Editor’s Note: We spoke with Dr. Anne-Marie Chalmers, the owner of Omega3 Innovations with Dr. Bo Martinsen. They provide their high quality omega-3 products to customers around the U.S. from their headquarters at 727 Commerce Drive in Venice. Visit Omega3Innovations.com.
Anne-Marie, what’s the brief history of your company and how did two physicians from Norway end up in Venice, Florida?
Bo and I moved to Florida from Norway with our two children in 2000. We wanted to give them more contact with their American grandparents. By that point in our medical careers, we had become fascinated with omega-3s. Studies showed that omega-3 fish oil could help the heart, brain, and chronic inflammation conditions when taken in effective doses. But as physicians, we knew swallowing umpteen capsules was not popular with patients. We decided to create a product that tasted better, was easier to swallow and that provided the best dose. Helping people get an effective omega-3 dose is what guides us every day, and it’s the hallmark of our patented Omega Cure® oil.
Why are omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA important to our health including our heart, joints and eyes? Can’t adults get sufficient amounts of omega-3s from eating fresh salmon?
These fatty acids are critical to the health of every cell in your body. They facilitate nutrient exchange in the cell, and influence cell signaling and gene expression. Omega-3s also support our microbiome and endocannabinoid system (the same system CBD works on). Most Americans don’t eat enough fatty fish to get sufficient omega-3s. Plus, how much omega-3 you get from seafood depends on the type of fish you eat, whether it’s wild or farm raised, the season, and even how you prepare it. Studies show that 95 percent of Americans do not have optimal omega-3 levels, so most people’s current dietary habits are just not cutting it!
What is Omega Cure and how did you eliminate the fishy taste and smell associated with similar products?
Omega Cure is a full-spectrum cod liver oil. It comes from wild cod fished off the northwest coast of Norway. Omega Cure does not have a fishy taste or smell. That’s because the oil is extremely fresh, and we are also very careful with how it is handled from the time the fish are caught to the time the final product reaches the consumer. Most omega-3 products are not very fresh. Typically, they are manufactured with poor quality raw materials, they are encapsulated, and it takes a long time for the final product to reach the consumer. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly susceptible to oxidation, so they need to be treated like perishable foods – not like pills. It took us 10 years of working together with the world’s leading fish oil manufacturer to develop the technology that makes Omega Cure so unique.
What can you share about your newest product Omega Passion?
Omega Passion is a yummy chocolate bar that contains as much omega-3 as a 3 oz. fillet of salmon! It’s also made with other microbiome-friendly ingredients that you find in the Mediterranean diet: walnuts, oats, Greek yogurt, non-alkalized dark chocolate, and cinnamon. It doesn’t contain any preservatives and only a limited amount of sugar.
I’ve sampled your Omega Cookie and Omega Passion bar. Both are tasty treats. How do you create healthy products that taste so good?
A lot of hard work and many years of failed experiments. Bo always says that, if we are going to change the dire trends in this country surrounding obesity, anxiety, and low omega-3 intake, we need products that can outperform junk food in terms of taste. So we take squeamishness very seriously! It’s been exciting to see young children and teens genuinely enjoy eating Omega Passion. One of the most consistent comments we hear is that it tastes like fudge!
Most people get their omega-3 through capsules. Why do you prefer to include the fish oil in other types of products instead of capsules?
The biggest problem with capsules is the dose aspect. The gelatin in a capsule takes up a surprising amount of space, so you have to swallow quite a few capsules to get the kind of doses used in successful research studies – easily 8 to 12 a day. Yes, you can concentrate fish oils. But even with concentrates, like the new prescription omega-3s that have been getting a lot of attention, you still have to take four full-size capsules (or 8 smaller capsules) daily to get the full dose. That’s a lot of capsules! As doctors in Norway, we learned that the more pills a patient had to swallow, the lower the patient’s compliance. In addition, a lot of people can’t swallow pills. That was why we decided early on that capsules were not for us and started developing a liquid formulation instead. One vial of Omega Cure Extra Strength contains the equivalent of 10 regular fish oil capsules (3000 mg of EPA/DHA) and is easy to drink by itself or combined with juice. In pilot testing, it’s been interesting to see that people absorb more omega-3s from our products than from capsule-based brands with comparable omega-3 doses. Newer microbiome research suggests this could be because liquids and foods have better contact with the oral and gut bacteria than encapsulated products that dissolve further down in the intestines.
What would you like to share about your family, and do you still have relatives living in Norway?
Omega3 Innovations is a family business. Besides Bo and I, our two now-adult children are also involved in the business. We do still have family in Norway as well. I wish I had more time to visit Oslo but running Omega3 Innovations with the rest of the team is more than a full-time job.