Fish oil supplementation: the taste, symptoms of deficiency and dosage recommendation
I’m here with Sally Carstens. She’s brand manager for eye q in South Africa and in an earlier episode we spoke about the benefits of a good omega 3 and 6 supplement for children and optimising their learning. Now, something I have to ask you is the taste because I’ve had children smelling like fish; I’ve had children refusing to take fish oil supplements because they know they will smell of fish. How does this compete with other brands, when you’re looking at the taste? Okay. So, in terms of taste I think the first thing to mention is that in the group of children where this specific formulation is indicated, we have children that suffer from sensory processing disorder. Anything that smells unpleasant, that feels unpleasant in their mouth, they’re not even going to want to consider. Right. That’s why you have different forms: you’ve got chews, you’ve got capsules and you’ve got a liquid form. Correct. So this allows the child to make a choice. I must say, generally speaking, the older/adolescent child they like the straight-forward capsules – they’re easy, they don’t look childish so they think they look quite cool. And if they burp they’re not going to smell their breath be fishy? They might in the beginning but eventually it becomes less and less. What I can say and what I do say to parents is that, just remember the physiology of the body is like a motor vehicle. So if you take your capsule mid-meal, so you’ve got a little bit of food that lies on top of that capsule – you’re less likely to have fishy burp afterwards. Great advice. Number one. Number two: once you’ve opened the bottle, keep it in the fridge. A cold oil will move to the bottom, it’s a little bit denser in the tummy and therefore again you’re less likely to have repeat – with any fish oil. We have the strawberry-flavoured chews, which then omits that fishy burp because the flavouring. If you are going to have a – it’s just because physiologically speaking some people tend to burp after any type of oil – you will then burp lip gloss versus burping fish. Right. I’m just have to stop you here. Yes. Just on the chews. The natural question, is it diabetic-friendly? Absolutely, so they use nature-identical strawberry flavouring and you will notice that the chews are not red in colour – they actually are clear in colour – because we don’t want anything synthetic in the brand. Yes. And no E-numbers. No E-numbers because we know our ADHD group of children are very sensitive to these. So, there’s no colourants, no preservatives, we’ve got natural-preservative vitamin E, which we get from soy which is a very-very low percentage and you can chew or swallow the capsule depending on what’s your specific. So it’s small enough? It’s small enough to do either. Okay, I’m going to take and have a look at it while you talk about the liquids. With absolute pleasure. One must remember and we do get consumers now and again who are used to the sort of sugary-vitamin chews, which is not at all what they are expecting. This is an essential fatty acid and essential fatty acids are oils. So it is an oil, if the child is concerned about the feeling or the texture of the oil on the tongue – swallow the capsule, don’t chew it. Okay. It’s that easy. Alright. The other option that we have of course is the liquid. And the liquid is something that whenever I bring it out if I’m busy speaking to parents or speaking to training in store – I think there’s that old memory of granny giving cod liver oil and the immediate thing is, ‘Oh no, I’m not going to taste it’. Today, I’m going to ask you to do me a big favour. No! To taste the eye q liquid formula for me. Are you sure? Because I have an open-book face. Okay. First of all, it is a specifically sealed bottle, child-proof bottle. Right. So, what I want you to do is I’d like you to do is to block your nose with one hand. Are you sure about this? I’m 100% sure about this. This could back fire. Block your nose with the one hand and the first thing I want you to tell me with your nose blocked, is what you taste. Keep your nose blocked, what do you taste? Oil. Is there any flavour at all? No. Now let your nose go. Now what do you taste? It’s really pleasant, citrussy. There we go. This is really nice. I have no objection to taking that. Okay. It really is a pleasant-tasting oil. The other thing for the children that are tactile, that really can’t handle the feeling of oil on their tongue, we recommend that you pop this into a smoothie first thing in the morning. And from what age can the children start taking this supplement? They can use the liquid from age three. And then we’ve also got our older population who want to take an omega for maintaining cognitive health, etc., heart health, retinal degeneration as we get old and our vision becomes more poor – and they (some of them) would also prefer to use the liquid. And it’s very pleasant tasting. As I said, you can add it to a yoghurt, add it into something sweet, something savoury or into a smoothie. I mean you’re not going to have an issue putting a little bit of this onto, even, your salad. It’s obviously not how we want consumers to use it, it does have clinical properties. And one teaspoon of the oil is equivalent to two of the capsules in terms of the omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. That’s important to know. What’s the dosage of the capsules and does it vary with age? No, the dose of capsule is the same whether you are three or 300. Okay. By God’s grace. The dose of the capsule you start with if you’ve had symptoms that might identify that you have a fatty-acids deficiency; these could be: brittle nails, dry hair, excessive thirst, excessive going to the loo, allergies, food allergies, and cognitive symptoms where you’re not able to concentrate, you’ve got poor sleep quality, you might be suffering from mood disorders – those symptoms clearly define that you clearly have a fatty-acid deficiency. Then we try and get you to take three in the morning and three in the evening, so that’s six capsules per day of either the chews or the caps for the first three months. I was going to ask, for how long? And that is to build your fatty acid pool. Thereafter, you can bring the dose down to just two capsules a day or one teaspoon of the liquid a day as your maintenance dose – which is just topping that pool up all the time. If you have breakthrough symptoms, you can slightly increase your dose again until the symptoms start to diminish and then you can re-challenge to bring the dose down again. We all metabolise essential fatty acids at different speeds. Children generally have a more rapid metabolism because they’re growing very rapidly. We have a slower metabolism but we might need more because 1) we are larger in stature and 2) our body’s need might be greater because of ill-living earlier on in life. That is why the balance – children are metabolising far more quickly so they still need a high dose, adults’ need is greater and a larger in form and stature. And the dosage between these two are also the same? They’re identical. It doesn’t matter what form, the chews or the capsules? So whether you choose the chews or the capsules it’s exactly the same. If you choose the liquid your starting dose would be three teaspoons a day for the first three months, thereafter one teaspoon a day for maintenance dose. And what are the capsules made of? The capsules are made of gelatine, bovine gelatine – and we do have international Halal and Kosher certification for this gelatine, in other words, it has followed the correct procedure in the slaughtering of the animal. There are no additives or synthetic additions. Colourants or fillers or anything like that? Nothing, whatsoever in the capsule – whatsoever. Where do you source your fish from because that’s quite a contentious issue as well? Yes. To make sure that we’re not adding mercury when we’re adding a fish-oil supplement. And I think that may be particularly concerning if you’re looking at our oceans. And our oceans in the Northern Hemisphere because of population needs are generally full of pipelines and it’s your shipping route, so the mercury contamination of the fish is much higher in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere where we have cleaner, less polluted oceans. So we source our fish predominantly in the Pacific Ocean which is a southern ocean. In the eye q range we have particularly: pilchards, sardines and mackerel, which are sourced at different points in the world when the plankton level is very high. So they’re lower in the chain than the tuna? Correct. And they also make sure that they move the fishing source to make sure that there’s continuation of the breeding stock in that area. So at the moment I know we’re sourcing off the coast of Chile in South America, but the ships will move obviously where the plankton becomes high, your fish will become high as well. And it’s responsible fishing which I think is important. That’s very important, sustainable fishing. When you look at your MumOmega and your eye q baby these are DHA-rich formulations much-needed for the building blocks of the brain in the developing baby, so this is a different omega 3 that one needs. We source those tuna also from the Southern Ocean, so it is a tuna source. Right. Clean oceans and obviously no over-harvesting in terms of the needs. And you’ve got the certification all of that? The certification for everything and every single batch. One can’t have one certificate and one certificate suits all – for every batch that’s manufactured there’s a new certificate. Great. So if a reader ever was concerned and wanted a copy of the certificate for that particular batch; if they supply us the batch number we can actually get the certificate to them. The Equazen brands actually go through two independent quality control tests that are done outside of our manufacturing plants. Because they are independent nothing can be hidden. Sure. And going to two different sources ensures the level of lack of contaminants in each batch that is produced and manufactured. It’s surely a very impressive product and product range and I’d love to have you back and talk about the baby DHEA formulas. Perfect. I look forward to it. Thanks Sally.