable source of EPA, DPA and DHA, the long chain omega-3 fatty acids that are required for proper health and development,” said Dr. Bibus. “Menhaden can literally supply our omega-3 needs to both treat every person with cardiovascular disease, and provide for every expecting mom in the US.”

A strong body of established research, as well as recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA), link omega-3 fatty acids with cardiovascular health. Additionally, the FDA has approved qualified health claim for reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) on foods containing EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.

Drawing from previous economic research, the study concludes that if menhaden-based fish oil were directed to supplying omega-3 fatty acids to coronary heart disease patients over the age of 55, the health savings would total over $1.7 billion. As well, there would be additional savings coming from the health benefits for other cardiovascular issues.

“Inadequate long chain omega-3 intake ranks among the top ten preventable causes of death in the U.S.,” said Dr. Alex Byelashov, Director of New Product Development at Omega Protein. “As a result, marine oils have a tremendous positive impact on human health, and offer great potential for further impacts in the U.S. and around the globe.”

The health benefits gained from shifting the U.S. fish oil supply into human nutrition also extend to early neural development and would benefit women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. The FDA has issued advice encouraging these groups consume between 8 to 12 ounces of fish per week. Dr. Bibus’ paper and states that adhering to these guidelines could result in a net increase of IQ by 5.5 points in developing children and could improve early verbal development.

Dr. Bibus’ study finds that the U.S. supply of menhaden oil is also able to meet these needs. The amount of menhaden oil used to fuel aquaculture is enough “to supply every pregnant and lactating woman in the U.S. with two to three servings of oily fish per week.”

“The deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids is wide spread and completely preventable,” said Dr. Bibus. “Dietary deficits of omega-3 fatty acids put us at risk for developing chronic disease, and rob us of cognitive ability.”

Read the full study here

View a PDF of the release here

About Lipid Technologies
Lipid Technologies is an analytical services and biotechnology consulting company that specializes in the areas of fatty acid and lipid analysis, nutrition, and biochemistry consulting. Since 1995, Lipid Technologies has served the fatty acid and lipid analytical needs of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Fortune 500 food companies, the Department of Defense, and university and clinical researchers.

About Omega Protein
Omega Protein Corporation (NYSE:OME) is a century-old nutritional company that develops, produces and delivers healthy products throughout the world to improve the nutritional integrity of functional foods, dietary supplements and animal feeds. Omega Protein’s mission is to help people lead healthier lives with better nutrition through sustainably sourced ingredients such as highly-refined omega-3 rich fish oil, specialty proteins and nutraceuticals.

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