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Omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been recognized to provide significant health benefits, and increasing evidence suggests there is a direct link between an individuals’ Omega-3 Index (O3i) score and longevity. O3i levels were found to be inversely associated with total mortality across multiple studies including the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Heart and Soul Study, and the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. Furthermore, a recent meta-analysis that included over 27,000 subjects concluded that O3i is a better indicator of longevity than one of the most well-known markers of wellness, cholesterol. Consistent with these observations, a higher O3i is associated with larger total normal brain volume, improved brain function, and that an inverse relationship exists between O3i and telomere attrition, a marker of biological aging.

Research indicates that the optimal O3i is >8% while an index <4% may be regarded as a risk factor. To increase your O3i, you need to increase your consumption of both DHA and EPA. Studies suggest that although you can obtain Omega-3s from a whole food diet, most U.S. adults are not meeting their recommended needs. In fact, the average O3i in the U.S. is estimated to be around 4%, which is significantly lower than the desirable O3i level of 8%. Additionally, with the low consumption of Omega-3s, there is an imbalance towards the intake of Omega-6 fatty acids which may increase inflammation and disease. Due to the significant health benefits of Omega-3s, and the low consumption in the Western diet, intake of dietary supplements has greatly increased over the years.

Fish oil is a common method of increasing levels of Omega-3s in the diet, yet, is this the most effective way to increase your O3i? First, fish have been found to contain high levels of mercury and other environmental contaminants which may end up in fish oil supplements and are ultimately harmful for consumers. Furthermore, overfishing has led to the decline of global catches since the late 1980s. Similar situations have emerged for another popular Omega-3 source, krill. Additionally, with the increased demands of aquaculture production and fish farming, the nutritional value of the finished products has decreased, with EPA and DHA levels declining over time. Omega-3 fatty acids that are derived from fish and krill must also go through additional processing. EPA and DHA represent approximately 18% and 12%, respectively, of the content of naturally occurring fish oils. To increase Omega-3 content fish oil goes through a transesterification process where the product is first broken down to concentrate the DHA and EPA, it is then reconverted back into triglycerides.

Marine microalgae, on the other hand, have emerged as a more sustainable, and potentially more bioavailable, source of Omega-3. Microalgae are the primary producers of Omega-3 fatty acids in the marine environment, providing the supply of DHA and EPA through the marine food chain, and ultimately, to humans. By comparison, studies show that microalgae can naturally reach much higher EPA and DHA contents and productivities compared to other possible sources, and can be controlled to ensure they are pollutant free. If marine algae became the primary source of Omega-3s in the nutraceutical arena, it would eradicate 30% of fish removal contributing to restoration of the marine ecosystem, and eliminate multiple processing steps that are required for fish derived Omega-3s. Consumers are aware of the importance of these nutrients, and several additional properties of algal oil are appealing such as their vegetarian origin and improved taste and scent qualities.

Although algal oil appears to be a better source for several reasons, there is lacking evidence to determine the extent of efficacy of algal derived Omega-3 supplements in human subjects. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to monitor the effects of daily dosing with Brain Armor’s Omega-3+ formula that includes algal derived Omega-3s, plus other clinically proven brain supporting nutrients, on individual O3i levels, as well as its effects on inflammatory markers.

Brain Icon Method

Participants

The original study group consisted of 67 participants. Between day 1 and 90 of the study there were 9 participants who dropped out or stopped taking the supplements for various reasons, and 2 additional participants delayed their start date and are currently in the process of their 90-day dosage. The current study sample consisted of 56 human volunteers (46 male, 10 female) aged 3 to 66 years old. Participants were recruited from the general community, resided throughout the United States of America, and exhibited different health histories, daily food intake, and physical activity practices.

Procedure

Each participant took an initial Omega Quant Omega-3 Index test to establish baseline outcome levels. Each participant was then provided with, and instructed to take, a daily dose of Brain Armor’s Omega-3+ supplement that was compatible for their age, and to remain consistent with other variables of their diet and exercise routine. Some participants were already supplementing with Omega-3s from other sources prior to the start of the study. Those participants were asked to stop current supplementation and take only Brain Armor for the duration of the study. Participants consumed their assigned supplement daily for 90 days, then a second Omega Quant Omega-3 Index test was performed to assess any changes in outcome measures.

Brain Armor supplements are created to deliver DHA & EPA at a 2:1 ratio in amounts required to best support different life stages that include; Adult, Active Adult, 50+ Senior, and Pro NSF Certified for Sport. Each daily dose includes:

  1. Youth
    1833mg Omega-3; 1000:500mg DHA:EPA; 1200IU Vitamin D; 30IU Vitamin E; 1100mg Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil
  2. Active Adult
    2292mg Omega-3; 1250:625mg DHA:EPA; 1800IU Vitamin D; 45IU Vitamin E; 4500mg Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil
  3. 50+ Senior
    2750mg Omega-3; 1500:750mg DHA:EPA; 2400IU Vitamin D; 60IU Vitamin E; 4000mg Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil
  4. Pro NSF Certified for Sport
    3667mg Omega-3; 2000:1000mg DHA:EPA; 3600IU Vitamin D; 90IU Vitamin E; 2250mg Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil
  5. Super Omega-3 Vegan SoftGels
    1283mg Omega-3; 700:350mg DHA:EPA; 800IU Vitamin D; 20IU Vitamin E; 45mg Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil

This was not a clinically controlled study. All participants were given the supplementation to take under instruction with regular check ins to ensure best consistency and compliance. A smaller cohort of participants continued supplementation to assess 180 days of supplementation voluntarily. The average number of days between the baseline and follow up testing was 113 days.

Outcome Measures

The outcome measures for this study were the Omega-3 Index, Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio, and AA:EPA ratio. All measures were assessed using the Omega Quant Omega-3 Index Test. Omega Quant Analytics, LLC, is an independent, CLIA-certified lab that offers Omega-3 Index testing to researches, clinicians, and the public, and sets the standard for fatty acid testing. Their assays have been validated per FDA Guidelines for the industry and are able to run validation studies specific to work if required.

The O3i test is sent in the mail directly to the participant. The test service provides a sample collection kit with instructions to collect the sample via finger prick from the comfort of home. The kit is then sent back in the mail with the provided return label and individualized results are received within 1-2 weeks.

Brain Icon Results

Overall Omega-3 Index (O3i)

For the study group, the average baseline O3i was 5.59% which is significantly higher than the average O3i of individuals in North America. Over the 90 days of supplementation there were great changes in outcome measures with an average increase in O3i of 65.79% bringing the group average beyond the desired 8% O3i to 8.8% O3i.

Overall, every single participant demonstrated an increase in O3i levels using Brain Armor’s new formula for 90 days, even those who were taking Omega-3 supplements from another source prior to the start of the study. By the end of the 90 days, 71.42% of all participants had reached, or exceeded, the optimal O3i level of 8%.

The average Omega-3 Index increase has been calculated by taking the sum of the percentage increase for each participant and dividing by the number of participants in the study.

Overall Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio

For the study group, the average baseline Omega6: Omega 3 ratio was 7.35:1. Over the 90 days of supplementation there was an average decrease in Omega6: Omega3 ratio of 35.31% bringing the group average down to 4.5:1 which is closer to the ideal range of 3:1. 9% of the study participants reached or exceeded the optimal Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio of 3:1.

The average Omega-6 : Omega-3 decrease has been calculated by taking the sum of the percentage decrease for each participant and dividing by the number of participants in the study.

Overall AA: EPA ratio

For the study group, the average baseline AA: EPA ratio was 21.8:1. Over the 90 days of supplementation there was an average decrease of AA: EPA of 51.46% bringing the group average down (closer to the ideal range of 3:1) to 7.76:1.

The average AA : EPA decrease has been calculated by taking the sum of the percentage decrease for each participant and dividing by the number of participants in the study.

Youth

The Youth participants demonstrated an average increase in O3i of 70.8% from a baseline average of 5.23% O3i to an average of 8.85%. The Youth participants also showed a decrease in their Omega6: Omega 3 ratio of 28.5% from a baseline average of 7.5:1 to an average (closer to the desired range of 3:1) of 4.5:1. Additionally, there was an observed decrease in AA: EPA ratio of 39.8%, from baseline average values of 21.4:1 to an average (closer to the desired range of 3:1) of 7.6:1.

The greatest improvement in Youth O3i demonstrated a 112.2% increase from 4.10% O3i to exceed the ideal range at 8.7% O3i after 90 days of supplementation. This same participant also experienced the greatest improvements in Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio and AA: EPA ratio among the Youth participants with a 36% decrease in Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio from 7.5:1 to 4.8:1, and a 60.9% decrease in AA: EPA ratio from 24.6:1 to 9.6:1.

Active Adult

The Adult participants demonstrated an average increase in O3i of 60.88% from a baseline average of 5.67% O3i to an average within the ideal range at 8.74% O3i. The Adult participants demonstrated a decrease in Omega6: Omega 3 ratio of 34.01% from a baseline average of 7.15:1 to an average (closer to the desired range of 3:1) of 4.52:1. There was also an observed decrease in AA: EPA ratio of 49.9%, from a baseline average of 21.0:1 to an average (closer to the desired range of 3:1) of 7.91:1.

The greatest improvement in Adult O3i demonstrated a 145.95% increase from a base 3.7% O3i to an ideal range of 9.10% O3i after 90 days of supplementation. This same participant also demonstrated a decrease of 93% in the AA: EPA ratio from 24.5:1 to within the ideal range of 1.7:1. Another participant experienced the greatest decrease in Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio of 65.22% from 9.2:1 to of 3.2:1.

Over 50

The 50+ Adult participants demonstrated an average increase in O3i of 66.96% from a baseline average of 5.49% O3i to an average within the ideal range at 8.75% O3i. The 50+ adult participants also demonstrated a decrease in Omega6: Omega 3 ratio of 36.02% from a baseline average of 7.43:1 to an average closer to the ideal range at 4.53:1. There was also an observed decrease in AA: EPA ratio of 52.68% from a baseline average of 22.1:1 to an average closer to the desired range at 7.79:1.

The greatest improvement in 50+ Adult O3i demonstrated a 241% increase from 3.4% O3i to well within the ideal range at 11.6% O3i after 90 days of supplementation. This same participant also demonstrated the greatest decrease in Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio of 75.41% from 12.2:1 to within ideal range at 3:1. Another participant demonstrated the greatest decrease in AA: EPA ratio of 97% from a baseline average of 150.1:1 to an average closer to the ideal range at 4.4:1.

Professional

The Pro NSF Certified participants demonstrated an average increase in O3i of 69.36% from a baseline average of 5.43% O3i to an average within the ideal range at 9.02% O3i. The Pro NSF Certified participants also demonstrated a decrease in Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio of 38.12% from a baseline average of 7.2:1 to an average closer to the desired range at 4.38:1. There was also an observed decrease of AA: EPA ratio within this group of 54.47%, from a baseline average of 19.9:1 to an average closer to the ideal range at 7.4:1.

The greatest improvement in Pro O3i demonstrated a 118.37% increase from 4.9% O3i to 10.7% O3i. This same participant demonstrated the greatest decrease in Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio of 48.48% from a baseline of 6.6:1 to closer to ideal range at 3.4:1. Another participant in this group demonstrated the greatest decrease in AA: EPA ratio of 88.06% from a baseline of 20.1:1 to within ideal range at 2.4:1.

Gender Differences

Although some studies suggest that males (M) and females (F) respond differently to Omega-3 supplementation across different clinical outcomes, this was not observed in this case. In the current study when separated by gender the average increase in O3i levels were 63.11% for F, 65.709% for M, the average decrease in Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio was 35.02% for F and 35.31% for male, and the average decrease in AA: EPA was 51.20% for F and 51.46% for males.

Brain Icon Discussion (Conclusion)

In this study 100% of the participants who supplemented with Brain Armor Omega-3+ supplements appropriate for their age for 90 days demonstrated an increase in O3i. Even those who were supplementing with different sources of Omega-3s prior to the start of the study showed great improvement. Similar results stand true for the other two health outcomes, Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio and AA: EPA ratio. In this study 96.4% of the study participants demonstrated improvements in their Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio, and 91% of the study participants demonstrated improvements in their AA: EPA ratio. Since each participant was asked to remain consistent with other variables of their diet and exercise routine, the differences in the measured health outcomes were influenced primarily by Brain Armor supplementation daily for 90 days.

Several previous studies have concluded that there is a direct link between an individuals’ Omega-3 Index score and longevity. O3i levels were found to be inversely associated with total mortality across multiple studies including the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Heart and Soul Study, and the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. Research indicates that the optimal O3i is >8%. At the start of the study 10% of the study participants were at or exceeded 8% O3i. After 90 days of supplementation with Brain Armor, 71.42% of the study participants had reached or exceeded the optimal level of 8% O3i.

Mechanisms that explain the associations between higher O3i and improved longevity are not clearly understood, but there are beneficial effects of Omega-3s on a variety of risk factors that may play a role. These factors include serum triglyceride levels, blood pressure, platelet aggregation, inflammatory markers, plaque buildup, arterial stiffness, age-related cognitive decline, age-related macular degeneration, and rates of cellular aging.

It is of interest to determine the most effective source and quantity of Omega-3s needed to optimize O3i, and therefore, decrease risk for all cause mortality. This study observed an increase in O3i in every participant by providing Omega-3s in a 2:1 DHA: EPA derived from marine algae, in combination with other clinically proven brain supporting nutrients, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Medium Chain Triglyceride oil. Since a number of participants were regularly taking an Omega-3 supplement derived from fish or krill oil prior to the start of the study, it can be concluded that the combination of ingredients found in Brain Armor Omega-3+ supplements are more effective at raising O3i levels than obtaining them from a whole food diet or obtaining them from another type of supplementation.

Along with improvements in O3i with Brain Armor Omega-3+ supplements, 96.4% and 91% of the study participants experienced improvements in the Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio, and AA: EPA ratio. When the ratio between Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids is excessively high, which is typical in the Western diet, it can create a pro inflammatory state which promotes many disease conditions. A ratio of 4:1 Omega 6: Omega 3 is associated with a 70% decrease in total mortality. Overall, a lower ratio of Omega 6: Omega 3 fatty acids is desirable in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases of high prevalence in Western Countries. Similarly, Arachidonic Acid (AA) is a type of Omega 6 fatty acid that is found primarily in plants and plant oils, and the higher the AA: EPA ratio, the higher the levels of cellular inflammation and risk of chronic disease. Both the Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio, and the AA: EPA ratio, can be improved through diet, and results show that intake of Omega-3s of approximately 2.5g per day is sufficient to bring the AA: EPA ratio into the desired range for optimum wellness.

In conclusion, our observations show that supplementing with Brain Armor Omega-3+ supplements daily can improve O3i, Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio, and AA: EPA ratio in a few as 90 days.