Igennus Healthcare Nutrition was formed in 2004 after our Founder and CEO, Dr Jav Nazemi PhD, was introduced to pioneering research supporting the therapeutic role of omega-3 fatty acids in heart health – a coincidence that would aid a relative’s inflammatory heart condition and lead to a dramatic career change for Jav.
How it all began
It’s not always easy to see the positive during a crisis – let alone an opportunity – but this was exactly how the seed of an idea for a specialist nutrition business was planted in the mind of our Founder and CEO, Dr Jav Nazemi. It is now almost twenty years since Jav found out that a family member had developed a heart condition involving incompetence and stenosis of the mitral valve. Quite uncommon in the UK, rheumatic fever had caused heart inflammation and permanent scarring to the mitral valve such that it became narrowed and unable to close properly. This condition can cause backflow of blood through the heart and ongoing risk of blood clots.
After being introduced to the research of the eminent scientist and clinician Professor Basant Puri, Jav was inspired by the evidence highlighting the remarkable properties of omega-3 EPA. As well as being hugely grateful for the advice, Jav was encouraged that Dr Puri had suggested a natural solution, without the side effects of the aspirin that the doctors at the hospital had recommended. The family, where possible, always opt for natural remedies; firm believers in prevention, they eat a largely Mediterranean diet, low in grains and rarely need to visit the GP. The omega-3 that Dr Puri had advised further fuelled Jav’s interest in natural health; wanting to learn as much as he could about the beneficial properties of fish oil, Jav would read any material he could get his hands on.
Jav became aware a few years later that Dr Puri was conducting pioneering research with fish oils and getting remarkable results. This was further corroborated by the American Heart Association which was by then extolling the virtues of omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish. In following Puri’s research, Jav found that Puri and other leading researchers were beginning to distinguish between different types of omega-3.
They were no longer simply suggesting omega-3 was beneficial, but a specific omega-3 fatty acid known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) possessed remarkable properties including thinning the blood. Jav was determined to find the right supplement for his relative. According to Professor Puri (and a great deal of research since), the body requires a specific ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for the optimum functioning of the body and brain. He discovered the family of botanical triterpenes – free-radical scavengers – present only in organic cold-pressed virgin EPO. In his search for the right supplement, Jav discovered that a pure EPA omega-3 & omega-6 supplement did not exist. In 2004, fish oil supplements were unconcentrated and relatively low in EPA.
Jav’s entrepreneurial side spurred him on to co-found Igennus with a friend to formulate a fatty acid supplement that would outweigh any other in terms of ratio, concentration and purity. Just as the market moved on from cod liver oil to more concentrated fish oils, Igennus pioneered Vegepa®, a unique pharmaceutical-grade and targeted EPA omega-3 formula based on the research of Professor Basant Puri, which has changed the landscape of the omega supplement market.
Jav and his family’s values, principles and approach to health continue to guide our multi-faceted philosophy and vision. Fourteen years after the launch of Vegepa® in the UK, and with a team of nutrition scientists, we have developed and expanded our product range, formulating nutrition supplements that are tailored to a range of ailments. We have also now broadened our support, beyond clinical nutrition and into wellness nutrition – for those consumers passionate about prevention and seeking support for optimal wellbeing.