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Krill oil supplements may promote healthy brain aging, according to new research. Xinhua/Liu Shiping via Getty Images

  • Researchers investigated the effects of krill oil on age-related neurodegeneration and Parkinson’s disease.
  • They found that krill oil can protect against many neurodegenerative processes in worms plus human cell lines.
  • The researchers say that their findings warrant further preclinical and clinical research before it is widely recommended.

Marine oils like fish oil have been extensively researched for their own health-promoting properties. Until now, however, krill oil has remained relatively understudied.

Krill oil has a high content of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants , and choline, an essential nutrient that aids healthy mind development and function.

One study found that dietary supplements associated with krill essential oil inhibited memory loss within mouse models of Alzheimer’s.

A review also suggested that the lipid nature of krill oil improves bioavailability plus efficiency of absorption, making it more beneficial than other marine natural oils for inflammation and cognitive function.

Further research of krill oil could help develop health supplements and therapeutics that protect against neurodegeneration.

Recently, experts studied the effects of krill oil on a roundworm model of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

They discovered that krill oil protected dopaminergic neurons from age-related degeneration and improved cognition. The degeneration of dopaminergic (DA) neurons is thought to play a key role in Parkinson’s.

“The study shows the potential of omega-3 fatty acids, choline, plus antioxidants within slowing the age-related damage to neurons. However , it is important to repeat the particular studies in animal versions, using appropriate controls. Furthermore, the [pretreated] krill essential oil might be more effective within animal models than natural krill oil. ”
Dr . Papasani Subbaiah , professor at the Department associated with Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, speaking in order to Medical News Today

The study was published in Aging .

The particular researchers chose to study roundworms as their particular aging processes are similar to those in humans. Previous research suggested that will krill essential oil could increase the lifespan of these worms by four days. Their average lifespan will be between 18-20 days .

In the current study, the particular researchers first measured the effects of krill oil on worm models of PD, characterized by DA neurons degrading over time.

Worms untreated with krill essential oil experienced deterioration of over 30% associated with dopaminergic neurons after six days. However, worms treated with krill experienced no reduction within DA neurons.

Buildups of proteins alpha-synuclein are also the key hallmark of PD. The scientists found that while controls had around 50 clumps associated with protein simply by day 6, those treated with krill oil only experienced 17.

PD is also known to affect movement. The researchers found that worms fed krill essential oil had significantly faster motion and higher activity levels than untreated worms.

They noted that worms with PD did not respond to krill oil, meaning that the oil likely works on key mechanisms underlying aging and PD.

Further experiments showed that krill oil furthermore reduced senescence—the loss of cells’ ability to grow and divide. The experts reported similar results from tests with human connective tissue cells.

More tests demonstrated that krill oil led to a 6-fold decrease in oxidative stress in earthworms and improved their knowledge. The scientists also found that will krill essential oil promoted genetic activity known to advertise healthy ageing.

When asked how krill oil may differ from some other marine oils in terms of neuroprotection, Doctor Subbaiah, who was not involved in the research, told MNT that krill oil offers specific benefits, including the presence of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the existence of phospholipids and not triglycerides, as in seafood oil.

EPA and DHA have multiple benefits , including for immune function, cardiovascular function, plus neuroprotection. Phospholipids improve cells absorption and can cross the particular blood-brain barrier, whereas triglycerides cannot cross the blood-brain barrier.

One study found that pretreated krill oil can boost brain levels of EPA and DHA by 5-70 times more compared to untreated krill oil. Meanwhile, fish oil supplements, whether treated or not, has no effect upon brain amounts of EPA or DHA.

Dr . James Giordano , Pellegrino Center teacher of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center, who has been not involved in the study, also told MNT that phosphatidylcholine (a phospholipid in krill oil) “imparts both greater neuronal uptake, and direct membrane stabilizing effects within neuronal infrastructures. ”

“This combination of enhanced bioavailability plus membrane stabilization is important to promoting the anti-inflammatory, and anti-degenerative properties associated with many of the (omega-3) active ingredients found within krill essential oil. ”
— Dr. James Giordano

“Taken together, these types of properties are useful in order to maintaining neuronal structural and functional integrity and reducing age-related inflammatory changes (known as inflammaging), ” he added.

Krill oil’s benefits

Doctor Subbaiah mentioned that choline in krill oil is another benefit. Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and is thus crucial for multiple neurological functions, such as regulating memory space, mood, plus muscle control.

Lastly, Dr . Subbaiah said that the particular presence of antioxidants like astaxanthin furthermore makes krill oil advantageous. The potential advantages associated with astaxanthin include the following:

  • anticancer activity
  • antidiabetic effects
  • neuroprotective effects
  • advertising cardiovascular wellness
  • promoting ocular health
  • marketing skin health

Dr. Ali Mohebi , assistant researcher in neurology at the University of California San Francisco, who had been not active in the study, told MNT :

“These pieces associated with evidence suggest that while other marine oil compounds elevate various health markers such because blood pressure, cardio function, etc., krill oil can be specifically beneficial in slowing down the range of neurodegenerative processes within the human brain. ”

The researchers concluded that krill oil might promote healthy aging within multiple ways, which makes it a good candidate for further preclinical and clinical explorations.

Doctor Mohebi noted that neurodegenerative conditions such as PD or Alzheimer’s progress gradually and that symptoms are only expressed in the later stages associated with the problems. He observed, for example, that motor symptoms do not appear in PD until over 80% of DA neurons are usually dead.

“Any solution that would slow down the neurodegeneration process will significantly improve the quality of life of people more prone to developing such neurodegenerative disorders. The results of [this study] are promising as they suggest the dietary change that will potentially protect DE UMA neurons towards age-related deterioration, ” this individual noted.

He added, nevertheless, that these findings do not mean that the public should start taking krill oil in order to treat neurodegeneration.

Should I take krill oil?

“Until the results are replicated by several groups across multiple species and finally tested in the human population, these or even similar substances should not really be handled as medical knowledge. These basic science results inform future healthcare applications, plus changing personal diets should only take place after consulting with medical doctors. ”
— Doctor. Ali Mohebi

When asked about the particular study’s limitations, Dr . Jordan Taylor , neurology section chief along with the College of Michigan Health-West, who was not mixed up in study, informed MNT :

“While the findings are interesting, the study was completed with transgenic strains of C. elegans specifically created to produce elevated alpha-synuclein as a model associated with Parkinson’s disease. While this is generally a good design to study the degenerative results of alpha-synuclein the results may not translate practically into humans. ”

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar , a board certified neurologist within Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai, India, who had been also not included in the particular study, reiterated that animal models did not accurately reflect human being disease.

“For example, the worms in this study got genetic defects that caused their dopamine neurons to autodestruct. Krill oil guarded them from this genetic self-destruction. Very few cases of Parkinson’s illness in people have a strong genetic basis. For example , most patients with Parkinson’s condition don’t have additional relatives along with Parkinson’s disease, ” he or she explained.

“We still don’t know the cause of Parkinson’s disease in humans in all cases. Parkinson’s disease within humans may be secondary to many factors, like genetic, environmental, and lifestyle. Hence, the results of this study may be applicable— in the particular future—only in order to a subset of Parkinson’s disease patients, ” he continued.

Crossing the blood-brain hurdle

Doctor Subbaiah added that the particular main reason that will marine natural oils, including fish oil and algal essential oil, do not significantly enhance brain function is that they cannot cross the blood-brain barrier.

“The major reason that seafood oil, algal oil, ethyl esters, and other currently available supplements perform not improve brain function significantly is because of the blood-brain barrier, which requires the particular omega-3 in the form of phospholipids with regard to transport into the brain. ”
— Dr. Papasani Subbaiah

“It is important to note that even krill oil does not work well in whole animals because the omega-3 essential fatty acids in the krill oil are present in diacyl phospholipids, whereas the transporter in the blood-brain hurdle requires the particular monoacyl (lyso) phospholipids, ” Dr . Subbaiah said.

This individual added, however, that lysophospholipids could be generated by treating krill essential oil with a lipase. an enzyme that ‘digests’ fats.

“It is usually important not only to repeat these studies with pet models but also use other forms of omega-3 fatty acids as controls to show that the effects are specific for krill oil, ” he concluded.

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