Pharmako delivery system boosts omega-3 absorption six-fold vs standard fish oil

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / stocksnapper
© Getty Images / stocksnapper

Related tags: Fish oil, omega-3, delivery systems, absorption

The oral absorption of omega-3 fatty acids can be significantly boosted using the AquaCelle self-emulsifying drug delivery system (SEDDS) without requiring a high-fat meal, says a new study.

Data published in the European Journal of Nutrition​ indicated that the AquaCelle system was capable of increasing plasma concentrations and absorption of total omega-3 (EPA + DHA) 3.2- and 6.1-fold.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at SupplySide West 2019 in Las Vegas, George Kokkinis, Director (Technical) at Pharmako Biotechnologies, said: “We increased absorption by over six-fold (the highest ever seen for an omega-3 formulation) with only 15% excipient ingredients. This is the first time that this has been achieved.”

Kokkinis maintained that other emulsifying systems may require a concentration of emulsifiers of as high as 40% to 80%.

Study details

Scientists from the University of South Australia and the University of Queensland recruited 60 healthy people to participate in their randomized, double-blind, single dose study. Participants received 680 mg doses of fish oil containing 272 mg of EPA ethyl esters and 204 mg of DHA ethyl esters formulated with or without AquaCelle.

Testing of the study materials showed that the AquaCelle fish oil formulation instantly and completely emulsified on addition to water, while the unformulated oil did not emulsify.

Absorption and plasma concentrations were significantly different between the groups, with higher values recorded in the AquaCelle group.

“An Omega-3 EE [ethyl ester] SEDDS using AquaCelle offered more extensive oral bioavailability of the long chain fatty acids, EPA and DHA, compared to the unformulated Omega-3 EE oil,” ​wrote the authors.  

“Ability of the AquaCelle formulation to emulsify the Omega-3 EE oil upon addition to the liquid environment in the stomach provided an increased surface area for improved digestion and long chain fatty acid absorption, without the requirement of a fatty meal. This SEDDS formulation is an effective approach to deliver EE forms of Omega-3 fish oil compared to currently available formulations.”

No more fishy burps, too?

R.V. Venkatesh, Managing Director at Gencor, a partner company of Pharmako, told us that the AquaCelle formulation also has implications to eliminate “fishy burps”. This is because standard fish oil floats on top of stomach fluids, thus giving rise to the  “fishy” reflux, whereas for fish oils made with AquaCelle, the lipid particles would be quickly dispersed in the aqueous environment of the gut.

Source: European Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1007/s00394-019-02118-x
“A self-emulsifying Omega-3 ethyl ester formulation (AquaCelle) significantly improves eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid bioavailability in healthy adults”
Authors: K.E. Bremmell et al.

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