Grandpa and his grandson crafting wooden toys together in a workshop

Future Development

Smartfish research and development centers in Cancer, COPD, Pediatrics, Brain Health, Aging, Metabolism and Muscle Performance. We collaborate with leading scientists world wide.

Smartfish and SINTEF has recently started a collaboration to develop an explorative Advanced Delivery Vehicle. The project is supported by the Norwegian Research Council throught Nano 2021.

Research and development at Smartfish

Smartfish drinks are rich in nutrients and their formulas include fish oil, natural antioxidants, whey proteins, fibre and vitamin D. The fish oil in Smartfish products has high levels of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, which are well protected against oxidation. When fatty acids have low levels of oxidation they have no taste or smell, the other nutrients in the drink will not degrade and the drink will have a prolonged shelf life. We also want fatty acids to oxidise in cells, where they will exert their effect.

Smartfish drinks with their different components are effective in several areas:

Inflammation

Inflammation is the immune system’s response to infection and injury and it is a critical and important defence system. Resolution of inflammation is an active process switched on by specialised pro-resolving mediators (SPM); alternatively an unresolved acute inflammatory response can persist and become chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is viewed as the persistence of an acute inflammatory response and is widely observed in chronic diseases, which have risen so dramatically in the western world in the last decades. These include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and asthma, to name a few.

SMPs are biosynthesised from the omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA and have been implicated in the pathogeneses of diseases such as arthritis, cancer, atherosclerosis, stroke and epilepsy, as well as neurodegenerative diseases (for example; Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease).

DHA and EPA fatty acids are precursors to several families of lipid mediators (resolvins, protectins and most recently the maresins) and these are both pro-resolving and anti-inflammatory.

A highly regulated inflammatory response and its timely resolution is the ideal outcome of an acute inflammatory response essential for health. Therefore, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern natural resolution are vital.

Dietary supplementation with fish oil rich in DHA and EPA has emerged as a therapeutic option for the prevention and treatment of many diseases associated with inflammation.

The composition of nutrients in Smartfish has shown beneficial immune-modulating effects in several clinical studies and experiments. Providing DHA and EPA, stabilised against oxidation in an emulsified nutritional formula as is found in Smartfish drinks, seems to provide enhanced modifying effects compared to standard fish oils.

Muscle growth/prevention of loss

Reduction in skeletal muscle mass and metabolic function can have detrimental effects on overall health and is a major contributing factor in the onset of disease. Loss of muscle mass and subsequent physical function not only places the individual at greater risk of chronic disease but also leads to frailty and reduced quality of life. Therefore, it is of great relevance to society and to individuals to find effective nutritional therapies for improving muscle mass and metabolic function.

There is substantial evidence that omega-3 supplementation alleviates muscle protein anabolic resistance associated with old age, and also that it can actually boost the anabolic response to nutritional stimuli in healthy muscle from young and middle-aged adults – through the ability to enhance the sensitivity of skeletal muscle to amino acids and insulin, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Combining omega-3 fatty acids and whey proteins has been shown to enhance anabolic/anti-catabolic properties in skeletal muscle and thus promote a positive muscle protein balance – in the ratio of muscle protein synthesis (MPS): muscle protein breakdown (MPB).

Smartfish nutritional drinks containing a composition of emulsified ultralow oxidised and stable DHA and EPA fatty acids and whey proteins (leucine) in a juice with natural antioxidants are being used in several clinical trials evaluating body composition, muscle function and neuromuscular health in elderly as well as younger individuals. Initial results are very promising and the results from several trials will be published in 2016.

Insulin resistance

Metabolic health has emerged as a major topic in the modern world.

The World Health Organisation estimates that in the last three decades global obesity has almost doubled to over 1.4 billion, meaning that as much as one third of westernised populations are classed as overweight/obese. Concurrent with the increase in obesity rates, there is an increase in obesity-related disorders such as type 2 diabetes (T2D), sarcopenic obesity and cardiovascular disease, making obesity one of the major healthcare issues facing the world. Being overweight/obese increases the risk of developing diabetes, and thereby insulin resistance, by up to 30%. Recently insulin resistance and poor insulin sensitivity have been linked to the development of cancers, and brain insulin resistance has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The amount and type of fat in the diet plays an important role in regulating metabolic health. The differences in the chemical structure of types of fat can lead to different physiological effects. For example, saturated fatty acids have been linked to the development of metabolic dysfunction, while polyunsaturated fatty acids and particularly marine omega-3 fatty acids have shown positive effects on metabolic functions. Reductions in the n-6/n-3 ratio are associated with an improvement in whole body glucose tolerance, as well as preventing age-related decline in glucose tolerance.

In several studies, omega-3 fatty acids have been reported to improve obesity-associated metabolic disorders including chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia. DHA and EPA improve adipose tissue glucose uptake and insulin signalling. DHA and EPA fatty acids possess the ability to prevent and/or ameliorate adipose tissue inflammation through specialised proresolving lipid mediators such as resolvins, protectins and maresins.

A Mediterranean-type diet, rich in natural antioxidants, healthy fats, fish, fibre and low in red meat has been shown to have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity and improve metabolic health. Smartfish is involved in several clinical trials investigating insulin sensitivity and metabolic parameters with a formula resembling the essence of a Mediterranean diet. Excellent results have been seen and they will be published in 2016.

Cognition

Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are critical for the normal structure and function of the brain and nervous system. Maintenance of optimal brain function throughout life requires a good balanced intake of the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Dietary shifts over the last century (less seafood consumption, lower omega-3 content in the feed to cattle/poultry and increased use of vegetable oils in ready meals, in feed and cooking) have dramatically reduced the tissue levels of DHA and EPA.

A balanced ratio of the two fatty acid families (omega-3 and omega-6) is necessary for a healthy brain, which is structurally composed of a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Western diets, however, tend to have at least twenty times more omega-6 fats than omega-3 fats – an unhealthy ratio of 20:1. The human brain contains 60% fat and it matters what kind of fat you have, approximately 10% of the dry mass should be DHA.

Omega-3 fatty acids increase membrane fluidity, which is essential for optimal cell signalling. Omega-3 and 6 and their derivatives (lipid mediators) have very powerful effects on most brain signalling systems. Lipid mediators made from omega-3 (DHA/EPA) can profoundly affect hormone balance, blood flow and immune system functions. DHA is particularly concentrated in nerve terminals where chemical signals between cells are exchanged. Concentrations of dopamine, serotonin, noradrenalin, acetylcholine etc. are influenced by the omega-3 status. Omega-3 deficiency impairs synapse development.

Due to the complex and profound functions of DHA and EPA in the brain, positive effects have been seen in many clinical studies on different mental health conditions in children, adults and older persons. Smartfish is involved in many clinical trials on mental health (e.g. mild cognitive impairment, bipolar disorder, psychosis, depression and behavioural problems in children). Beneficial results with the use of Smartfish formulas have been published on several of these conditions. Results from several experiments indicate that Smartfish formulas potentiate the effects of omega-3 compared to standard fish oils through the enhanced production of lipid mediators from DHA and EPA.

Medical nutrition

Smartfish has a development program for the cachexia disease area covering COPD and cancer cachexia,

Cachexia is a disease defined as loss of muscle mass that cannot be reversed by diet alone. It is characterised by involuntary weight loss, muscle breakdown, lack of appetite and chronic nausea due to an underlying disorder like cancer. It is assumed to be the ultimate cause in up to 33% of all cancer deaths. There is significant cachexia risk in patients with cancer, COPD, CVD, AIDS and rheumatoid arthritis.

The mechanism behind the positive effects seen in mild cognitive impairment is not fully understood, but is believed to include normalisation of inflammation and increased breakdown (phagocytosis) of amyloid beta protein leading to reduced cognitive decline.

Smartfish also has a number of investigator sponsored studies ongoing in various other areas such as brain health, diabetes, sarcopenia and cardiovascular disease.

The research is being carried out in partnership with several universities, e.g. Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden), University of Southampton (UK) and University of California Los Angeles (USA).

Nutritional drinks/elite sports

Top athletes in various sports use our products and this allows us to exchange valuable experience. Several clinical studies and trials with Smartfish on athletes are ongoing:

  • Muscle recovery: Dr. Oliver Witard, University of Stirling
  • Prevention of traumatic brain injury from repeated impacts to the head: Dr. Angus Hunter and Dr. Kevin Tiption, University of Stirling
  • Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI): Dr. Stuart Gray, University of Aberdeen
  • Oxygen consumption: Dr. Ian Walshe, University of Stirling
  • Bioavailability and tolerance: US Army/Ministry of Defence

Please contact us for more information about the studies.