Absorption enhancement: Australian human clinical trials show effectiveness of novel delivery method

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

David Briskey, research fellow from University of Queensland (UQ), explained how new SMED could boost the body's absorption of omega-3.
David Briskey, research fellow from University of Queensland (UQ), explained how new SMED could boost the body's absorption of omega-3.

Related tags: delivery systems, omega-3, Clinical trials

The body's absorption of omega-3 increased by six times after taking a supplement that used the self micro-emulsifying delivery system (SMED) from Pharmako Biotechnologies, a series of human clinical trials conducted in Australia has found.

David Briskey, research fellow from the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, presented findings from the trials while speaking at the recent NutraIngredients Omega-3 Summit.

Conducted by UQ and RDC Clinical, the trials studied the effectiveness of a patented SMED, AquaCelle, a delivery system developed by Pharmako Biotechnologies. Using the right delivery method is important since lipids, including omega-3, are hydrophobic in nature and hence, not easily absorbed by the body.

In a trial involving 60 participants, it was shown that AquaCelle could boost the bioavailability of lipophilic active ingredients in the body by 600% within 24 hours.

Besides fish oil, the researchers also found that AquaCelle could increase the body’s absorption of other lipid substances, such as krill oil, algal oil, and chia oil.

For example, in another trial involving 74 participants, it was shown that by delivering krill oil which contains about 89mg of EPA and DHA via AquaCelle, the amount of EPA and DHA delivered is equivalent to a commercial dose of fish oil containing 650mg of EPA and DHA.

“The body is very good at regulating systems…What we found is it might be if you already have a high omega-3 index, you are not going to absorb the oils, if you have a low index, you are going to absorb far better,”​ Briskey said.

“So if you have a product from the market at a very high dose, how much of it is being absorbed by the body versus how much of it has gone through the system, it is something that the technology can aid in.”

In the case, AquaCelle increases absorption by promoting the formation of micelle – structures which are naturally formed in the gastrointestinal tract to improve the absorption of lipids and lipophilic substances.

Smaller micelles greater absorption

The researchers also found that a smaller micelle size is associated with a greater absorption of lipids.

The absorption rate could be increased by as much as 50%.

 “The size of the micelle makes a big difference on body’s absorption of the product. When you have a small micelle size, you get a 50% increase in absorption versus a bigger-sized micelle,”​ Briskey said.

Zero fishy burps

Besides higher absorption rates, Briskey added that the types of delivery system used would affect the incidence of fishy aftertaste.

From the results of gastrointestinal questionnaires, researchers found that none of the participants who took fish oils made with AquaCelle reported “fishy burps”, while 14% of those who took standard fish oils reported “fishy burps”.

Briskey explained that this was because standard fish oil would stay on top of stomach contents, hence resulting in “fishy”​ reflux, whereas for fish oils made with AquaCelle, the lipid particles would be dispersed in the aqueous environment of the gut.

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