life’sDHA: Fermented Algae Oil By Any Other Name

Life's DHA ad

This is an ad for something called life’sDHA. The message, as explained in the headline, is that your body needs DHA Omega-3 “through all stages of life.”

This is illustrated using the disturbing juxtaposition of the top half of an adult woman and the lower half of a baby. Someone thought this was clever but it’s just creepy.

The principal problem with this ad is that the headline and the image combine to say only: “Your body needs DHA Omega-3.” This is too vague —it’s likely to be the only thing the reader will take away before she turns the page.

Closer inspection reveals that life’sDHA is a brand of DHA Omega-3, one that comes from a vegetarian source. The reader is supposed to look for the logo on foods and supplements.

The ad fails to impart a message because (as I’ve said ad infinitum) no one is going to take the time out of her busy day to stop and read all the tiny copy in order to make sense of an ad that she really has no interest in anyway.

A trip to the website listed in the ad and a bit of digging reveals that life’sDHA is manufactured by a company called Martek Biosciences Corporation. The vegetarian source of the DHA Omega-3 is “two fermentable strains of microalgae which produce oils rich in docosahexaenoic acid, DHA.” Rachel’s Yogurt, one of the products pictured in the ad, lists the ingredient on their label as DHA algal oil. Who’s going to know what that means?

I’m not saying there’s anything bad about this product, but the fact is that it’s fermented algae oil that’s manufactured in a laboratory. Martek calls it life’sDHA to make it sound more acceptable to consumers.

Personally, I prefer to get my DHA Omega-3 from food sources and I’d rather not eat fermented algae oil. So when I see the logo that says life’sDHA, I’ll put the product back on the shelf.


By Marc Librescu

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