Why do you use squid in your products?
Ascenta uses wild squid in NutraSea DHA because squid is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and very high in DHA. Wild squid is considered to be an eco-friendly and sustainable source of marine omega-3s. Wild squid is typically known as calamari, a dish enjoyed by many around the world, particularly in the healthy diets of the Mediterranean. The oil is derived from the parts of the squid not used for the calamari industry, including the trimmings (or organs), hence making maximum utilization of this resource.
What fish species are used in your products?
The fish used in the making of NutraSea are Sardina plichardus (pacific sardine), Engranlis ringens (Pacific anchovy), and Trachurus symmetricus (mackerel). NutraSea DHA contains wild squid, which is considered to be a very eco-friendly and sustainable source of marine omega-3s.
Where and how are the fish used in your products caught?
Our sardine, anchovy, and mackerel comes from the clean, cold waters off the coast of Peru. They are caught using the purse seine method whereby nets as long as 1200 feet and as deep as 40 feet are deployed from the main ship and a smaller ship pulls one end of the net towards the main ship, enclosing the schooling fish in a circle. The bottom is then drawn closed and the fish pulled onto the boat.
Our squid is caught using the the eco-friendly jigging catch method. The fishery operates at night using automatic jigging machines with bright overhead lights to exploit the squid’s strong attraction to light, and lines with several barbless lures to land most of the catch. Squid are attracted to the shadow under the boat, created by the use of lights. The squid come out into the light to feed, where they are then caught on the jigs.
Are the fish sources you use considered sustainable?
Because Ascenta is highly committed to sustainability, we only utilize fish that are sustainably harvested. Purse seiners do not affect the bottom habitat and in terms of carbon footprint, high catch rates make this fishery one of the most efficient fisheries per ton in terms of energy use. The Pacific sardine and anchovy used in NutraSea come from a highly regulated fishery which is currently undergoing sustainability certification by the Marine Stewardship Council. Squid jigging is very selective in that it primarily targets adult specimens. There is virtually zero collateral damage to other species and it has no adverse negative impacts on marine environments, such as the ocean floor and coral reefs. Jigging is thought to be one of the best methods for reducing bycatch rates.
Do you make your products yourselves?
Ascenta sources its premium raw materials come from some of the world’s most reputable bulk oil suppliers. Ascenta blends these oils with our natural flavouring and proprietary green tea extract to create our great tasting, highly stable, and potent fish oil products. Our softgels are made by a contract manufacturer.
What is the difference between the small fish (i.e., sardines, anchovies) and the big fish (i.e., salmon and tuna) in regards to omega-3 content?
The most valuable components of fish oil are the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, so the fish used in omega-3 fish oil production are generally the ones highest in these two fatty acids. In general, sardines and anchovies are highest in total EPA and DHA content. While larger fish, such as salmon and tuna contain appreciable amounts EPA and DHA, toxins biomagnify as they move up the food chain. As larger fish eat little fish and as larger fish live longer, the problem exacerbates so as you travel higher up the food chain and eat large fish, you will consume higher levels of toxins than when you eat small fish.
What part of the fish does the oil come from?
Anchovy, sardine, and mackerel bodies are boiled and pressed to extract raw oil rich in the omega-3s, EPA and DHA. The oil in our high DHA squid product does not come from the squid body but instead, comes from the organs of squid (e.g. liver).
Is the oil in NutraSea cold-pressed?
No, the oil in NutraSea is not cold-pressed. While plant-based oils such as olive oil often use the term “cold pressed”, using temperatures that are too low in fish oil processing requires longer processing time and results in increased oxidation due to air exposure. Regular quality checks throughout the process ensures that the oil has not been damaged.