Almega PL is a vegetarian, sustainable, polar-lipid structured EPA omega-3 oil, explained David Hart,Qualitas Health’s vice president of marketing.“The polar lipids—phospholipids and glycolipids—in Almega PL have been clinically shown in peer-reviewed studies to have similar omega-3 absorption compared to krill oil. This positions Almega PL squarely in the value-added segment of the omega-3 market, along with additional benefits like the non-GMO vegetarian source and environmentally friendly production,” he said.
Specializing in microalgae technology, the privately held company’s expertise is in the biology and processing of all things algae. “While our core biology and processing team has worked together for over 10 years growing and processing algae, Qualitas was founded in 2012,” said Mr. Hart. Since then, the company has completed a whole product development cycle from “R&D, pilot production, clinical trials, regulatory approvals, to scale-up and commercialization” for the development of Almega PL.
In addition to Qualitas’ NDIN, this year also heralded successful business partnerships for the company, including distribution agreements with Xsto Solutions, Morristown, NJ, for the U.S., and Lipa Pharmaceuticals, Minto, Australia, for Australia and New Zealand.
Sound research underscores this commercial growth, with multiple peer-reviewed studies supporting the efficacy and safety of the company’s ingredient. Most recently, a study featured in Food and Function (Kagan et al.) demonstrated that Almega PL’s omega-3 uptake was similar, and in some cases superior, to krill oil.
In the trial rats were fed for seven days either Almega PL or krill oil. Researchers found that while the uptake of total omega-3s in plasma, brain, liver and gonadal adipose tissues was similar between Almega PL and krill oil, in retroperitoneal adipose tissues the levels were significantly higher in the Almega PL group. There was an average 3-fold differential in EPA content of retroperitoneal adipose tissue between groups, which is much greater than the difference in EPA content in the two oils. Tissue availability of Almega PL containing 9% glycolipids and 6% phospholipids is similar to that of krill oil containing 40% phospholipids. The scientists hypothesized that glycolipids may be a more effective carrier for omega-3s and specifically EPA.
The Road Ahead…
Looking toward the company’s future, Mr. Hart said the company’s focus would be expanding regulatory approvals and commercial markets for Almega PL, as well as developing the next generation of nutritional ingredients based on microalgae.He added, “These next generation ingredients include a vegan protein, omega-7 fatty acids and a wider range of vegetarian and sustainable high EPA omega-3 oils.”
Despite recent controversy and a dip in sales in the omega-3 segment, Mr. Hart is optimistic algae-based ingredients will present a beneficial alternative for supplement users. “Specifically looking at the omega-3 segment, there has been a significant decline in some segments of the market, while the value-added segments of the market like krill oil, fish oil concentrates and algal omega-3s have shown growth. The positive initial results of the GOED coalition consumer campaign hopefully bode well for the omega-3 market, and this initiative is a welcome and important development.”