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OMEGA MAN

By New You Editorial
Posted On Aug 29, 2012

Somewhere in the unbelievably clean waters along the coast of New Zealand grows a very happy mussel. Well, we can only assume that it’s happy—at the very least, it’s thriving.
Attached to thick ropes that descend 40 feet into the water, this shellfish—its common name is the green-lipped mussel—feeds on deep-sea plankton that roil up from the seas surrounding Antarctica. It grows large for a mussel, some 4 or 5 inches long, and it gets its name from a distinct green band that forms around the edge of its shell.

What makes it really special, however, is what’s inside: Ounce for ounce, an astonishing amount of concentrated Omega-3 fatty acids.

“It’s a super oil,” says Ken Meares, the CEO of Great HealthWorks, the company which farms, processes and packages the mussel’s oil as a tiny capsule called OmegaXL. “When it comes to omega fatty acids, we’re the rocket fuel. We’re at the top.”

And that is a great place to be when it comes to a class of supplements that is considered by doctors to be the most important one you can take.

Muscle-Ropes-Sparkling-Water1This Mussel Packs A Punch
For centuries, Maori Indians living on the coast of New Zealand have treated the green-lipped mussel with reverence, including a daily ritual of consuming one of them raw. Outside of anthropological curiosity, what makes this significant is that coastal Maori rarely suffer any illness caused by inflammation—things like arthritis or heart disease.

The reason is something which has now been tracked in dozens of scientific studies over a 30-year period: The green-lipped mussel the Maori eat—aka perna canaliculus—is chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory agents. These are the same fatty acids found in fish oil, which has been recommended by physicians for decades, but in much higher concentration.

Studies have shown that daily consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids is a powerful preventative for everything inflammatory. This is vital, because while inflammation is the body’s initial healthy response to damage or infection (wounds would not heal without it), chronic inflammation is deadly. It leads to a host of illnesses that include heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, periodontitis, atherosclerosis—the list goes on and on. Many of the conditions associated with aging, including joint pain and aging of the skin, are also linked to chronic inflammation.

The good news is that taking Omega-3 fatty acids can control the inflammatory response. The classic Framingham Study that taking Omega-3 fatty acids can control the inflammatory response. The classic Framingham Study (of thousands of town residents over decades) showed that those who regularly took fish oil cut their chances of developing Alzheimer’s in half. A study completed in 2010 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle showed that fish oil reduced the risk of breast cancer by a third. Further studies show that fish oil reduces heart disease, while studies that show the impact of fish oil on arthritis are legion.

What blew Ken Meares away, and why he wanted to create a product from the oil of the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, was that the oil it contained—officially, the PCSO-524 lipid complex—was incredibly more potent than ordinary fish oil. Research on the oil had demonstrated that the two most important Omega-3 fatty acids, known as DHA and EPA, were found in the mussel’s oil to be 20 and 17 times more potent, respectively, than what was found in typical fish oil.

KEN-MEARES-OMEGA-MANThe Man Behind The Mussel
While the ‘XL’ in OmegaXL does not does stand for Extra Large, it may as well if it refers to their CEO.

Ken Meares is one of those people who are larger than life. At the age of 68 he is unbelievably fit, physically and mentally. A former professional weight lifter, he maintains a daily workout regimen that would fell the ordinary mortal; his arms are thick and rock solid. He is also sharp as a steel blade. He is relentlessly upbeat, and prides himself on how many of his 250 on-premise employees he can remember by name. If he gives you a tour of company headquarters he will great dozens of them with a “Good morning, Jacquelyn (or Karen, or Robert, etc,) how are you? You look fantastic today, as always.”

Meares discovered the green-lipped mussel and its omega fatty acids ten years ago, when he was 58. “I felt a little like Colonel Sanders discovering his fried chicken formula at 62,” he says. “It’s never too late when you are passionate about something.”

At the time, Meares already had a successful career in the health and fitness business. He had built the first Gold’s Gyms, put together chains of health clubs, and prior to founding Great HealthWorks ran a national supplement company that manufactured and sold a topical analgesic for athletes that relieved joint pain and other sports related injuries.

He was looking for his next big project.

“One thing I know is that people don’t want to live with pain,” he says. “I discovered through pain management that inflammation is the cause of a lot of pain in the body. And then I heard about this company in New Zealand that had some product that was supposed to do wonders with inflammation.”

Meares got a bunch of samples, and gave it to friends and family to try it. Meares got a bunch of samples, and gave it to friends and family to try it. “They found it fantastic—enormously effective in relieving their pain,” he says. Armed with that knowledge, Meares founded Great HealthWorks and went on to create Omega XL, which is now a global brand.

Celebrity Hype
“Fish oil comes in three different forms,” says Derrick DeSilva, MD, a member of the teaching staff at the JFK Medical Center in Edison, NJ, and a practicing physician of Internal and Integrative Medicine. “There is an ethyl ester form, and a triglyceride form and a free fatty acid form. The scientific data shows that the free fatty acid form is the most bio-available for the human body. The absorption rate is much greater.”

As you might have guessed, the green-lipped mussel’s Omega-3 fatty acids are of the free fatty acid form; the other types are the ones found in regular fish oil. “It’s the absorbability that gives it the extra strength,” says Dr. DeSilva, who also acts as a medical advisor to Great HealthWorks.

If you are looking for testimony to its potency, you need go no further than the celebrities who swear by the product. All discovered Omega XL through friends, and all became devotees after using the product. Among them are pop icon Taylor Dayne (Far Right), Dancing with the Stars’ Tony Dovolani, Friends’ Courtney Cox, national radio talk show host Delilah, television anchor and trial attorney Rikki Klieman (Above),  NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, and legendary supermodel Beverly Johnson.

“For me it was breathing, for Beverly it was her body,” says songstress Taylor Dayne (Tell it to My Heart, Love Will Lead You Back), who for years suffered chronic inflammation in her chest. “I could go asthmatic and it was constantly difficult to sing.”

Dayne, no stranger to personal health care, was already committed to a diet that included everything from seaweed to green tea to wheat germ oil. For her breathing problems she went as far as seeing Chinese herbalists, let alone Western doctors. “I was constantly going on antibiotics, so that it wouldn’t turn into something bronchial. I haven’t had to do that in so long, since.