R&D: Krill Phospholipids Go GRAS -- June 2008
"Krill” means whale food in Norwe-gian; they are small, shrimp-like crustaceans that are eaten by fish, birds and whales. One species, the Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), makes up a biomass of roughly twice the world population of humans (500 million tons). Whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish consume over half of this each year. With the approximately 100-800 million tons that are annually harvested for commercial purposes (of several species of krill), there is some concern of over-harvesting.
Although krill oil products have been on the market for awhile, one company has produced a stable, high-quality and affordable krill oil product called KO+TM. Produced by Enzymotec, KO+ is a high-grade extraction of phospholipids from krill biomass, fortified with omega-3-rich fish oil and marine-originated astaxanthin. “As dietary phospholipids have been shown to result in a different metabolic fate in comparison to triglycerides, it may be one reason that KO+ may be healthier for us than other fish oil products on the market,” says Orly Farkash of Enzymotec.
Just recently, Enzymotec krill-derived lecithin, the major KO+ ingredient, was self-affirmed as GRAS, as Enzymotec notified the FDA of its GRAS status, and the FDA responded with “no questions.” This may open up the possibilities of ingredient formulation, which may be helpful to the population Enzymotec is trying to target. Krill oil has been found to clinically improve measures related to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome has an increasing prevalence world-wide, affecting up to a reported 25% of the adult population. It is a major risk factor of vascular and heart disease, including glucose intolerance, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and dyslipidemia (high triglycerides, low HDL-C and high LDL-C).
For example, in a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, krill oil (1-1.5g/day or 2-3g/day) vs. fish oil (3g/day) vs. placebo was studied in patients that had mildly high to very high blood cholesterol (194-348mg/dL) and triglyceride (204-354mg/dL) levels. The results found that following 90 consumption days, krill oil, at lower and equal doses, was significantly more effective in reducing LDL-C and triglycerides and in increasing HDL-C levels than either fish oil or a placebo. It was hypothesized that the unique composition of the krill oil--with the combination of omega-3-enriched phospholipids and with the antioxidant astaxanthin--may have contributed to its significantly different effect on blood lipids. NS
--Kerry Hughes, Contributing Editor
For more information:
Enzymotec * Migdal HaEmeq, Israel
Orly Farkash * +972 4 654 5112
firstname.lastname@example.org * www.enzymotec.com
Bunca, R, et al. 2004. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. Altern Med Rev 9:420-8.