- Companion animals and humans need DHA to thrive – DHA is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that supports your pet’s nervous system, immune function, vitality, and more.
- Fish oil can oxidize – Even if a bottle of fish oil has an extended shelf life, once it’s opened, it can oxidize in less than three months. ZipZyme™ doesn’t have this problem since it safeguards the algae’s special, protective enzymes throughout the production process, is packaged in oxygen barrier packaging, and is cold shipped to your door.
- ZipZyme™ is a fresh food source of DHA – Algae produces the DHA found in fish and krill oils. Using omega-3 directly from algae instead of from fish and krill is far better for the ocean ecosystem and gives your pet direct access to these much needed nutrients
Your dog or cat first receives DHA from its mother’s milk. This type of omega-3 fatty acid is a critical part of their diet. It plays a huge role in brain development in the young and continues to impact their bodies through adulthood by reducing inflammation, the risk of heart disease, and cognitive decline as they age. However, dogs and cats can’t synthesize DHA naturally, so once they’re weaned, they’re looking to you to make sure this essential ingredient is included in their diet.
For decades, pet parents have mostly fed their dogs or cats fish oil because they were told that was a good way to supplement their diet with DHA beyond what they receive from their kibble, largely for its skin and coat benefits. However, recent studies have shown that fish oil oxidizes more frequently than we thought. While we don’t know the exact implications, it could mean anything from an ineffective product to a possibly harmful oxidative effect internally.
More so, with the overharvesting of fish in the sea and the increased farming of fish inland, fish oil isn’t a sustainable industry that we can rely on for the long term. Fortunately, PhytoSmart CEO Deena Sisitsky spent five years formulating a new “fish-free” method of ensuring your pet receives enough DHA in their diet, by growing DHA directly from its source: ocean algae. We spoke to Sisitsky about her product, ZipZyme™ Omega, and the future of functional DHA for companion animals.
What is ZipZyme™ Omega?
Did you know that algae are the real reason fish oil is so rich in DHA? In the wild, fish eat algae, so when they’re harvested from the ocean, they’re marketed as a good source of omega-3s. This is one reason why wild-caught fish is more expensive than farmed fish, which never had as much of a chance to consume nutritious algae. ZipZyme™ skips this step by eliminating the fish and cultivating the algae itself, which gives your pet a fresh food source of omega-3 that doesn’t deplete the fish supply.
“Because all available omega-3 oil products undergo an extraction process to produce the oil, they contain added fillers, synthetic ingredients, are often over-concentrated, and are prone to rapid and damaging product oxidation once the package seal is opened. This renders all omega-3 extracted oil products imperfect solutions to omega-3 nutrition.”
Additionally, fish oil isn’t the only omega-3 product that’s a cause for concern. Sisitsky points out that, unlike ZipZyme™ Omega, omega-3 algae-based products undergo the oil extraction process, which can render them ineffective or even damaged.
How is ZipZyme™ Omega made?
Unlike fish oil and other algae products that rely on heat extraction, ZipZyme™ algae are grown at room temperature and brined to preserve their enzymes. Because it isn’t subjected to heat, ZipZyme™ retains the beneficial antioxidant and metabolic enzymes in the algae (dismutases, peroxidases, and synthases). All ZipZyme™ products are grown in a sterile facility in Maine using PhytoSmart’s patented growing technology.
The production system allows for continuous batch culturing, which is revolutionary in the field. Most indoor commercially-grown algae are cultivated in 100,000- to 200,000-gallon tanks, which are harvested, emptied, and filled again for the next batch. PhytoSmart grows its algae in highly-engineered sterile plastic bags that are 6 feet tall, supported by lobster caging. Most of the mature algae is harvested at once, but a little is always left and adds more nutrients instead of completely starting over. Once harvested, the algae is brined with sterilized sea salt and frozen before it’s shipped to your door.
How does it work?
ZipZyme™ contains three natural ingredients: algae, lemon juice, and sterilized sea salt for the brining process. It comes cold-shipped in individual, oxygen-barrier pouch servings that prevent oxidation. Refrigeration is necessary because there are no preservatives present besides the brine. When it’s dinner time for your pet, squeeze a serving out of the pouch and let them dig in. The paste tastes reminiscent of a lobster dinner, but for dogs and cats.
What makes ZipZyme™ Omega different from fish oil?
Fish oil used to be the go-to DHA supplement for many pet owners, but research has shown that the extraction process in fish oil destroys important enzymes that ZipZyme™ Omega preserves. At the very least, farmed fish might not eat enough algae to be beneficial versus those caught in the wild. Since we’re already overfishing the oceans, wild-caught fish isn’t a sustainable resource, and it’s more expensive than many people are usually willing to pay.
Then there’s the issue of how fish oil is made. Fish oil is exposed to high temperatures to extract the nutrients, but as a result, two antioxidative enzymes known as superoxide dismutase and peroxidase are lost. Unfortunately, this means that producers must add tocopherols (synthetic antioxidants) that once saturated offer little to no protection. This means fish oil can oxidize in as little as three months once it’s been opened. Once it oxidizes, it becomes rancid. Since fish oil often contains synthetic ingredients that can mask the “fishy” smell, you might not even realize you’re feeding your dog rotten fish oil that can make them sick. By preserving the activity of these protective enzymes, ZipZyme™ provides extra protection against such damaging oxidation. ZipZyme’s process also preserves the algae’s metabolic enzymes that work to convert sugars into DHA.
Unlike all available omega-3 supplements, ZipZyme™ is not extracted oil. ZipZyme™ is simply an all-natural, fresh food source of DHA.
The future of ZipZyme™ Omega
Sisitsky and PhytoSmart have big plans to change the way the world thinks about DHA. She believes that DHA, through ZipZyme™ Omega, is the answer to a lot of chronic health issues in pets and humans. Beyond pet nutrition, she wants to share ZipZyme™ with humans and other animals, including farmed fish, so that they can receive enough of the algae that provides the essential DHA to humans. ZipZyme™ is safe for humans to eat, should they choose to try it. A dried flake form of ZipZyme™ with all the same benefits, called KRUMBLE™ that does not require cold shipping or cold storage is scheduled to be introduced in January 2023. PhytoSmart is perfecting a powder form of ZipZyme™ for humans that’s likely to be more palatable to us, slated for 2024 .
“Since modern diets are so lacking in DHA, most pets and people are deficient,” says Sisitsky. “We need to heal through clean, healthy nutrition.”
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