In terms of biomass, krill is one of the most successful animal species in the world. Supplementation with krill powder could help to prevent age-related declines in weight and energy by altering important metabolic pathways, according to new research in mice.
Krill are shrimp-like marine crustaceans which are found in all oceans of the world. The common name krill comes from the Norwegian word krill, meaning “young fry of fish.”
Recent studies suggest krill oil may boost heart function as well as reduce inflammation and arthritis pain. Moreover, the oil from one of the most successful species on earth as almost 50 times more potent than fish oil.
Krill are considered an important trophic level connection — near the bottom of the food chain because they feed on phytoplankton, converting it into a form suitable for many larger animals for whom krill makes up the largest part of their diet.
The astaxanthin found in krill oil provides excellent protection against ultraviolet light and UV-induced skin damage. It is a natural carotenoid-type of antioxidant found in krill that is believed to be 300 times more powerful than vitamins A and E, 47 times more powerful than lutein, and 34 times more powerful than CoQ10.
Published in the Journal of Functional Foods, the new study investigated the effects of 12 weeks supplementation with Krill Powder on the hepatic gene expression of mice.
The team behind the study reported that supplementation of the powder – which contains a mixture of oil and protein from Antarctic krill modified the pathways of several metabolic processes – showing that glucose metabolism and the degradation of lipids and amino acids were down-regulated while energy metabolism was up-regulated.
Led by Dr Bodil Bjorndal from the University of Bergen, Norway, the team suggested that dietary supplementation with the krill-based formulation may have the potential to prevent age-related declines in weight and energy due to the preservation of amino acids in combination with increased energy production.
“The findings of this study support further investigation into whether a lipid and protein combination product can have additional benefits over omega-3 supplementation alone; in particular, if a krill powder diet vs. a krill oil diet has an added effect on pathways involved in protein metabolism,” said Bjorndal.
Krill harvesting is one of the most ecologically-friendly on the planet. Antarctic krill has been harvested for 47 years, starting in 1961, with a historical peak harvest of just under 529,000 tons for the 1981/82 season. The mean annual catch rate from 2002 to 2007 was less than 120,000 tons a year.
Krill oil and powder suppliers are now available worldwide and since quality may vary, it is always imperative to research the company you are purchasing from, their harvesting practices and manufacturing processes to ensure you are receiving a quality product.