Joar Opheim takes care of himself so that he can better care for others.
The now successful businessman grew up in Northern Norway, where people have long understood and relied upon the benefits of fish oil supplements (and omega-3 fatty acids). Opheim personally relied on it to combat arthritis and pain from nagging sports injuries.
Unfortunately, once he went to study in the U.S., he discovered that it was difficult to find decent supplements. And so, he founded Nordic Naturals, an ethically-driven company committed to innovating the manufacture of high-quality omega-3 supplements to distribute throughout the globe.
Here, the CEO explains how being the best version of himself helps him contribute more to the world:
Live The Process: What first sparked your interest in the science behind nutrition and omega-3 fatty acids?
Joar Opheim: I grew up in Northern Norway, where fishing and fish science are a focus of both commerce and academia, and where almost everybody takes omega-3 supplements. I injured myself as a gymnast and took omega-3 for the arthritis that resulted from those injuries. I realized that the pain came back when not being compliant, which sparked a lifelong interest in omega-3 and its metabolic pathway.
LTP: What inspired you to found Nordic Naturals?
JO: When studying in the United States, I realized that the omega-3 supplements available at that time were not effective for my arthritis. Through analysis, I verified that the products I was taking were rancid and had low EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (and docosahexaenoic acid) concentration, and the purity was also questionable. Hence, we set out to develop a manufacturing process that yields fresh and pure omega-3 products with high EPA and DHA value, as well as being odorless and tasteless. We believed that these products would be appealing to a wide percentage of the population, including children and the elderly, making the benefits from omega-3 available to a very wide American audience.
LTP: How and why does Nordic Naturals maintain its commitment to socially responsible business practices?
JO: In Northern Norway, ethical and socially responsible business methods are quite common. I also grew up in a family with high ethical standards, so it’s very important to me, personally, that Nordic Naturals is transparent and committed in its demonstration of ethical and responsible business practices. The main way we maintain this commitment is through our vertical integration manufacturing process: we manage every step of the process in order to make sure we are honoring people and our planet, as we produce the highest quality products possible.
LTP: What advice would you offer those wishing to broaden their understanding of nutritional science?
JO: Start with a simple book—many are available at natural pharmacies and health food stores. Talk to staff members at the stores, as they are often very knowledgeable. Also, consult credible web sources like Wholehealthmd.com, which is a wonderful website that is free of charge. The Harvard School of Public Health also offers current and free nutrition information.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
JO: Happiness is seeing my kids feeling very happy themselves, especially when we go to our lake cabin. Happiness is also exercising and interacting with friends on a daily basis. The value of close friends cannot be overestimated. Finally, giving back unconditionally! I do my best to support schools and people in need and the emotional payback is invaluable.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how do you do that every day?
JO: We are committed to a profound goal at Nordic Naturals: to correct the global omega-3 deficiency. We truly want to see generations of healthier, happier people around the world because of what we do. I have come to understand that in order to help other people—both in my personal and professional life—I must be at my best.
A doctor told me many years ago to watch the four corners—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—as all play a role in self-fulfillment. Life is a gift, and it is supposed to be lived in bliss. I exercise regularly and have been a TM meditator for over 30 years. I spend time with my family and friends, and I do believe in a higher intelligence. These are very important priorities in my own life.