PhytOriginal is the first and only live EPA Omega-3 supplement. As a live natural and unprocessed vegan alternative, Aqua Health Labs is taking direct aim at the fish oil market.
Aqua Health Labs, a Chicago based nutritional supplement company, is taking direct aim at the Omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement market currently dominated by processed fish oils. Launched in late 2013, the company's flagship product PhytOriginal is the only EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid, an essential fatty acid) supplement on the market today containing live marine phytoplankton.
Abundant scientific evidence demonstrates the health benefits of essential fatty acids, including improved cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol and reduced joint pain. The American Heart Association recommends meeting our need for EFA by eating a 3.5 oz serving of fatty fish at least twice a week, which while preferable from a nutrition standpoint is for many people not a practical or affordable option. Additionally, individuals with coronary artery disease or high triglycerides may not be able to get enough EFA through diet alone. The solution is EFA supplementation, traditionally in the form of fish oil products, on which Americans spent $1.2 billion in 2013.
The problem is that fish oil supplements are a heavily processed product using live animals sourced from depleted global fisheries. And in addition to beneficial EFAs, these fish also concentrate toxic pollutants including mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxins in their bodies.
Aqua Health Lab's mission is to provide consumers with a higher quality, environmentally sustainable source of EPA. Scientists have long understood that fish get EPA from their diet of tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton, which make it naturally. Obtaining the essential nutrients humans need from the original source was the next logical step, one recognized by Aqua Health Labs founder and CEO Jordan Markuson, who says "It makes good economic and environmental sense to cut out the biological middle man."
While clearly a pioneer, Markuson is not alone in this thinking, as evidenced by other supplement companies also exploring phytoplankton as an alternative to fish oil. However, he points out that these firms are not providing a live, fresh product with an intact nutritional profile. Current competitors include shelf stable phytoplankton liquid supplements (a live phytoplankton product must be refrigerated), and at least one company is processing plankton into oil for pills; as with fish oil, processing results in nutrient degradation.
"PhytOriginal is not just an alternative to fish oil, it's really an upgrade for the entire industry," said Markuson. "Its nutrients are intact because the plants are still alive. They are cultivated in a sterile growth chamber, so there's no exposure to pollution. Choosing a plant based supplement reduces the carbon footprint of the entire industry, decreases pressure on overfished oceans and reduces bycatch of endangered species." And, it's worth noting, consuming fresh plants in their natural state eliminates the problem of unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects many individuals experience due to difficulties with digestion of concentrated fish oil.
Consumers interested in making the switch from fish oil to phytoplankton can visit AquaHealthLabs.com to learn more.
Aqua Health Labs