Dr Jamie Barger of LifeGen Technologies considers further research into krill oil is necessary. (Photo: lifegentech/Aker BioMarine/FIS)
Krill oil helps regulate genes in the liver: study
Thursday, June 30, 2011, 15:20 (GMT + 9)
Aker BioMarine has published a new preclinical study on krill oil showing a notably higher impact on gene regulation in the liver when the omega-3 fatty acids were given as phospholipids (krill oil) versus the triglyceride form (fish oil). Krill oil downregulated the activity of pathways concerned with hepatic glucose production and the synthesis of lipids and cholesterol in mice.
As well, the findings suggested that krill oil-supplementation heightens the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain.
Neither diet affected the plasma levels of lipids, glucose or insulin, presumably because the mice used were young and fed a low-fat diet, reports Nutrition Horizon.
Published in Frontiers in Nutrigenomics, the study, funded by Aker, investigated the regulation of 20,118 genes in mouse liver.
Mice were given three different diets for three months -- one control diet without omega-3, one diet supplemented with krill oil and one diet supplemented with fish oil. The diets containing omega-3 had the same level of the two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Aker BioMarine has since decided to commence a new study to more thoroughly examine the effects on hepatic lipid, glucose metabolism and mitochondrial function.
“Clearly this study demonstrates that omega-3 fatty acids in phospholipid form, which is abundant in krill oil, is more bioactive than the corresponding triglyceride form of the omega-3 fatty acids,” said Dr Jamie Barger of LifeGen Technologies, Madison, Wisconsin, US, which conducted the study.
“This research builds upon the body of evidence supporting the theory that phospholipid-bound EPA & DHA is utilized more effectively. However, further research is necessary to explain why there is a difference between these two molecular forms of the beneficial fatty acids,” Barger explained.
Relatedly, Eric Anderson, vice president, sales & marketing at Aker Biomarine Antarctic US, warned that deceitful firms advertising “krill oil” containing “next to no phospholipids” could warp consumers’ perception of how effective krill and the broader omega-3 oils really are. Pure krill oil has 40 per cent or more phospholipids, he told Nutraingredients-usa.
“There is ‘krill oil’ on the market with just 0.5 per cent phospholipids, whereas Antarctic krill oil contains about 24 per cent omega-3 fatty acids and at least 40 per cent phospholipids, to which the majority of the omega-3s are bound. What I find stunning is that some large marketing companies are buying this and effectively defrauding people because they think consumers don’t know any better,” he remarked.
Aker continues to sponsor in vitro, in vivo and human clinical trials with phospholipid EPA & DHA from krill oil as part of an effort to corroborate krill’s health benefits. The results consistently show a higher uptake of phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids, improved blood lipid profiles and higher uptake of DHA in brain tissue against other omega-3 fatty acid sources, according to the company.
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By Natalia Real