FAQs

FAQ's 

01. What is the source of your fish oils? What fish are used in equazen products?
02. What shall I do if I'm not sure which product is best for me?
03. How long will it take before I see results for me/my child when taking equazen eye q?
04. Why do I have to give/take the high intake of equazen eye q for 12 weeks?
05. Can I give/take the higher intake after the first 12 weeks?
06. Can I stop giving/taking equazen for a while? Do I have to start again on the high intake?
07. How can I be sure of the purity of the fish oil used in equazen eye q products?
08. Is the fish oil used in equazen products tested for mercury levels?
09. How do you make sure that the gelatin used in the capsules does not contain BSE?
10. Are there any side effects from taking equazen eye q?
11. Can I/my child take equazen eye q with other medications or supplements? Is there any risk of  interactions?
12. Why do your products contain Vitamin E?
13. Where does the flavoring in equazen eye q liquid come from?
14. Why does the equazen product line have a premium price compared to other fish oil products?
15. Why don’t I just take cod liver oil?
16. The world’s oceans are in serious danger of being depleted of fish, what is Vifor doing about this?
17. Isn’t omega 6 a “bad fat”?
18. Can I give equazen eye q to my baby?
19. Can I take equazen eye q while pregnant? Why is mumomega recommended for pregnant women rather than equazen eye q?
20. I am allergic to fish protein/I have a fish allergy, can I still take your product?
21. I am trying to lose weight at the moment. Can you tell me what the calorie/fat content of your products is?
22. My child finds it difficult to take equazen eye q capsules. Can you please suggest some serving suggestions?
23. What kind of plastic/material are the equazen eye q pots and bottles made of? Do you have any kind of analysis to show that they do not contaminate the product? 
24. How many clinical trials were performed with your products?
25. What is more important, EPA or DHA?

The answers provided in this FAQ are formulated to answer queries from consumers and are in compliance with the EU regulations on health claims for food products.

1. What is the source of your fish oils? What fish are used in equazen products? 

The high Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) fish oil used in equazen eye q (capsules, chews, liquid and smooth) and equazen eye q mind are derived from fish species of small size (anchovies and sardines) harvested at special times of the year when they seasonally consume large amounts of plankton, boosting the amount of EPA they contain. The fish oil used in equazen eye q comes from the Southern Pacific where it has been certified by an international, independent authority as complying with the guidelines of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In addition our fish oil supplier has been certified to be following the “Friend of the Sea” criteria for Products from Sustainable Fisheries. Vifor Pharma makes it a priority to source our fish from those suppliers who guarantee that it is from sustainable stocks. The standard fish oil used in equazen eye q is processed following GMP regulations in Norway. The factory has been approved  in accordance with FDA’s seafood hygiene regulations and the manufacturing site is registered with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority adhering to strict hygiene rules that minimize risk of contamination.  

2. What shall I do if I'm not sure which product is best for me? 

We have spent a lot of time scientifically developing equazen products with specific formulations of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Our equazen product line meets the specific needs of different life stages, as certain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) can play either a predominantly structural or functional role in the body. Additionally we created lots of different formats, to try to please even the most discerning of palates. Recent research is suggesting that omega-3 EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) plays a central role in the communication between cells in the brain, making it crucial from early childhood and throughout life. This is why the majority of Equazen eye q products are formulated with a higher ratio of the functional fatty acid (EPA) to the structural fatty acid DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). It is however important to note that DHA is the most important structural fatty acid in the brain. DHA is known to be important for the brain and eye development for babies and through very early childhood.  

3. How long will it take before I see results for me/my child when taking equazen eye q?

Your nutritional status is influenced by many aspects, including health, lifestyle and what you eat. Supplementing with the specific equazen eye q formulation provides a balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). However, as these nutrients are not stored in your body for long periods of time and are decomposed rapidly, they must be constantly replenished. If you are starting supplementation with equazen eye q, we suggest a daily intake of six capsules per day for the first twelve weeks, in order to build up the body’s levels of essential fatty acids. This period corresponds to the average time-period needed to build up the body's stores of long chain fatty acids and to show beneficial effects. In addition to the positive feedback we receive from satisfied customers, there have been clinical trials using 6 capsules of Equazen eye q daily, where improvements in skills such as reading, writing and spelling have been recorded over a 3 month period. By the end of this twelve week period the level of essential fatty acids in your body should have increased and you can start to reduce your daily intake to the maintenance level of two capsules daily.  

4. Why do I have to give/take the high intake of equazen eye q for 12 weeks? 

We recommend taking 6 capsules of equazen eye q per day (corresponding to 558 mg EPA, 174 mg DHA and 60 mg GLA) during 12 weeks. This period, called “loading phase”, corresponds to the average time-period needed to build up the body's stores of long chain fatty acids. This regimen was used in clinical studies performed specifically with equazen eye q demonstrating its effectiveness in different skills. Biochemical changes in the brain can occur as rapidly as within 1 month. However, this period varies from one person to another. Likewise, when ceasing supplementation the high levels of PUFAs achieved following the loading phase will decline very rapidly to far lower concentrations in a matter of days. Therefore, we strongly advise to follow the 12-week loading phase to assure appropriate PUFA stores are made.   

5. Can I give/take the higher intake after the first 12 weeks? 

Taking two capsules of equazen eye q per day (maintenance dose) provides a daily total of 186 mg EPA, 58 mg DHA and 20 mg GLA (800 mg fish oil and 200 mg primrose oil).
During the “loading phase” the intake is 3 times higher, as we recommend taking 6 capsules per day (558 mg EPA, 174 mg DHA and 60 mg GLA). These amounts were also used in the clinical studies performed specifically with equazen eye q (Richardson & Montgomery 2005; Sinn & Bryan 2007, Johnson et al. 2009) and while improvements in behaviour were observed, no harmful effects were reported at these elevated doses. If you have the impression that our recommended “maintenance dose” of two equazen eye q capsules per day is not sufficient you can continue to take 6 capsules of equazen eye q per day without concerns for a longer period of time. Many studies have used far higher doses of fish oil or primrose oil. There is no recommended daily intake (RDI) for fish oils. In fact many studies involving hospitalised patients have used doses of fish oil providing 14 g of EPA per day (25 times our loading-dose!) with daily doses of 6 g EPA being common. There were no harmful side effects reported in these studies.   

6. Can I stop giving/taking equazen for a while? Do I have to start again on the high intake? 

Different fatty acids last for different lengths of time in the body. Most of the beneficial PUFAs in equazen eye q can be almost depleted or reduced to fairly low levels in about 4 weeks with others lasting a lot longer. However, the high levels of PUFAs achieved following the loading phase will rapidly decline to far lower concentrations in a matter of days, with EPA seen to decrease to half of its maximum level within 24 hours. If you miss your capsule intake during the maintenance dose for a few days, you do not have to restart with the loading phase of 6 equazen eye q capsules. In this case continue to take two capsules of equazen eye q. Nevertheless we recommend restarting with a dose of 6 equazen eye q capsules if you stop taking equazen eye q for longer than one to two weeks.  

7.  How can I be sure of the purity of the fish oil used in equazen products? 

Please be assured that there is no concern over the purity of equazen eye q products. We welcome the opportunity to offer some clarity on the matter of pollutants and heavy metals in fish oil and hope to provide some reassurance about the safety of our own products. Firstly we maintain quality by working with suppliers who actually process the oil and who we know do not deal with agents or secondary parties. The fish we harvest come from the Southern Oceans and only live for one season; their short life span means there is little chance that their tissues can become tainted with mercury and/or industrial pollutants. Secondly, after we have obtained the oils, we wash out free fatty acids and other water soluble proteins that we don’t need before chilling the oil to below zero so that we can get rid of excess saturated fats, followed by filtration. Finally, we give them more cleanness by putting them under a vacuum and blasting them with steam. After this the fish oil barely tastes fishy any more. In addition, samples from each batch of fish oil are analysed internally for environmental contaminants. We also send samples from random batches of finished product away for independent third party testing to confirm the results from routine testing of the oils. Some of the contaminants tested for are:  heavy metals -lead mercury, cadmium and arsenic- dioxins, furans and dioxin-like PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and pesticides. We are in full compliance with the stringent EU and WHO legislation relating to quality assurance, food safety and contamination that have come out giving tighter controls over the production and use of fish oils in food supplements.  

8. Is the fish oil used in equazen products tested for mercury levels

Samples from each batch of fish oil are analysed internally for environmental contaminants. In addition we also send samples from random batches of finished product away for independent third party testing to confirm the results from routine testing of the oils. Some of the contaminants tested for are:  heavy metals -lead mercury, cadmium and arsenic- dioxins, furans and dioxin-like PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and pesticides. We are in full compliance with the stringent EU and WHO legislation relating to quality assurance, food safety and contamination that have come out giving tighter controls over the production and use of fish oils in food supplements.  

9. How do you make sure that the gelatin used in the capsules does not contain BSE?

The gelatine used in our capsules is made from tissues of the animal not considered to be “specified risk materials” regarding BSE. Further to this, several independent studies have found the heat and pressure involved in the gelatine processing results in a product with no detectable potential for infection. We have Certificates of Suitability, demonstrating compliance with the European Note for Guidance on minimising the risk of transmitting animal spongiform encephalopathy via human and veterinary medicinal products (European Commission regulations 2005) and compliance with the European Pharmacopoeia (European Pharmacopoeia 2000) The gelatine used is also certified as halal and kosher.  

10. Are there any side effects from taking equazen eye q?

Studies with our equazen eye q in children with ADHD (Sinn et al., 2007, Johnson et al., 2009) and in children with developmental coordination disorder (Richardson and Montgomery, 2006) showed few side effects only. In two of these studies no adverse events have been reported. In the study of Johnson et al., 2009, 3 patients discontinued the study because of indigestion (dyspepsia) or diarrhoea. 6 patients reported mild stomach discomfort or dyspepsia on active treatment. No other side effects have been reported in these studies. Our post-marketing experience together with other open studies and initiatives confirm the good tolerance of this food supplement. From the few reported side effects following intake of Equazen eye q over the last years, most were gastrointestinal disturbances (diarrhoea, loss of appetite, flatulencies, eructation) or suspected allergic reactions (mostly skin rashes or other cutaneous manifestations) for which a cause and effect relationship could not be established. Omega-3 fatty acids have been part of the human diet for millennia. Since the first omega-3 fatty acid advisory (Stone NJ et al. 1996), the FDA has ruled that intakes of up to 3g/d of marine omega-3 fatty acids are ‘’GRAS’’ (‘generally regarded as safe’) for inclusion in the diet.  

11.  Can I/my child take equazen eye q with other medications or supplements? Is there any risk of interactions?

equazen eye q contains fish oil (EPA, DHA) and evening primrose oil (GLA) as active substances. There are no studies examining interactions between equazen eye q and concomitantly administered drugs or herbal medicines. From a general point of view, high doses of fish oils are known to have antiplatelet effects. But fish oils might not be as potent as aspirin in inhibiting platelet function. Theoretically, concomitant use of fish oil at high dose with anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs may increase the risk of bleeding. However, conflicting research suggests that taking fish oils 3-6 grams/day does not significantly affect INR when used in patients taking warfarin. Other research suggests fish oils do not have additive antiplatelet effects when combined with aspirin. Based on this, a potential bleeding risk under omega-3 combined with anticoagulant or antiplatelet durgs is very low but cannot be entirely excluded. In any case, everyone should inform his/her physician about the intake of fish oil products concomitantly with other drugs and especially when taking anticoagulant or platelet antiaggregating drugs.  

12. Why do your products contain Vitamin E?

The vitamin E is added to preserve the oil from oxidation, which contaminates the purity and subsequently the efficacy of the oil.

13. Where does the flavoring in equazen eye q liquid come from?

The citrus flavour is a natural flavour derived from essential oils of plants of the citrus family like lemon. In equazen eye q vanilla the essence has been sourced from Madagascan vanilla beans. The flavours are mixed with excipients for technical reasons (stability, mixture process during manufacture). Both flavours are natural and free from genetically modified organism (GMO).  

14. Why does the equazen product line have a premium price compared to other fish oil products?

There is a great variation in the quality and specifications of oils available to consumers. equazen eye q is a unique combination of fatty acids, carefully formulated for the specific needs of the brain function. In contrast to most of the other omega-3 and -6 supplements, equazen products have been researched and tested in several observational and clinical studies (RCT’s) and have proved their efficacy for specific needs. The oils in our products are of high quality. They are manufactured under high standards in GMP-certified facilities, using the same standards than for drug products. They are completely clean from chemicals, pollutants or pesticides. Our oils also undergo no processes of industrial concentration and thus are in their most bio-available form, readily available for use by the body. Not all oils are the same. We are dedicated to supplying oils of the highest quality to our consumers, providing them with a range of premium scientifically tested products.  

15. Why don’t I just take cod liver oil?

One of the most important functions of the liver is to filter toxins that may be harmful to the animal. Pollutants in the sea, found in a concentrated form in the liver of fish include dioxins, PCBs, heavy metals and pesticides, among others. Vitamins A and D, are also often found in liver oils, and can prove undesired effects at such elevated concentrations.  

16. The world’s oceans are in serious danger of being depleted of fish, what is Vifor doing about this? 

Every year the governing body responsible for fishing and the sea completes a survey to ascertain the amount of fish stock available and from this they set a fishing quota for the year. Outside the fishing seasons there is an enforced ban in place. In addition some areas can be classed as “closed areas” to protect spawning grounds and net sizes are tightly controlled to minimise catching fish that are too small (juveniles). The quota catches, fish size, product testing and loading for expert are closely monitored independently by a third party on behalf of the governing body. The fish oil used in the equazen product line has been certified by an independent body as complying with the “Friend of the Sea” criteria for Products from Sustainable Fisheries.  

17. Isn’t omega 6 a “bad fat”?

Far from being a “bad fat”, omega-6 is an essential fatty acid that must be included in the diet. However, due to the prevalence of omega-6 PUFAs such as linoleic acid (LA) in the western diet, particularly due to processed fatty foods and farmed cereals, most people’s omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is indeed too high. The ideal dietary ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be in the range of 1:1 to 4:1, but the typical western diet, normally provides ratios from 15:1 to 30:1. The high proportion of omega-3 compared to omega-6 in equazen eye q is designed to correct the balance. Not all n-6 PUFAs are the same. Our products provide omega-6 PUFAs from Evening Primrose Oil which contains a large proportion of GLA. GLA can act in much the same way as n-3 PUFAs and enhance their effects, exerting, among other beneficial effects, an anti-inflammatory effect.  

18. Can I give equazen eye q to my baby?

equazen eye q is preferably given from 2 years on (startign with the liquid format). The formulation of equazen eye q baby is better suited for babies aged 6 months to 2 years. This is because it contains a particularly high level of omega-3 DHA, the structural fatty acid that forms the building blocks in our brain and retinal membranes. From age 0-6 months we assume that breast-feeding babies will be getting their required amount of nourishment from the mother’s breast-milk. Though there are no known safety concerns with regards to taking the hi-EPA equazen eye q products at post-weaning period, the formulations of the equazen eye q range of products are age-related. At the younger age of 0-2 years, when the brain cell membranes are rapidly developing and multiplying, the structural properties of our hi-DHA omega-3 product are more appropriate and probably more beneficial to babies. After this period, it is more appropriate to take the functional hi-EPA equazen eye q products.  

19.  Can I take equazen eye q while pregnant? Why is mumomega recommended for pregnant women rather than standard eye q? 

Certain PUFAs can play either a predominantly structural or functional role in brain-health. During the development of the brain, throughout pregnancy and (at least) the first two years of life, the provision of structural fatty acids takes on an added importance. A sudden growth-spurt in the brain in late pregnancy can often lead to PUFA deficiencies in mothers and their babies. The fatty acids DHA (omega-3) and ARA (omega-6) in particular, are rapidly incorporated and often subject to deficiencies throughout this period. Therefore mumomega and equazen eye q baby were formulated with a higher relative concentration of the structural PUFA DHA. Supplementation of both mother and baby with DHA alleviation of PUFA deficiency has been linked with benefits to the baby’s visual functions, sleeping patterns, allergies and subsequent mental abilities 4 years later. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can displace each other in the brain, so we provide a formulated ratio designed to allow incorporation of the omega-6 ARA, while still promoting the functional and structural influences from omega-3 supplementation.  

20.  I am allergic to fish protein/I have a fish allergy, can I still take your product?

equazen products contain refined fish oils. In order to remove any protein traces, our products are subject to caustic/water washing followed by different steps like freezing, filtration and steam washing. For some of the equazen products like cardiozen or mumomega, the oil undergoes further processing steps such as concentration, etherification, molecular distillation, reconstruction and a final so called super-refining step. For all equazen products it is therefore very unlikely that any fish proteins remain in the oil. We test our product for proteins and there is less than 0.0001 % in the eye q liquid (undetectable at our maximum level of accuracy). However, due to the risk of cross contamination within the manufacturing plant, we cannot completely exclude the risk and recommend these products if you suffer from a fish allergy.  

21.  I am trying to lose weight at the moment. Can you tell me what the calorie/fat content of your products is?

Please find herewith the energy content for our equazen product range

equazen eye q capsules (2 capsules) 10kcal / 43kJ
equazen eye q chews (2 capsules) 10kcal / 43 kJ
equazen eye q liquid (2 tablespoons) 40 kcal / 163 kJ
equazen eye q baby (1 capsule) 2.3kcal / 9.3kJ
equazen eye q mind (1 capsule) 7.6 kcal / 32kJ
mumomega (1 capsule) 7.8 kcal / 32kJ
cardiozen (1 capsule) 8 kcal / 32.9 kJ

 

22. My child finds it difficult to take equazen eye q capsules. Can you please suggest some serving suggestions? 

Some children can find it difficult to take supplements, especially the idea of fish being involved. equazen eye q smooth, equazen eye q liquid (both mixable with milk based drinks, smoothies or yoghurt) and equazen eye q chews may be an alternative to the capsules. However, in the meantime, you may want to try these suggestions which have been successful for parents trying to administer the capsules:

In terms of approach we have found that bringing the child on board with the reasons for supplementation is important. The child should know that this is a good and natural product that will bring him benefit. The capsules should not be imposed.

If swallowing the capsules proves impossible then the best option is to snip the capsules open and squeeze out the oil. If the capsules are too hard just leave them in the open air for about 30 minutes as this should help soften the shell. To mask the taste it is best to add savoury foods such as soup, mashed potatoes or a tuna fish sandwich, cool porridge, pureed vegetables, fruit salad, ice cream etc If this doesn’t work for your child another method is to mix the squeezed oil in butter – it combines nicely and then it could be spread on toast

Try to time the intake around a meal so that the fatty acids in equazen eye q capsules are digested along with a meal. Also, many parents report that they prefer to get most of the oil ingested with the evening meal so that the oil can be absorbed as they sleep. There would be no diminished effect by adding equazen eye q into food, however please do not cook with the oil as it damages the delicate structure of the fatty acids in the formulation.  

23. What kind of plastic/material are the equazen pots and bottles made of?  Do you have any kind of analysis to show that they do not contaminate the product?  

The plastic pots used for the capsules are made from High Density Poly-Ethylene (HDPE) and are in common use throughout the pharmaceutical industry. The equazen eye q liquid bottles are aluminium bottles coated internally with a food grade lacquer (an epoxy phenolic resin). The lacquer is one that is commonly used by the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Independent testing results of the equazen eye q liquid bottles indicate that there is no bisphenol A in our packed product.  

24. How many clinical trials were performed with your products?

To date there are published 3 independent clinical trials performed with our equazen eye q capsules, one trial with equazen eye q chews and one with equazen eye q smooth. Further independent trials performed by specialists in different research fields are ongoing.  

25. What is more important, EPA or DHA?

The omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are conditionally essential nutrients that enhance quality of life. At sufficient levels of incorporation, EPA and DHA influence the physical nature of cell membranes and membrane protein-mediated responses, eicosanoid generation, cell signaling and gene expression in many different cell types. Through these mechanisms, EPA and DHA influence cell and tissue physiology, and the way cells and tissues respond to external signals. In most cases, the effects seen are compatible with improvements in disease biomarker profiles or in health-related outcomes. DHA is proven essential to pre- and postnatal brain development, whereas EPA seems more influential on behavior and mood. Both DHA and EPA generate brain cell protective metabolites. Therfore it is impossible to say that one is more important than the other; a combination of both would play the major role.