Somewhere on a white sandy beach in Mexico, a group of business executives gather in a blood-letting ceremony that could actually save their lives. As bizarre as this might sound, the executive team of Barlean’s has decided to quite literally BLEED for their brand. What I have described here is not some sort of cult, Jim Jones Kool-Aide party or James Arthur Ray sweat lodge ceremony.
Barlean’s is a health food store brand that sells products rich in modern-day liquid GOLD in the form of amber-colored flaxseed and fish oils. Just in case you have been hiding under a rock for the last decade, flax and fish oils are abundant in healthy and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are the darling of the nutrition industry, now overtaking multivitamins as the #1 best selling nutritional supplements nationwide. What’s more, thousands of studies exist to support the panacea of health and healing attributes of omega-3s – ranging from heart, eye, joint and mental health. The pharmaceutical industry has also hopped on the bandwagon with the prescription fish oil product Lovaza amassing a billion dollars in sales annually.
From Snake Bitten Fiction–To Fact Based Nutrition
However, heralding back to the snake oil days, proving the efficacy of nutritional supplements and medicinals is easier said than done. For many, using nutritional supplements is largely faith based. Thus the Barlean’s executive team was willing to put their BLOOD, sweat and tears forward to irrefutably prove the value of their products.
The ceremony begins with Grand Master Ramsey McLellan explaining to the executives how to lance their fingers with a pin-prick device to liberate a small blood droplet. Once liberated, the droplet is placed on a piece of medical diagnostic paper. McLellan is a principle of Ideal Omega, a company that has created an at-home test kit to reveal the amount of precious omega-3 in your body.
The higher the percentage of omega-3 fatty acids in your body compared to other less healthful fatty acids can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke–just to name a few. In fact, omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is now the 8th leading cause of death–BEFORE diabetes–amassing 96,000 deaths annually! While blood glucose is a standard serial blood test at every medical check up, there has been no easy and cost effective way to analyze omega-3 in the body–until now. Most Americans get less than a paltry 200 mg of Omega-3 in the diet each day. We need at least 1,000 mg (about four standard fish oil gelcaps a day) and most need more to balance the less healthful omega-6 in the diet.
Once the diagnostic paper is dry, it is simply put into a self-addressed secure envelope and sent to the lab for analysis. When the results are received, participants can choose dietary and/or supplemental measures to improve their omega-3 status. For many, this may mean eating more servings of fish high in omega-3, though most choose to take an omega-3 supplement to more quickly and reliably improve their profile. According to founder Bruce Barlean, “We have taken faith-based nutrition and made it fact-based.”
Not Your Grandma’s Cod Liver Oil
In the event that you do not like fish or fish oil, several unique products are available like emulsified oils. These formulas have the look, taste and texture of a fruit smoothie and are available in various flavors (like Barlean’s award-winning Omega Swirl line in flavors such as Mango Peach and Blackberry). Even better, a study conducted with Omega Swirl found it to be nine times more bioavailable than straight fish oil supplements. Believe it or not, even kids love the flavor and texture. Best yet, no fishy burps or aftertaste.
Blood Brothers & Sisters Bleed for Barlean’s
What started on a white sandy beach in Mexico has been extended to Barlean’s retail partners nationwide.
Barlean’s disciples are the hard-working owners, managers and employees of nearly 5,000 health food stores that stock their products. Barlean’s has put forth an unprecedented offer to their retail partners: the opportunity to have their omega-3 status analyzed absolutely free. Barlean’s has even put forward an offer to allow retailers to purchase their products at a discount to help correct an imbalance.
The test kits and analysis are valued at $150 apiece, but according to Jim Springer, vice president of Barlean’s, this is a small price to pay. According to Springer, “We have grown up with our retail partners over the past 20 years; they are our extended family and their personal health and welfare is important to us.” Springer adds, “In this sense, they are truly our blood brothers and sisters and what better way to impress the value of omega-3, and the easily modifiable dietary and supplemental means to extend health and longevity? What they learn can be extended to our customer base and in so doing they too can change a life for the better.” Barlean's is also in the process of making the Ideal Omega test kits commercially available.
The Harley Davidson brand has been memorialized in ink on the arms of many of their loyalists but, are you willing to bleed for your brand? For Barlean’s and their retail health food store partners, it could be a decision of life and death.
posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, October 8, 2011