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Source-Omega Suggests No Evidence Supports Synergistic Omega-3 Claims

What are synergistic omega-3 claims? These are claims not based on dose dependence and not supported by double blind studies. Krill oil marketing is the perfect example. Scientifically, antioxidants and phospholipids do not make omega-3s more powerful, they allow the oils to last longer in the capsule as phospholipids, say most experts. The qualitative suggestion of powerful verses potency is at the heart of the issue. Potency is a scientific term. “10 times more powerful” is more like a line out of a super hero comic book. Even mixtures of omega-3s are not synergistic, but complimentary.
Synergistic implies multiplicity when two or more ingredients are mixed, some might give a statement of improvement that is implied, but not provable. Multiplicity says 1 + 1 gives 10. But how? Take a krill oil example again, saying phospholipid tethered omega-3s are more powerful than triglyceride tethered omega-3 fatty acids, or ethyl ester omega-3s, again giving a kind of potion argument. What is the problem in the reasoning here? Oral phospholipid and triglyceride tethered omega-3s are digested by lipases in the gut and the fatty acids are then and only then, independently transferred across the enterocyte wall into the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell and packaged into triglyceride-rich lipoproteins for passage to the blood. What form the omega-3 was given does not matter because these are digested, similar to proteins digested into amino acids. When someone eats a steak, hamburger does not end up in their blood, however fats, sugars and amino acids do.
Why this matters. While omega-3 medicine tries to make good, marketing by companies may be magnifying the noise of poor claims, comparing apples to Newtonian physics, just for tipping the consumer onto the claim. Well that’s marketing. Okay, but educational content is the good side of marketing, one may say, still when it comes to science, some question potion claims so as not to mislead, some do not, it seems.

So what is the problem? CaPre and Neptune are going after GlaxoSmithKline’s LOVAZA with synergistic omega-3 claims. A lipid biochemist might be offended by the fact that a potion claim will raise a stock price 22%. That worked?! Yet, the perpetuation of a belief system around krill oil is the most prominent and effective strategy being employed.

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