A decade ago, Swedish vegan ultramarathoner and PhD of Biotechnology (at Stockholm’s highly regarded KTH Royal Institute of Technology), Fredrika Gullfot saw the immense potential in extracting omega-3s from algae, rather than from the fish or krill that ingest it. Gullfot’s endeavor—going straight to the source of these essential fatty acids—wasn’t just to comply with her vegan diet, but to leave the ocean’s sensitive ecosystems and wildlife unharmed. She did not intend to form yet another supplement company, but aimed to start a movement and encourage real, positive change. Gullfot teamed up with her daughter Daphne Jaeschke, MSc and Simris—a biotech company underpinned by humanity—came to life.
“Most supplement brands out there are just sourced ingredients in fancy packaging. There is nothing bad about that, it’s how the industry works,” Gullfot tells us. “With Simris, we wanted to bring real value to the table. Not only by providing the best omega-3 on the market, but also by inspiring a healthier lifestyle.”
While it’s widely understood that the body needs omega-3s, many of us aren’t entirely aware of the reasons. Not only are our brains made up of these fatty acids, but they are crucial for cellular function. They contain anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clotting actions, and can help reduce blood pressure and the risk of diabetes. They support heart, brain, vision and joint health; help with cognitive function; and even sleep regulation. Additionally, omega-3s can improve hair, skin and nails. All that said, the body cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids on its own, so they have to be added to our diets.
Traditionally, that has been through eating fatty fish or taking fish or krill oil supplements. The problems with those sources are many and varied. On a global scale, these products contribute to immense environmental damage resulting from overfishing and mass-scale fisheries. Then there are stability problems with fish oils, and their chemical refining processes. Ultimately, these oils can result in people ingesting man-made chemicals (polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs), heavy metals and environmental toxins.
But in Hammenhög, in southern Sweden’s Österlen region—the Simris team cultivates microalgae for locally farmed, environmentally friendly, ethical and plant-based marine omega-3 EPA and DHA. From their lab to their greenhouses, they harness the power of biotechnology and combine it with precision aquaculture to create their farm-to-bottle products.
“In our early years, we developed and built the whole farming process to obtain our oils and develop our first products. I sometimes use a tech analogy: if Simris was some new kind of app or software-based service, it’s as if we had to invent and build the PC or iPhone first,” Gullfot explains. “When it comes to the brand, it has been true to its Scandinavian heritage since the very start with the design and aesthetic appeal of the utmost importance. Science, high-tech, and sustainability aside, it’s also always been a priority to put the products in a consumer context and show the impact they can have on the lives of those who take them.”
There are three state-of-the-art options available: Algae Omega-3 ($55), Algae Omega-3 for Mothers ($53) and Algae Omega-3 for Athletes ($57). While each is carefully formulated for specific needs, they all include DHA-rich algae oil and organic, cold-pressed flaxseed oil—two potent ingredients with immense benefits—and are protected by a blend of antioxidants to ensure their efficacy and shelf-life. Since Simris is plant-based, these softgel supplements also eschew all those unpleasant fishy odors and flavors.
“Our customers are definitely ahead of the curve and always have been, demanding the highest quality and best products around,” Gullfot says. “Generally, the focus on plant-based nutrition is growing each year, and so is the demand for aspirational, high-quality, traceable and sustainable products.”
The team has won various awards for entrepreneurship, engineering and environmental sustainability, but they continue to research, develop and evolve—thanks to the brand’s future-forward foundations. By never losing sight of their environmentally ethical values, Simris succeeds in its mission to be both a biotech company and a lifestyle brand that’s powered by innovation, but also sustainability and humanity.
As Gullfot says, regarding both global and personal health missions, “Real change must come from within, and inspiration is the best way to achieve that.”
Images courtesy of Simris