The study on the Canadian manufacturer's ingredient was investigated at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida and private naturopath clinics in Montreal to assess its implications for the first time on adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The company claims that patients improved their ability to concentrate and their working capacity by an average of 60.2 percent over the course of the trial.
The company said it is now designing a " very large study", with details to be released at a later date, in order to get a larger view of Neptune krill oil's cognitive potential.
"The next step for us as a company is to go further into the cognitive function world by doing larger studies," Neptune vice president of R&D and business development, Tina Sampalis, told NutraIngredients-USA.com.
Neptune krill oil (NKO) is derived from the planktonic family of crustacean and, as well as omega-3, it is also rich in phospholipids and antioxidants. Although Neptune believes it has no direct competitors, the general chatter about the benefits of fish-derived omega-3 has helped raise awareness of its core product.
NKO was first launched to the US dietary supplements market in 2003, but company has not yet emerged from the commercialization stage into profitability - often a long process in the biotech field. Nonetheless, the signals are positive and it seems more and more people are getting know about NKO.
Neptune uses a cold-processing technological platform to extract an oil from krill (a planktonic family of crustaceans), that is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids and antioxidants. It also offers a marine protein concentrate called Neptune Krill Aquatein that boasts over 80 per cent purity and contains a mix of amino acids, digestive enzymes, and peptides.
In the recently completed clinical trial, researchers evaluated the effect of NKO on adult ADHD as measured by Barkley's Executive Function score of behaviour inhibition, daily functional capacity and social behaviour. The study involved thirty otherwise healthy adults with a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD taking a daily 500mg doseof NKO.
Twenty-five of those who were originally enrolled in the study completed the six months of treatment. The five patients who did not complete the study were lost in the follow-up.
In addition to improvements in concentration and working capacity, researchers reported a 50 percent improvement in patients' planning skills and a 48.8 percent improvement in social skills.
Between 4 and 12 percent of children and 1 and 6 percent of adult s in North America are diagnosed with ADHD.
"Drugs are useful resources in the treatment of ADHD but medication is not always the best answer: over prescription, drug induced toxicity and the high cost of treatment are recognized problems of therecommended ADHD management guidelines," said Neptune's medical director, Dr. Marius Gangal. "NKOT will help patients reduce or even avoid medication and improve their quality of life."
Neptune is currently ironing out the details of an agreement with a food company for the use of NKO, and is in discussions with a dietary supplement manufacturer. However, the company would not provide further details on these proceedings.
The study on ADHD helps to solidify the cognitive potential for NKO according to Neptune, as the company is not only looking to attract people diagnosed with ADHD.
"We are emphasizing cognitive function and not necessarily only ADHD," said Sampalis. "Neptune krill oil is for people who would like to improve their concentration and memory in general - students, professionals and baby boomers."
The study is currently being put into manuscript form for possible publication in medical peer-reviewed journal, said Sampalis.