Omega-3 Milk

Smart and complete—and it tastes great! To make our Omega-3 milk we use ultra-purified, wild ocean-caught fish oil—a powerful compliment to our delicious,
pasture-raised organic milk, which is already loaded with CLAs and ALA Omega-3.

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Frequently Asked Questions
About Organic Valley Omega-3 Milk


What makes Organic Valley Omega-3 Milk superior?

  1. Balanced Omega-3s. Some brands may include only DHA, or ALA. Remember, studies showing the greatest benefits, as well as our National Dietary Guidelines, recommend both EPA and DHA from fish or fish oil. 
  2. Biggest nutritional bang for your buck. Of course you'll want to get the most DHA and EPA per delicious serving. Organic Valley's Omega-3 milk stands above all competitors for quality and quantity with each 8 ounce glass providing 50 milligrams of DHA and EPA.
  3. Safety. Any impurities that may be found within the fish oil, such as PCBs and mercury, are removed before the fish oil is concentrated to meet or exceed all global regulatory and safety standards. The end result is the purest and safest source of Omega-3 available.
  4. Natural, sustainable source. If you are a savvy label reader, you'll discover that Organic Valley's Omega-3 milk stands out for providing both EPA and DHA from a wild-harvested and sustainable fish source. Other brands may use algae as a source, which is solvent-extracted rather than wild-harvested. Algae are not considered a traditional food source.

Go fish! EPA & DHA Omega-3’s work TOGETHER to build brain, body, and more.

Where exactly does the fish oil that is added to your milk come from?

Our reputable Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited Meg-3® fish oil is sourced from real fish -- EPA/DHA-rich anchovies and sardines wild harvested by a sustainable fishery in Peru. The Peruvian upwelling region, where the cold Antarctic waters meet the steep continental shelf off the west coast of South America, is one of the richest marine environments in the world. The fishery is highly regulated and protected by the Peruvian government to ensure that it remains biodiverse and entirely sustainable. In fact, it has maintained a consistent anchovy and sardine population for the past 50 years, and with careful stewardship, it will continue well into the future.

Does Omega-3 Milk taste "fishy?"

Not at all! Our fish oil supplement is made using a proprietary and innovative micro-encapsulation process. In this process, fish oil concentrate is preserved in micro-sized particles by a shell coating, which provides an oxygen barrier resulting in an extended shelf life; a taste profile barrier eliminating fish oil taste and odor; an extremely high nutritional density of Omega-3 fish oil; a delivery form that is effectively absorbed; and a protective barrier from shear and temperature changes, allowing for mixing and baking in foods.  So we recommend not only drinking Omega-3 milk, but using it to make puddings, custards, shakes and soups. You'll love the clean, creamy taste!

What are the benefits of drinking Organic Valley Omega-3 milk?

While fish can and should play a role in a healthy diet, many people don't eat enough to get the full benefits. And with any fish product, it is important to choose sources that are safe and sustainable. Organic Valley uses encapsulated, ultra-purified oil (safety) sources from wild ocean-caught fish from a well-regulated sustainable fishery (sustainability). The end result is the purest and safest source of Omega-3 available.

Organic Valley's fortified Omega-3 milk can help us safely reach our national dietary guidelines. Each 8-ounce serving contains 50 mg of DHA and EPA, plus at least 25 mg (for reduced-fat milk, or 50mg or more for whole milk) of ALA Omega-3s, which are naturally found in the milk of cows on pasture. Three delicious glasses contribute 150 milligrams EPA and DHA (225 to 300 mg total Omega-3) to our daily needs.  It all adds up to your good health!

Additional reasons to choose Organic Valley's Omega-3 milk for your family:

  • Pasture-based.Our cows graze on certified organic pasture during the grazing season, which naturally raises levels of the Omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, in the milk.
  • Health supporting nutrients: Milk is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorous, riboflavin, and a good source of protein. Most children and adults drink less than the recommended amount.
  • All the benefits of DHA and EPA. Organic Valley Omega-3 milk is an easy, delicious way to obtain the benefits of fish oil.
  • Safety: Organic Valley family farmers never use antibiotics, genetically modified feed (GMOs), synthetic hormones or toxic pesticides in milk production.

Why is Organic Valley adding Omega-3 to its organic milk?

Organic Valley has always been committed to offering diverse product choices for our customers. Adding Omega-3 fatty acids to our already healthful, wholesome organic milk was a natural decision when we saw growing consumer demand and clear nutritional benefits. 

For example, it's estimated that 85% of Americans are deficient in the Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA (1), and our deficiency coincides with an increase in both cardiovascular disease and mental illness (2). In fact, if you asked Joseph Hibbeln, M.D., a prominent Omega-3 researcher with the U.S. Public Health Service, he'd likely tell you Omega-3s are necessary to be happy, healthy and smart! He describes the brain and heart disorders resulting from Omega-3 deficiency, as the "biggest challenges to the future of humanity!"(3).

What are Omega-3 fatty acids?

There are two kinds of "essential" polyunsaturated fatty acids (EFAs):  Omega-6 and Omega-3.  (Their names describe their molecular structure -- specifically, the location of a double bond linking together two carbon atoms on a long chain.) These fats are "essential," because our bodies can't make them, so we have to get them from our diet. 

Omega-6, also called Linoleic Acid (LA), is found in corn, soy, safflower and cottonseed oils. Because Omega-6 fats are so abundant in our food supply (compared to Omega-3s), they create an unhealthy imbalance.

Omega-3 fats include: Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA); Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA); and, Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).  ALA is a short-chain Omega-3, found mostly in plant sources, such as flax and greens. EPA and DHA are the long-chain Omega-3s found naturally in fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon, herring and sardines. 

Even though plant oils such as flax contain beneficial ALA, our bodies can't convert ALA to the longer chain EPA and DHA very efficiently, so it's best to get EPA and DHA directly from fish, foods fortified with fish oil, or fish oil supplements (3-5). Plus, because DHA and EPA work in concert, or synergistically, they deliver the biggest health benefits when consumed in combination (3). Think of EPA and DHA as the "powerhouse" Omega-3s.

What are the benefits of Omega-3 EPA and DHA?

Many and counting! EPA and DHA, specifically from fatty fish or fish oil, have been shown to help prevent and manage a variety of chronic diseases and support optimal development throughout our lifecycle (3-6).

For example, Omega-6 fats tend to be pro-inflammatory. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory, so they are helpful in reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis and asthma (3, 4).

The 2010 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans specifically recommends consuming at least two, 4-ounce servings of seafood each week to provide an average of 250 milligrams per day of both EPA and DHA to help prevent heart disease and reduce cardiac deaths (6). The American Dietetic Association advises 500 milligrams per day of combined DHA and EPA (7), while Registered Dietitian and Omega-3 expert Evelyn Tribole recommends 600 milligrams daily (1).

Omega-3 fats also play a unique role in our mental health. They simply help us feel happy.  For example, Omega-3 deficiency can contribute to, worsen, and predict depression, aggression, impulsive and addictive behaviors, and even suicidal thoughts (3). For these reasons, the American Psychiatric Association recommends that people with major depression take a daily Omega-3 supplement, with 1 gram (1,000 milligrams) per day of DHA and EPA combined, in addition to their regular medications (2).

Omega-3s also show promise in protecting our vision and cognitive health as we age, as well as helping to prevent some cancers and obesity (3-5, 8). 

Are Omega-3 fats safe during pregnancy?

YES! Not only are Omega-3 fats safe, they're beneficial and highly recommended for pregnant and lactating women (3, 5, 6, 8). In fact, our National Dietary Guidelines upped their fish recommendations for pregnant and lactating women to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood each week to "improve infant health outcomes."

However, it's important to make sure that the seafood or fish is low in mercury and high in EPA and DHA. Take care to avoid fish known to be highest in mercury (tilefish, king mackerel, shark and swordfish (6)), and supplement your diet with omega-3 milk. It all adds up to a healthy baby.

Kurt Barnhart, M.D., a specialist in women's health and reproduction at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine in Philadelphia describes pregnancy as a "window into women's health today and the future with lasting effects on children's health" (9).

In other words, there is no more critical time for a woman to take care of herself than while she is pregnant and nursing her baby. Optimal nourishment during pregnancy, lactation and childhood is critical to the whole family's health and future wellbeing.

How do Omega-3 fats help me and my baby?

During pregnancy, lactation and early childhood, the long chain Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, work together to support brain, eye, cognitive and social development. These fats even improve your baby's verbal I.Q., when measured years later during childhood (3, 5, 6). You can see how fish got its reputation for being "brain food!"

A mother's intake of EPA and DHA during pregnancy also offers the baby protection from developing allergies and upper respiratory infections during childhood (8). 

Finally, Omega-3s hold promise in preventing postpartum depression. Here again both DHA and EPA work together to provide the best antidepressant effect. DHA alone won't help depression (3).

Where can I learn more?

Disclaimer: The advice above is not intended to replace that of your physician. Please talk to your doctor whenever you make changes to your diet.

References

  1. Food Sleuth Radio interview with Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., April 7, 2011. www.kopn.org
  2. Global Summit on Nutrition, Health and Human Behavior: Sustainable LC-Omega-3 for a Better World, www.omega3summit.org
  3. Capt. Joseph Hibbeln, M.D., "Seafood Deficient Diets:  Neurodevelopmental and Psychiatric Risks," and "Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fats for Mind and Body," University of Missouri, March 24, 2011.
  4. "Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease," Simopoulos, A.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2004. www.ajcn.org/content/70/3/560S.full.pdf.html
  5. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Past, Present and Future," Watkins, B., and Hutchins, H., Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine Newsletter, Fall 2010.
  6. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, 2010. D3, D8. www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-DGACReport.htm.
  7. Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Dietary Fatty Acids.  Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2007; 107:1599-1611.
  8. "Oceans of Benefits: New Research Reveals Potential Powers of Omega-3s Beyond Heart Health," Tempest, M., Today's Dietitian, March 2011.
  9. Association of Health Care Journalists annual meeting; Philadelphia, PA, April 15, 2011.
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