Healthy DHA from Algae

9 October 2018

Progress Biotech produces algal oil rich in omega-3, and provides developers and distributors of health ingredients with products and services of the highest grade. Alexandre Elo, vice president of Nutritionals Europe and Aceto GmbH, and Doris Sabanova of 4U Pharma explain why they have chosen to partner with Progress Biotech, and the value of the company’s products and approach.

The role of omega-3 in contributing to wellbeing, including brain and eye health, is broadly acknowledged. Supplements derived from fish and krill oils are widely available, but they do have drawbacks, being strongly flavoured and unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Dutch company Progress Biotech combats this by extracting the omega-3 fatty acid Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from algae, producing a tasteless, colourless, vegan alternative to fish oil supplements.

DHA makes up the highest proportion of omega-3 in the brain and retina; the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recognises the role of DHA in contributing to normal brain function and vision, and recommends an intake of 250mg per day.

With expertise in areas including biochemistry, medicine and biotechnology, Progress Biotech produces algal oil from the species Schizochytrium – a widely recognised source of DHA – via mechanical extraction and without the use of any solvents. The oil is then refined and concentrated according to EU standards. This method results in extremely pure oil, rich in DHA, and available in a range of concentrates from 40% to 70% DHA. The oil is kosher and halal as well as vegan.

The ability to offer a vegan source of DHA is of key importance to Progress Biotech’s clients, as Alexandre Elo, vice president nutritionals at distributor Aceto GmbH, makes clear. “After ten years selling all kind of health ingredients, we got especially into omega-3,” he explains. “We had a whole range of fish oils and different suppliers, and what we were missing – and the trends showed that we were right – was [entering] into what we call vegan omega-3.”

An alternative to fish oil was also important to 4U Pharma. “Our products are intended for infants and small children,” Doris Sabanova explains. “For our company the crucial thing is for the source of DHA to have almost zero content of contaminants. For example, fish oils are contaminated with contaminants from the oceans – heavy metals, like mercury – so we do not use them.”

Elo draws attention to the DHA algal oil’s lack of taste, a marked contrast to the strong flavour of fish oil supplements. “In the fish oil industry, in the omega-3 business, this is the main problem,” Elo says.  “A product which is tasteless, odourless – that was really a big story for us.”

Sabanova is in agreement, pointing out that children will not take a supplement that tastes bad or smells unpleasant. “Tasteless and odourless algal oil is very hard to find on the market,” she says. “That is why Progress Biotech’s algal oil is perfect for us.”

In addition to a high-quality product, Progress Biotech’s logistical provision and team of experts have been praised by its clients. The company offers a variety of transportation according to client needs, keeps stock available in a certified warehouse and can arrange inspection by a neutral surveyor. For health ingredients distributor Aceto GmbH this strong logistical capability is essential. “In terms of logistics it is excellent,” Elo says. “They are dedicated to this product, and they supply everything to our customers straight from the Netherlands, from their warehouse.”

“We get all the support that we need from Progress Biotech,” Sabanova says. “The expertise and dedication of their team is always at our disposal, and we can always rely on their help in answering all the questions of our customers and doctors.”

Quality control throughout the supply chain is also of the highest importance. “We have an option to keep our goods in the Progress Biotech warehouse at temperature conditions that preserve product quality,” Sabanova explains.

Elo describes the relationship between Progress Biotech and Aceto GmbH as a ‘partnership’. “The best aspect [of working with Progress Biotech] is we understand each other very well,” he says, emphasising Progress Biotech’s strong technical skills and the open discussion which takes place between the two companies as they constantly seek to improve.

For 4U Pharma, Progress Biotech’s high standards tally with their own. “The best solution, which ensures the highest quality products, is what our company is known for,” Sabanova says. “The support we have from Progress Biotech with the usage of their DHA ensures that we have products which offer the best solutions to our families, children and customers.”

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