Our supplier’s production facility in Iceland has been a leader in the research, development, and processing of marine lipids for decades. All products made in this facility meet the parameters defined by the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the World Health Organization. Iceland is the first nation to have achieved true and complete sustainable fishing and their fishing methods are safe for dolphins and other protected species. The facility is Non-GMO and follows the practices of Iceland Responsible Fisheries, NOAA’s Seafood Inspection Program, and California’s Proposition 65. This is why we can bring you the top quality fish oil, direct from Iceland:
OmegaQuant uses a single drop of blood to measure the Omega-3 Index.
• A single finger prick provides enough blood for the lab to measure your Omega-3 Index.
• This eliminates the need to have your blood drawn at a clinic and the hassle of sending hazardous materials (blood) through the mail. You can collect your sample and send it through the mail from the comfort of your own home!
The lab is able to pass along the savings from their efficient collection system to you, the consumer, and offer a high-quality test at an economical price.
The Omega-3 Index test can give you an unbiased view of your dietary intake of omega-3s as well as a measure of heart disease risk.
• Other fatty acid tests do not use the same analysis methods and cannot be interchanged with the Omega-3 Index. So your EPA+DHA, for example, might be 6.7% in Lab A and 5.2% in Lab B. Which one is “right?”
• The unique method used at OmegaQuant has more research behind it than any other commercially-available test, and new studies continue to be published.
Please see our shop for current discounted pricing!
Omega-3 Index test is $49.95. This includes a collection kit, the envelope and postage to send in your blood spot, and a detailed report of your results. Your results will include your Omega-3 Index, AA:EPA ratio and Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio.
Omega-3 & Trans Fat Index test is $74.95. This includes a collection kit, the envelope and postage to send in your blood spot, and a detailed report of your results. Your results will include your Omega-3 Index, Trans Fat Index and AA:EPA ratio and Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio.
24 Fatty Acid Profile test is $99.95. This includes a collection kit, the envelope and postage to send in your blood spot, and a detailed report of your results. Your results will include your Omega-3 Index, Trans Fat Index, full fatty acid profile, AA:EPA ratio and Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio.
You can read the collection instructions here or watch the video below.
The only way is to directly measure the Omega-3 Index.
The target Omega-3 Index is 8% and above, a level that current research indicates is associated with the lowest risk* for death from CHD. This is also a typical level in Japan, a country with one of the lowest rates of sudden cardiac death in the world. On the other hand, an Index of 4% or less (which is common in the US) indicates the highest risk*. At present, there is no reason to suggest that the target should be different for men vs. women, or for different age groups. Whether there is an upper limit of safety for the Index is not clear, but there is likely a value above which there is not likely to be any additional health benefit. Further research will help define this level.
*In this context, “risk” refers only to that associated with differing levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Risks associated with other factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, family history of CHD, smoking, or other cardiac conditions are completely independent of the Omega-3 Index. All risk factors – including the Omega-3 Index—should be addressed as part of any global risk reduction strategy.
No. There is no way to predict – for any given person – what his/her Omega-3 Index will be just by knowing how much fish they eat or how many capsules they take. Individual differences in metabolism, absorption, and genetics make it impossible to predict with certainty how a given person will respond to supplements.
Increase your intake of EPA+DHA. The amount you would need to take in order to raise your Omega-3 Index into the target range (>8%) depends in part on your starting level, but it cannot be predicted with certainty as described above. Nevertheless, if your Omega-3 Index is between 4% and 8%, OmegaQuant would recommend that you increase your current EPA+DHA intake by 0.5 -1 gram (500 – 1000 mg) per day. This can be accomplished in two ways: eating more oily fish and/or taking fish oil supplements. On the other hand, if it is less than 4%, the recommendation would be that you raise your intake by 1-3 g (1000 – 3000 mg) per day. Although this can be accomplished by eating more oily fish, fish oil supplements are usually necessary to achieve this level of EPA+DHA intake.
In OmegaQuant's experience, to increase the Omega-3 Index by 4%, one would need to increase his/her intake by about 1 g of EPA+DHA per day for roughly 6 months. Alternatively, one could increase by 2 g/d and a 4% increase could be achieved more quickly. In other words, raising the Index is a function of both dose and time.
For private pay individuals submitting a dried blood spot for analysis, once the sample is received at OmegaQuant, the results will be available within 3 working days.
No. It is not necessary to fast before collecting your sample; however, it is best to collect the sample before taking fish oil supplements.
Whole blood and RBCs (red blood cells) are different starting materials and the EPA+DHA content of each is different, but highly correlated. Based on multiple experiments, OmegaQuant has derived a mathematical equation that converts the DBS EPA+DHA value into the corresponding RBC value (which is the Omega-3 Index). Therefore, the sum of EPA and DHA in the DBS report will usually be slightly different from the Omega-3 Index.
The OmegaQuant full fatty acid report now includes information on percentile ranks for not only the Omega-3 Index, but also for each of the 5 major fatty acid groups and two ratios. The purpose of the percentile ranks it to give the client a perspective of where he or she falls within the normal range of the population. For example, an Omega-3 Index of 5.5% would correspond to a percentile rank of 44%. This means that approximately 44% of the population has a lower Omega-3 Index, and 56% a higher Index.
Since OmegaQuant performs both red blood cell-based tests and dried blood spot-based tests (which generate the same values for the Omega-3 Index, but different values for the other fatty acids reported because of the different sample types), the “populations” used to make the percentile determinations are different. Percentiles on the red blood cell test were determined based on about 11,000 individuals who have had this test, and percentiles on the dried blood spot test were determined based on about 27,000 individuals.
Included with each the 5 classes of fatty acids are “reference ranges.” The reference range is provided simply to give an idea of how these values compared to a large number of others taken from a relatively healthy population. In the case of the RBC (red blood cell) assay, the reference range was taken from approximately 11,000 individuals whose samples were submitted to the laboratory for analysis. In the case of the dried blood spot assay, the reference range was taken from approximately 27,000 individuals. No information regarding the state of health of any of these individuals is known. In both cases, the reference range encompasses 99% of the individuals in their respective populations. Although “average,” these are not necessarily “optimal” levels, i.e., target levels or levels that one should to attempt to achieve. The only results for which OmegaQuant feels justified in providing actual targets or optimal levels are the Omega-3 Index and Tran Fat Index since these have undergone the most research. As the research in this area matures, they may recommend new “target” values for other fatty acids or ratios when they believe that they have been adequately validated.
As noted above, OmegaQuant provides reference ranges for general information only, not to suggest or guide changes in diet. They do not believe that the research has advanced to the point where they can tell people who have a below (or above) “average” level of any given fatty acid class that they should try to change it. There are several reasons for this. First, since most fatty acid levels in the blood are not influenced by diet but are established by internal genetics and metabolism, even attempting to alter a fatty acid level by dietary change would be largely futile. Secondly, the lab doesn't have the data at present to show that even if one could change fatty acid levels (again, except for the Omega-3 Index and trans fatty acids), it would benefit them to do so. So until further research convincingly demonstrates that raising or lowering a certain fatty acid or class is beneficial or not, OmegaQuant will take the conservative approach of simply giving each client the numbers, and they can track them as they wish.
Trans fats are unsaturated fats (i.e., fats with 1 or more double bonds) in which at least 1 of the double bonds is in the trans (instead of the more natural cis) configuration (see diagram below). Trans fats can occur naturally at fairly low levels in some meat and milk products, but most of the trans fats that Americans consume are industrially produced. That is, they are produced from liquid vegetable oils by the process of “hydrogenation”, which results in the creation of solid fats like shortening, margarine, etc.
Examples of cis and trans-configured unsaturated fatty acids. Elaidic acid is the most common trans fatty acid in our food supply. Image from Mozaffarian D, et al. 2006, New England Journal of Medicine (click here for abstract).
Food industry began to produce margarines (which include trans fats) as a replacement for butter because the latter had been declared a health hazard due to its high saturated fat content. Industry needed an alternative for their frying and baking needs. Adding hydrogen to unsaturated oils created a semi-solid, trans fat product, e.g. Crisco, that was shelf-stable and made flakey baked goods and crispy fried chicken. Unfortunately, trans fats turned out to be worse than butter with regards to heart disease risk (See “Why are trans fats bad for my heart?”). Now there is an effort to replace trans fats with alternatives, such as palm oil and, you guessed it, butter. The pendulum swings.
Processed foods, such stick margarine, baked goods, deep-fried fast foods, crackers and other pre-packaged snack foods, are our primary sources of industrially-produced trans fats. However, many of these types of foods are constantly being reformulated to reduce trans fat levels (See “What is being done to lower the trans fat content in foods?”).
Trans fats increase the risk for heart disease through negative effects on cardiovascular risk factors which leads to an increased risk for heart attacks. Trans fats cause an increase in the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, a reduction in the “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and worsens the total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio compared to cis-unsaturated and saturated fats. Inflammatory makers, such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6, were elevated in obese women with higher vs. lower intakes of trans fats. Endothelial function (blood vessel health) was worsened in clinical trials when subjects consumed trans fats in the place of monounsaturated fats or carbohydrates.
Higher trans fat levels in red blood cells was associated with a 47% increased risk for sudden cardiac death in a case-control study. Some studies also show an increased risk of diabetes in women who consumed more trans fats, but this is not as consistent as the heart disease data. It is estimated that eliminating trans fat from the food supply would avert between 6-19% of heart disease-related deaths per year, totaling up to 228,000 deaths.
This information is sourced from the article, “Trans Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian et al. 2006. Please click here for access to the abstract of the paper.
Trans fats are an excellent product for baking and frying, but they are being removed from the food supply due to the discovery of their effect on heart disease risk. Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration removed the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status from trans fats in 2013, meaning that food processors must get permission to use trans fats in their foods. Many food processers have been removing and replacing trans fats from their products for years. The following graph shows the progress that has been made in lowering trans fat levels in foods with traditionally high levels. US consumers can expect these levels to drop further once the FDA ruling comes into effect.
Average trans fatty acid (TFA) content from 2007 through 2011 of brand-name US supermarket food products that contained ≥0.5 g/serving trans fatty acids in 2007, by food categories. Data were not collected in 2009. All products listing 0 g trans fatty acids but still containing partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list were considered to still contain 0.25 g per serving of trans fatty acids. Image from Otite FO, et al. 2013, Prev Chronic Disease. To access the complete article, please click here.
The Nutrition Facts Panel on packaged foods lists the amount of trans fats per serving. If a serving of the food has less than 0.5 g of trans fat, then the manufacturer can list it as “0.” Non-packaged foods like bulk grains, cereals, candies; store-packaged meat; fresh fruits and vegetables do not have a Nutrition label and thus any trans fats in those foods will not be listed. The vast majority of trans fats in the US diet are found in packaged foods. The Nutrition Facts Panel example given here is the updated version, proposed by the FDA in 2014. Click here for more information.
The cut points were derived from a combination of two sets of data. First, based on over 27,000 samples analyzed at OmegaQuant Analytics over the last few years, they have an idea of the distribution of the Trans Fat Index in the US population. Second, they used published data from Sun et al. (Circulation 2007;115:1858-1865) in the Nurses’ Health Study. These researchers measured levels of industrially-produced trans fats in red blood cell membranes and related those levels to risk for cardiovascular events. They found a statistically significant, direct relationship between the Trans Fat Index and heart disease – higher levels were associated with higher risk. Those women in the highest 25% of the population (4th quartile) were 2.8x as likely to have a cardiac event as women in the lowest quartile.
Based on these two data sets, OmegaQuant chose the lowest quartile in the Sun paper (1.0%) as the upper limit of the Desirable level, and the highest quartile (1.65%) as the beginning of the lower limit of the Undesirable category. Individuals between 1% and 1.65% would be considered in the Intermediate zone. In the 27,000 sample data set from OmegaQuant, only about 13% of the population had a Desirable Trans Fat Index; 65% of the population had an Intermediate score; and 22% of the population was in the Undesirable range.
Since more data is still needed to really know what the “healthiest” level of trans fats would be, it is more important for the consumer to see a decrease in his/her Trans Fat Index after making healthier dietary choices than for the consumer to be in a specific risk group. In other words, lowering the Trans Fat Index from whatever level it is at the start shows good progress and would be expected to lower heart disease risk.
DHA, the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and retina, is a particularly important factor in the first two years of a child’s development. DHA assists in brain and eye development and function, and supports healthy heart function.
Premature infants have an even greater need for DHA after they are born, as they missed out on some time for brain DHA accumulation from their mother in utero.