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Krill oil shows heart health benefits in humans: Aker’s ‘exciting’ study

By Stephen DANIELLS , 19-Dec-2013
Last updated on 19-Dec-2013 at 15:37 GMT2013-12-19T15:37:43Z

Krill oil shows heart health benefits in humans: Aker’s ‘exciting’ study

Daily supplements of krill oil may reduce triglyceride levels and boost heart health, says a new study with 300 people from Aker BioMarine Antarctic.

Twelve weeks of supplementation with the company’s Superba krill oil product was also found to not impact LDL cholesterol levels, relative to placebo, according to findings published in Nutrition Research .

Study coordinator Kjetil Berge, PhD, R&D Director, Aker BioMarine Antarctic, called the study “exciting” because it is the biggest krill study conducted in humans to date.

“This study helps further document the health benefits of phospholipid-bound EPA and DHA from krill and represents an important addition to our growing research portfolio,” added Tove Flem Jacobsen, Vice President of R&D and Regulatory Affairs, Aker BioMarine Antarctic.

Krill

Krill are deep-water marine planktonic crustaceans that look like tiny shrimps. Oil from the little critters is an excellent source of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are carried by phospholipids rather than triglycerides (as in fish oil).

Krill oil supplements appear to be answering consumer demand for an alternative to fish oil supplements, and the smaller capsules and ‘improved consumer experience’ appears to be resonating with some consumers.

Indeed, Aker Biomarine has said that krill sales were up 43%  in the natural channel last year, with krill now accounting for 12% of total omega-3 supplement sales in the mass market.

Study details

The new study adds to the body of science supporting the benefits of krill oil supplements. Scientists from Aker BioMarine and Intertek Cantox recruited 300 men and women with borderline high or high triglyceride levels (150–499 mg/dL) to participate in their double-blind, randomized, multi-center, placebo-controlled study.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of five groups: Four groups received supplements providing daily krill oil doses of 0.5, 1, 2 or 4 grams, and the fifth group received the placebo.

Blood lipid levels were measured after an overnight fast at the start of the study and again after six and 12 weeks. Since there was a lot of variation in the triglyceride levels in the subjects, the researchers decided to pool the data from all of the krill oil groups.

Results showed that the krill oil groups experienced an average reduction in triglyceride levels of 10.2%, relative to placebo. In addition, no changes in LDL were observed, relative to placebo.

“The outcome of the pooled analysis suggests that krill oil is effective in reducing a cardiovascular risk factor,” wrote Dr Berge and his co-workers. “However, owing to the individual fluctuations of TG concentrations measured, a study with more individual measurements per treatment group is needed to increase the confidence of these findings.”

Source: Nutrition Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2013.12.003
“Krill Oil Supplementation Lowers Serum Triglycerides without Increasing Low-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Adults with Borderline High or High Triglyceride Levels”
Authors: K. Berge, K. Musa-Veloso, M. Harwood, N. Hoem, L. Burri

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