Effects of Krill Oil and Fish Oil on Serum Lipids

A 2010 study investigated the effects of fish oil and krill oil on serum lipids. It also looked at markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. The aim of the study was to assess if different molecular forms, triacylglycerol and phospholipids, of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) had any influence on the plasma level of EPA and DHA.

There were 129 healthy subjects involved in the trial of both genders. Each of these participants had normal or slightly elevated total blood cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels. The scientists randomized the volunteers into three separate groups. They gave each person either six capsules of krill oil or three capsules of fish oil daily for seven consecutive weeks. A third group served merely as controls and did not receive any supplementation. In the subjects supplemented with n-3 PUFAs there was a substantial increase in plasma EPA, DHA, and DPA compared with the controls. However, there were no meaningful differences in the changes in any of the n-3 PUFAs between the fish oil and the krill oil groups, though more tests are needed before any findings can be deemed conclusive.

Why the Interest

In recent years there has been an increased demand for products which contain marine n-3 PUFAs. One of the main problems is that fish is fast becoming a restricted resource. Because of this, there is now growing interest for exploiting other sources of marine n-3 PUFAs. Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) has filled this void. Krill is indeed a rich source of n-3 PUFAs. It's also the most prevailing member of the Antarctic zooplankton community in terms of biomass. In fact, estimates suggest there is somewhere between 125 and 750 million metric tons. This is according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This means there's plenty of scope for commercial harvest.

Source: Metabolic Effects of Krill Oil are Essentially Similar to Those of Fish Oil but at Lower Dose of EPA and DHA, in Healthy Volunteers

Stine M. Ulven,corresponding author Bente Kirkhus, Amandine Lamglait, Samar Basu, Elisabeth Elind, Trond Haider, Kjetil Berge, Hogne Vik, and Jan I. Pedersen

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