Omega-3 Ahiflower

Acre of omega-3 Ahiflower yields as much oil as 80,000 sardines

Omega-3 Ahiflower –representing a new class of biologically advanced omega-3s––is by far the highest non-GMO plant-derived source of stearidonic acid (SDA) known.

An entirely new plant seed oil offering the highest levels of omega-3s from a non-genetically modified crop is closer to reaching consumers.  This new oilseed crop has more than four times the omega-3 benefits of flaxseed oil and is at the forefront of an emerging trend: plants that provide exceptionally high levels of biologically superior omega-3 fatty acids. This new proprietary plant-derived oil––called AHIFLOWER® developed by Nature’s Crops International––is expected to be a game changer since marine sources cannot sustainably meet the long-term global demand for these essential fatty acids. For optimal human health, recommended doses of fish oil range from 250 to 1,000 mg per day.

The oil is a superior source of bioavailable omega-3s, because, unlike other plants such as flax, it contains a high level of SDA, which humans readily convert to beneficial eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is found in fish.  AHIFLOWER Oil converts to EPA 300 to 400 percent more efficiently than flaxseed oil.  Since AHIFLOWER Oil also contains the omega-6 GLA, it combines the benefits of fish oil and evening primrose oil in one product.

Numerous peer-reviewed journal articles demonstrate the health benefits of omega-3 supplementation in the human diet, and many respected worldwide health agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality acknowledge their importance for human health.

“These fatty acids are called ‘essential’ for a reason,” says Alex Richardson, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, and founder director of Food and Behaviour (FAB) Research, a U.K. charity.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are critical to human health but relatively lacking from modern, Western-type diets––and low intakes have been linked with a broad range of mental as well as physical health problems, including developmental and psychiatric disorders such as ADHD and depression.  Therefore, it is imperative that the human race has reliable, secure supplies.  The most important omega-3s are the long-chain forms, EPA, and DHA. These are found in fish and seafood; but more sustainable, vegetarian-friendly sources of these vital fats are urgently needed.”

Richardson is internationally known for her research into omega-3s and human behavior and has more than 90 published studies to her credit.

“SDA-containing plant-derived oils raise the Omega-3 Index much more efficiently than ALA-containing oils such as flaxseed, and, therefore, should provide superior health benefits,” notes Bill Harris, Ph.D., a leading investigator on numerous studies involving omega-3 fatty acids including SDA.  Harris is the co-inventor of the Omega-3 Index, a measure of omega-3 levels in the blood, and the author of over 275 scientific publications, including many on fatty acids.

“The sources of essential fatty acids for people and animals will likely look very different in 10 years,” predicts Andrew Hebard, president and CEO of TCI, the holding company for Nature’s Crops, and an expert in specialty crops and plant oils.  “By that time, it’s quite likely that the majority of these fatty acids so critical to human and animal health will be obtained from sources other than fish.”

A natural, non-GMO source of essential fatty acids

The industry has taken one of two paths to address the shortage of these essential fatty acids: genetically modify existing plants or, as Nature’s Crops did, utilize the biodiversity approach.  The company sought plants that offered naturally occurring high levels of biologically superior omega-3 fatty acids, selected the most appropriate, and then used natural plant breeding and enhancement techniques to optimize its concentration of omega-3s. These actions complemented the company’s detailed agronomic field research that enabled experienced growers to produce a sustainable and reliable crop.  Nature’s Crops also has conducted efficacy and safety studies on AHIFLOWER Oil and has received full regulatory clearance in the U.S. and Europe. The entire process took over a decade.

The fruits of that work are now being reaped, literally, as the first commercial crops of the company’s proprietary AHIFLOWER brand of Buglossoides arvensis are now being harvested in the U.K. Natures Crops manage the entire supply chain from ‘soil to oil’ that enables full traceability, safety and sustainability assurances to be made.

“It can take one small oily fish, such as a sardine, to produce just one 1,000 mg capsule of fish oil,” explains Hebard.  “But one acre of this new crop can produce approximately 80,000 capsules of AHIFLOWER oil.  Thus, each acre cultivated of this new crop produces as much oil as 80,000 of these small and increasingly endangered fish from the wild.”

Meeting consumer demand

The oil produced from the harvest of the crop will be crushed, refined, and packaged into capsules and available to consumers in early 2016.

Consumers who are interested in this new oil include those who:

  • Use flaxseed oil but want  a plant-based oil that offers greater omega-3 benefits
  • Demand non-GMO omega-3s
  • Seek vegetarian or vegan options
  • Are concerned about contamination of fish oils
  • Want a sustainable, natural plant-based oil due to concerns about overfishing of the world’s oceans
  • Are attracted to the combination of fish oil and primrose oil
  • Dislike the taste of fish oil

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Ria Van Hoef

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