First krill powder study shows potential for metabolic syndrome

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

First krill powder study shows potential for metabolic syndrome
Daily supplements of krill powder may reduce the overactive endocannabinoid system in obese subjects, and offer potential for ameliorating metabolic syndrome, says a small study using Aker BioMarine’s new Superba Krill powder.

Daily consumption of the krill powder supplements for 24 weeks was associated with a 21% reduction in triglyceride levels and an 84% decrease in anandamide, an endocannabinoid that is elevated in obese subjects. Endocannabinoid are lipid signaling molecules.

This new powder product is currently under development by Aker BioMarine, and will provide phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids suitable for tablet applications, said the company.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA, Nils Hoem, PhD, Aker’s VP of R&D, explained that the krill powder is composed of 30% protein, some minerals, and krill lipids. “The powder doesn’t differ much from krill oil,”​ he said.

Matts Johansen, Aker’s COO, said the proof of concept study represents an important addition to the company’s research portfolio. “We look forward to continuing our research on this product and launching it in the near future.”

The study, published in Lipids in Health and Disease​, was only small, involving 11 obese men.

Study coordinator Kjetil Berge, PhD, Aker’s R&D Director, added: “We are excited to publish the first clinical study on our new krill powder product. However, it should be noted that this is an explorative pilot study, and larger studies are needed to further substantiate the health potential of krill powder.”

Study details

The pilot study, performed at Momentum Pharma Services GmbH, a CRO in Germany, and two academic research sites in Italy, investigated the effects of krill powder supplementation in 11 obese subjects. Participants were given 4 grams of krill powder daily for 24 weeks. Six men were also included in the study to act as controls and did not receive any supplements.

Results showed that the men receiving the krill powder had reduced triglyceride levels (21% reduction). The krill supplement was also found to positively impact three different endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA), and two AEA-related metabolites, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and oleoylethanolamide (OEA).

The researchers also recorded a significant decrease in waist/hip ratio and visceral fat/skeletal muscle mass ratio in the men taking the krill supplements, but there was no change in body weight, they added.

Dr Hoem explained that there was redistribution of fatty tissue away from the belly – the researchers used MRI scans to confirm this. However, ut is not currently known where the fat is redistributed to.

“We have shown here that dietary supplementation with a krill powder persistently ameliorates high triglycerides without weight loss in obese men, to an extent similar to that observed following lifestyle-induced weight loss in a previous study in dyslipidemic overweight/obese men, and in a shorter period of time (12–24 weeks vs. one year),” ​wrote the researchers.

“Given the ever increasingly established role of high triglycerides as an early determinant of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk in overweight and obese subjects, the present data suggest that dietary krill powder supplementation might represent a novel preventive strategy for these disorders,” ​the concluded.

Consistent with the animal data

Dr Hoem added: “What’s really interesting is that the results of this human study are really consistent with the data from the animal models. It’s a small study – only 11 people – but it confirmed the data from animal models in humans.”

“We are very excited about all of this, but when it comes to a clinical bearing caution needs to exercised,” ​he added.

Source: Lipids in Health and Disease
2013, 12​:78, doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-78
“Chronic treatment with krill powder reduces plasma triglyceride and anandamide levels in mildly obese men”
Authors: K. Berge, F. Piscitelli, N. Hoem, C. Silvestri, I. Meyer, S. Banni, V. Di Marzo

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