NEWS IN BRIEF
European Commission updates Calanus oil conditions of use
The document, which appears in the Official Journal of the European Union, outlines changes to existing recommendations and includes maximum levels permitted for population groups.
For food supplements, excluding food supplements for infants and young children, a maximum level of one gram per day (g/day) is permitted for the general population.
The amount assumes an astaxanthin ester level of less than 0.1%, resulting in less than one milligram (mg) astaxanthin per day.
For the general population older than 14 years of age, a maximum level of 2.3 g/day is now permitted.
The amount also assumes an astaxanthin ester level ranging from 0.1% to less than 0.25% resulting in less than 5.75 mg astaxanthin per day.
Additional specific labelling requirements should instruct consumers not to consume Calanus finmarchicus oil if other food supplements containing astaxanthin esters are consumed on the same day.
The label also requires instructions not to allow infants and children younger than 3 years to consume the oil or by children younger than 14 years, if the ingredient contains more than 0.1% of astaxanthin.
Calanus finmarchicus oil is a ruby coloured, slightly viscous oil with a slight shellfish odour extracted from the crustacean (marine zooplankton) Calanus finmarchicus.
The ingredient consists primarily of wax esters (typically over 85 %) with minor amounts of triglycerides and other neutral lipids.
Calanus oil studies
Supplements with calanus oil have been the subject of studies that point to its role in improving measures of glucose metabolism and insulin resistance in obese people.
Writing in Nutrients, scientists from Leibniz University Hannover and Hannover Medical School reported that 12 weeks of calanus oil supplements led to significant reductions in fasting plasma insulin and HOMA-IR in obese people.
Significant improvements in hepatic insulin resistance index (HIRI) were also reported from Calanus oil supplementation, but no impacts were seen on other measures, such as HbA1c.
A Norway-based team also showed calanus oil supplementation led to overrepresentation of Lactobacillus and Streptococcus - two strains often linked with weight loss, and anti-inflammation.
Consumption of the oil also led to an underrepresentation of Bilophila, a genus shown to increase upon consumption of diets rich in saturated animal fats and linked to inflammatory bowel disease.