End of krill wars is good news for entire omega-3s sector, Aker VP says
The end of the krill wars is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the omega-3 market, said Tim De Haas, of krill supplier Aker BioMarine. It’s good news not just for the krill oil suppliers themselves, but for the category as a whole.
The Omega-3 Index: A Useful Tool in an Evolving Market
Consumer engagement with this diagnostic tool could be an important next step for the omega-3 marketplace.
By Becky Wright, Aker BioMarine Antarctic
At an American Heart Association meeting in the early 2000s, Dr. Clemens Von Schacky and Dr. William Harris met to discuss a new Harvard paper showing a relationship between blood omega-3 levels and sudden cardiac death. The result of this meeting would impact the omega-3 world forever.
“As we discussed this new paper, it dawned on us that measuring omega-3 levels goes beyond just knowing how much fish you ate; it’s actually a ‘risk factor’ for coronary heart disease,” said Dr. Harris. “And having a certain level correlates with either reducing or increasing your risk for heart attack.”
In the years that followed this meeting, Drs. Von Schacky and Harris both established omega-3 testing companies—Dr. Harris in the U.S. and Dr. Von Schacky in Germany. The initial goal was simple: to develop a blood test doctors could use to measure patients’ omega-3 levels. The result was the HS Omega-3 Index Blood Test; and the timing was perfect, as the omega-3 market was growing considerably and so was consumer awareness.
A Numbers Game
Today, sales of omega-3 supplements exceed $1 billion and consumer awareness of omega-3s is at or above 90% in many countries. These numbers reflect a solid, established market, but also a maturing one. So as this market continues to develop and growth slows, how can companies bring new consumers into the omega-3 category? The Omega-3 Index could be the solution. Research—of all kinds—will also be crucial.
For example, late last year the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) commissioned market research firm Frost & Sullivan to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of a variety of nutritional ingredients, including omega-3 fatty acids. The report, “Smart Prevention—Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” examined four different chronic diseases and the potential for healthcare cost savings when U.S. adults 55 and older, diagnosed with these chronic diseases, used one of eight different dietary supplement regimens.
The analysis demonstrated that supplementation at preventive intake levels in high-risk populations could reduce the number of disease-associated medical events, representing the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in savings—and billions in some cases.
For omega-3 fatty acids in particular, the study showed that the potential avoided hospital utilization costs related to coronary heart disease through the full use of omega-3 supplements at preventive intake levels could be as much as $2.06 billion on average per year, with a cumulative savings of $16.46 billion from now through 2020.
Form = Function
Omega-3 fatty acids are among the most researched nutrients in the world (GOED, 2012). The problem with omega-3s, like most nutrient categories, is that they offer benefits that cannot always be felt. But they can be measured, which is where the Omega-3 Index comes in.
The Omega-3 Index is defined as the percentage of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in red blood cell (RBC) fatty acids (see Figure 1). While most omega-3s will raise the Omega-3 Index, how quickly and efficiently that happens depends on the source.
Calculating the Omega-3 Index
According to recent research, certain fatty acid sources preferentially raise the Omega-3 Index. In fact, two clinical studies featuring Superba krill phospholipid omega-3s increased total plasma EPA and DHA more than fish oil (on a per mg omega-3 fed basis) after both 4-week and 7-week supplementation periods (Nutrition Research, 2009; Lipids, 2011). Research also shows that higher levels of EPA and DHA in blood are linked to decreased risk of sudden cardiac death as well as other harmful cardiac events (NEJM, 2002). In fact, both in the steady-state and after omega-3 supplementation, the Omega-3 Index has been found to correlate directly with EPA and DHA levels in human cardiac tissue (Circulation, 2004; AM J Clin Nutr, 2007 & 2010).
In contrast to plasma fatty acid measurements, which respond to short-term omega-3 fatty acid intake, the Omega-3 Index is believed to mirror overall tissue EPA and DHA levels, and therefore a person’s health status. This is similar to hemoglobin A1c serving as a better marker of average glucose levels than plasma glucose. An Omega-3 Index of 8% or above is considered optimal (Current Cardiology Reports, 2010).
Since increases in EPA and DHA levels can reduce risk for sudden cardiac death, researchers have looked into whether 2 grams per day of krill oil could increase omega-3 RBC levels after 8 weeks of supplementation in healthy volunteers (unpublished data).
In this study, researchers compared the delivery form of omega-3 fatty acids—phospholipids (in krill) vs. triglycerides (in fish), on a per gram omega-3 fed basis—and found that phospholipid-bound omega-3s were better at raising the Omega-3 Index compared to triglyceride-bound omega-3s. More specifically, krill oil increased the Omega-3 Index by about 70% compared to fish oil at the end of study after dose adjustment between the two treatment groups (see Figure 2)
After Dose Adjustment, Krill Oil Increased the Omega-3 Index by 70% vs. Fish Oil
These results go hand in hand with a recent publication (Nutrition Research, February 2014), which investigated the effect of 12 weeks daily Superba krill intake in volunteers with “borderline high” or “high” blood triglyceride levels. A total of 300 volunteers were divided into five groups and supplemented with krill oil at either 0.5, 1, 2 or 4 grams per day or placebo (olive oil). The subjects included in the study had blood triglyceride values between 150 and 499 mg/dL. Blood lipids were measured at baseline, 6 weeks and 12 weeks of treatment.
Relative to subjects in the placebo group, those administered krill oil had a statistically significant 10% reduction in serum triglycerides. Moreover, LDL cholesterol levels were not increased in the krill oil groups relative to the placebo group, an important finding considering an increase in LDL cholesterol has been observed in some fish oil trials.
“It is remarkable that krill oil, providing on average less than 400 mg per day of EPA and DHA, produced a significant 10% reduction in serum triglyceride levels,” said Dr. Harris.
Equally important, study participants significantly increased their Omega-3 Index levels. This was especially evident in the krill oil group taking 4 grams per day, where the levels went from 3.7% to 6.3% (see Figure 3).
Krill Oil Supplementation Raised the Omega-3 Index as High as 70%
“It is interesting to point out that with the highest dose of krill oil, the Omega-3 Index increased by 70%,” said Dr. Von Schacky.
“Even with the lowest dose of 500 mg krill oil, there was a significant increase. Thus, this might have an impact on the risk of sudden cardiac death, which has been demonstrated in several studies during the latest decade.”
Know Your Number
Adam Ismail, executive director of the Global Organization for EPA & DHA Omega-3s (GOED), Salt Lake City, UT, believes the Omega-3 Index will continue to influence the market positively going forward. “We’ve heard and seen anecdotally that when people know what their Omega-3 Index is and they have a shortfall, they become extremely compliant. Simply just knowing your number will have an impact,” he said.
For now, Dr. Harris noted that at just one clinical lab in the U.S., close to 3,000 HS Omega-3 Index Tests are ordered every day. Although he believes it may take another several years before the Omega-3 Index becomes a standard measure of cardiovascular health, the future looks very bright.
Engredea and the NEXT Innovation Summit, the Premier Annual Events for the Global Nutrition Industry, Wrap Up and Reveal Top Ten Ingredient Trends Upcoming in Food and Beverage
IT Business Net-
Ingredients and Innovation Shape the Future of Product Development Across Food, Beverage, Dietary Supplements and Nutricosmetics
Engredea and the NEXT Innovation Summit, the ingredient and supply chains’ premier annual events, wrap up delivering innovative concepts, novel partnerships and an extensive international exhibitor and attendee showing. Engredea and the NEXT Innovation Summit were held at the Anaheim (CA) Convention Center last week co-located with Natural Products Expo West, and are produced by New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton.
“During this year’s show it was interesting to see what omega-3-centric companies like Aker BioMarine are doing on the sustainability front, as this seems to be a hot topic across the natural products industry,” said Becky Wright, Communications & Marketing Manager for Aker BioMarine Antarctic US. “Going forward, our goal is to make Aker BioMarine synonymous with krill education, with all of our initiatives designed to teach about the health benefits, sustainability and business advantages of omega-3s from krill. Engredea and Expo West offer us many formats to help get those points across.”
Here’s a White Paper on Krill Sustainability
Krill is not an easy animal to understand. Recent estimates put the global krill population at somewhere between 120 million and 600 million tons, and arguments persist over whether commercial krill fishing has any negative impact on krill and the animals that feed on these small crustaceans.
For all of the uncertainties, krill oil supplier Aker BioMarine (Oslo, Norway) wants to at least make the sustainability topic easier to follow. To that end, Aker just published a white paper on krill sustainability.
The krill white paper is authored by Stephen Nicol, PhD, adjunct professor at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies who has studied Antarctic marine life for more than 25 years. Inside this 10-page summary are descriptions of krill living habits, environmental changes that appear to affect krill populations and distribution, prevailing theories around survival of krill predators, and a simple overview of the history of krill fisheries and how they are regulated.
At the Natural Products Expo West trade show held in Anaheim this month, Aker spokespersons expressed pleasure with having a white paper that gives customers and other interested parties a simple starting point for learning about krill sustainability efforts.
White Paper Takes a 'Look Below the Surface' of Krill Fishery
Omega-3s are some of the most sought after nutritional ingredients in the world, but some consumers are becoming more concerned about marine-based options due to misconceptions surrounding sustainability. In particular, Antarctic krill fishery has been under considerable scrutiny during the last several years.
In an effort to address those concerns with facts and to help better tell the story behind the Antarctic krill fishery, Stephen Nicol, PhD, a respected scientific expert on Antarctic krill, has authored a new white paper, “A Look Below the Surface: Antarctic Krill Sustainability.” Dr. Nicol sums up decades of research, providing the reader with deeper insight into the krill fishery and its management.
Underwritten by Aker BioMarine, an integrated biotechnology company dedicated to the sustainable harvest of krill and development of krill-derived biotech products, “A Look Below the Surface: Antarctic Krill Sustainability” candidly addresses such topics as what is known about the health of krill, controversies on the size of the krill population and the level of catch limits, warming ocean waters, acidification, commercial harvesting and its impact on predator species, and more.
“This white paper lays out what we know about the Antarctic krill population, the development of this fishery and its management. I think it is important to provide this summary to clear up any confusion,” said Dr. Nicol. “In the end, I believe the Antarctic krill fishery should be held up as the global example of sustainable marine resource management. In fact, I believe it is one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world.”
A Look Below the Surface: Antarctic Krill Sustainability is available at: superbakrill.com/scientfic-papers
How Do You Speak Krill?
Krill is the fastest growing marine omega-3 source today, however, a knowledge gap exists regarding this highly sought after fatty acid alternative. As the omega-3 marketplace continues to expand, education is crucial in helping retailers properly stock store shelves to meet consumer demand. To that end, Aker BioMarine, an integrated biotechnology company dedicated to the sustainable harvest of krill and development of krill-derived biotech products, is hosting a special, invitation-only lunch to teach ExpoWest attendees How to Speak Krill.”
Chris Speed, MND, CEO at OmegaWellness and omega-3 expert, will discuss krill’s proven benefits, sustainability, traceability and purity and will focus on these key areas:
Krill’s Phospholipid Advantage: SuperbaKrill is rich in phospholipids, which carry omega-3s throughout the body, helping to keep the heart, brain and joints healthy.
Clean, Fresh & Stable–Naturally: Superba Krill is a clean source of marine omega-3 EPA and DHA, and the presence of astaxanthin helps keep these fatty acids naturally fresh and stable.
Aker Produces the ONLY MSC-Certified Krill Brand:Superba is the ONLY krill brand certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as being sustainable and 100% traceable from sea to shelf.
Although krill sales are growing in double-digits, many are still unaware of the varied reasons why it is an ideal omega-3 choice. “How to Speak Krill” was designed to fill this void with information that is impactful and substantiated.
“How to Speak Krill” will take place on Saturday, March 8 (11:30 am-1:30 pm), at the Anaheim Convention Center (Room 201D). To register for the luncheon, click here
The Changing Face of Omega-3s
Fish oil has long been the king of omega-3s, but the field is changing. Omega-3s show up in a wide variety of foods and supplements originating from both plants and animals. They come in three varieties (each of which have their own merits), are an essential part of the membrane of each cell in the body, and help correct or prevent a long list of conditions. And studies estimate that 99 percent of Americans are deficient.
Toothpick-sized shrimplike crustaceans that weigh 1/30th of an ounce on average, krill are found in all the world’s oceans. They are chock full of EPA and DHA and they also have a powerful antioxidant known as astaxanthin. Studies indicate that the omega-3s in krill oil are more bioavailable than those found in fish oil, and less likely to cause reflux. Recent studies show that krill oil is extremely effective in lowering inflammation markers, and improving blood sugar control and cholesterol markers.
Sustainability in the krill fishery has been raised as a concern, but most experts agree we are well short of a problem. Aker BioMarine and other krill harvesters are licensed to operate in Area 48 off the coast of Antarctica. They harvest only 1/3 of one percent of the krill in the area, to the tune of about 200,000 tons. Current regulations allow for harvesting 5.6 million tons, which would be nine percent of the krill biomass in the area. Conservation groups estimate that even a 5.6 million ton harvest would leave sufficient krill for population stability and would not adversely affect krill predators like whales, seals, fish and penguins.
Aker uses an “ecoharvesting” technique that allows unintentionally netted species to escape. Krill is processed on board the vessel to maintain freshness as krill is subject to spoilage if not processed quickly. Mercury contamination is also not an issue, making this a very good choice if you take animal-based supplements. Though still a tiny fraction of what the fish oil market is, krill is currently the fastest-growing omega-3 market segment. As always, look for a reputable brand–Twinlab is supplied by Aker and makes a very good product.
Just for the krill of it
“Omega-3″ is one of the hottest nutritional buzzwords and scores of omega-3 supplements are flooding the market. But with so many omega-3 supplements available, how can retailers determine which are best to recommend to their customers?
The answer can be found in “How to Speak Krill,” a pilot program being launched by Aker BioMarine, an Oslo, Norway-based integrated biotechnology company that produces the Superba Krill brand of supplements. According to Aker BioMarine officials, the program will give retailers the proper tools to help their customers make better decisions when choosing an omega-3 option.
The program is being led by Chris Speed, CEO of OmegaWellness, based in New York City. Speed is embarking on a natural tour to meet with natural food channel retailers to give seminars on omega-3s, particularly krill, and what sets Superba Krill apart from the others.
“While some omega-3 options are stagnant in terms of growth and others are declining, krill is growing in double-digits,” Speed says. “The world needs more long chain omega-3s, period, and I am thrilled to have the chance to help explain to retailers why krill is a great solution.”
According to Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager at Aker BioMarine, krill is one of the most environmentally friendly sources of omega-3s on the market. “Since nearly four out of 10 omega-3 users are looking for an alternative to fish oil, krill is a great option for retailers to significantly grow their omega-3 sales. Aker is the only supplier in the marine industry to embark on such a program and we hope the education materials we put forth will help retailers and consumers alike,” she says. How to Speak Krill will continue throughout 2014. For more information, visit superbakrill.com.
Bending Backward-Natural botanical and omega-3 ingredients mitigate pain and discomfort
Natural Products Insider-
The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone…
With 360 always moving joints, the human body has plenty of opportunity for pain and discomfort–just ask the 75 million American adults affected by arthritis and joint disease.
“There is every reason to be optimistic about growth in the joint health market,” said Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager, Aker BioMarine Antarctic US. “Taking a proactive approach to maintaining healthy joints at any age is crucial for living an active and healthy lifestyle. And with all of the holistic and natural options available, I’m confident this market will continue to grow nicely as analysts have predicted.”
Hands on Heart Health-Spotting the trends in cardiovascular support supplements
Whole Foods Magazine-
Diseases of the heart are still the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the latest preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cancer in all its forms remains a close second) (1). Due to this ongoing reality, cardiovascular health is of special concern to health-conscious individuals, especially those battling known risk factors.
As we focus in on heart health and the heart health supplements market specifically, it’s clear supplement makers are being influenced by a risk factor-centric approach to heart health. But, not all agree on which approach is best. We’ll also look at up-and-coming heart health ingredients alongside new evidence for already popular options.
In the heart health arena, many supplements are being pushed to the forefront by research showing benefits for everything from blood pressure to cholesterol to triglycerides, says Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager at Aker BioMarine Antarctic US, Issaquah, WA. She says the shift in emphasis from general heart health to more specific claims is necessary because it gives consumers more helpful information about their heart health concerns. It is also a way, she adds, for brands that have substantiated health benefits to differentiate themselves.
Aker given green light for krill supply in high-potential China market
Aker BioMarine, one of the world’s biggest of krill-derived omega-3 phospholipid products, has achieved New Food Raw Material status for Superba krill in China meaning it can now enter the potentially lucrative Chinese market.
Keep Calm and Supplement
Natural Products Insider-
Natural products for brain health are at the top of consumers’—and manufacturers’—minds. After all, nearly 80 million Baby Boomers are approaching old age, sounding the cognition alarm.
Declining brain health resonates with consumers of all ages because its deteriorating effects are all around them, hurting loved ones, friends and themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated more than 16 million American adults suffer from some form of cognitive impairment.
“Pharmaceuticals have demonstrated that they can only take treatment so far, particularly in the case of issues such as depression, anxiety, dementia and Alzheimer’s,” said Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager, Aker BioMarine Antarctic. Nutraceuticals—especially those with legitimate clinical trials—are the missing link, Wright explained. “It seems that nutraceutical ingredient companies are moving in to pick up where pharmaceutical companies are leaving off, supplementing important nutrients that are lacking and could provide some measureable form of improvement when it comes to brain support.”
Wright agreed, noting market innovations will likely focus on short-term outcomes that can be “felt” or measured. “Consumers gravitate toward this area when they are promised an immediate benefit like alertness.”
Krill oil shows heart health benefits in humans: Aker’s ‘exciting’ study
Daily supplements of krill oil may reduce triglyceride levels and boost heart health, says a new study with 300 people from Aker BioMarine Antarctic.
Could fish oil supply dip provide added opportunity for krill?
Uneven supply in the fish oil market has had an effect on store shelves, according to Royal DSM, one of the world’s biggest suppliers. Could that create a bigger opening for alternative sources such as krill? It’s too early to say for sure, but krill oil suppliers are optimistic.
Any increase in the price of fish oil may cause the consumer to have second thoughts about those products,” said Todd Norton, vice president of business development for krill oil supplier Aker BioMarine.
“We haven’t seen direct correlation of that yet, but as the pricing gets closer that might make someone say that krill oil is only that much more, I’ll try it.”
Norton noted that the krill oil supply is not as constrained as is that of fish oil. The actual harvest of krill is only a tiny fraction of that of fish, but the fleet operated by Aker and other krill harvesters isn’t anywhere close to hitting its quota limits as routinely happens off Peru. So the supply is potentially more stable, though Antarctica is an inherently more difficult and risky place to fish, Norton said.
The New Age of Marine Nutraceuticals
There’s more than water in the sea. Increasingly, scientists, nutritionists and consumers are finding that the oceans—long thought to be the spawning ground of life itself—also hold innumerable treasures that support health and well-being. Not least of these worthies are omega 3 fatty acids. Even the ancients recognized fish as “brain food.” Now there is extensive scientific evidence to uphold not only that premise but also their contributions to heart health, immune function, joint flexibility, eye health and, perhaps, added longevity.
In one study sponsored by Issaquah, WA-based Aker BioMarine, participants started out with an average Omega-3 Index of 2.0, a relatively low value. After eight weeks of daily supplementation with two grams of Aker’s Superba Krill, the average index went up to 4.5, an increase of 125%. In fact, an increase of 45% in the Omega-3 Index was seen after just two weeks.
“These observations show that the omega 3s from Superba Krill are taken up from the gut to the bloodstream and that EPA and DHA are incorporated into cells,” said Becky Wright, the company’s communications and marketing manager.
Aker also recently published a pilot study on krill powder in Lipids in Health and Disease. Currently under development, the new powder product provides phospholipid omega 3 fatty acids suitable for tablet applications.
In this study, 11 obese men underwent 24 weeks of treatment with Superba Krill powder. Then researchers assessed blood lipids and endocannabinoids (a class of lipid signaling molecules that are poorly regulated in obese subjects), as well as a variety of other parameters. Superba Krill powder reduced triglyceride levels by 21%. It also positively impacted three different endocannabinoids, including anandamide, which decreased 84% by the end of treatment. Researchers also noted a significant improvement in the waist/hip ratio and visceral fat/skeletal muscle mass of the study participants.
Neptune, Rimfrost end patent dispute, enter into krill oil supply agreement
The lengthy court battles in the krill sector took a new turn when the category’s newest entrant, Rimfrost, settled a patent dispute and entered into a supply agreement with Neptune Technologies and Bioressources, the company that first brought krill oil to market as a nutraceutical ingredient.
Sustainability Resources for a Thriving Segment
Virgo, Supply Side Omega-3 Insights-
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAo), a U.N. agency, reports more than half (53 percent) of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, while an additional 32 percent are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. Though omega-3 applications only account for 4 percent of marine-harvested fish, ingredient suppliers are dedicated to implementing sustainable sourcing practices—and to communicating these efforts with customers.
“The most important omega-3 ingredients on the market today rely on marine sources, so sustainability should be a prerequisite for any company operating a business in this space,” said Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager, Aker BioMarine Antarctic US. “At the same time, many consumers are demanding more and better standards in the development of the products they buy, with sustainability being one of the top factors in purchasing decisions.”
Aker doubles R&D team to take krill science beyond fish
Norwegian krill player Aker BioMarine has taken on eight scientists to drive nascent krill science forward and speed product development in the omega-3 category’s fastest growing sub-sector.
“This will help us follow through on some of the many commercial aspirations we have,” said chief operating officer Matts Johansen.
Keeping Up With Oils
Whole Foods Magazine-
With consumer demand at an all time high, it’s no wonder the marine oils market hasn’t stopped evolving.
he market for fish and other marine oils is a nutrition industry behemoth. It has even surpassed multivitamins in terms of the percentage of consumers that use them, at 72% for fish/marine oils to 65% for multivitamins, according to one survey from early 2013 (1). However, that same survey did not place marine oils among the fastest growing segments of the supplements market. This indicates a saturation point has been reached, or at least is rapidly approaching.
But, it has taken an ocean full of research and hard work by industry stakeholders to get this market saturated. It certainly figures to remain at this successful juncture, mostly because consumer awareness of the health benefits involved is very widespread.
The Omega 3 Market: Essentially Innovative
As Big Pharma gets in the game, will dietary supplement companies be swimming upstream?
Driven by years and reams of credible science, omega 3 fatty acids continue to draw intense interest among research and development teams as well as marketers looking to offer a “wow” factor through product innovation.
Growth overall has been spirited globally. Diana Cowland, health and wellness analyst for Euromonitor International, estimated the global omega 3 market in packaged format (i.e., supplements, food and drink) reached $33 billion in sales in 2012, 72% of which stemmed from milk formula alone. “Meanwhile, omega 3 interest in heart, brain and vision health shows no sign of slowing down as consumers continue to understand its benefits,” she noted. Omega 3 supplements, for example, were the third fastest-growing type of supplement globally between 2007 and 2012 with a 12% CAGR.
At Aker BioMarine, Ms. Wright said the supplier will soon launch a new krill powder suitable for tablet and capsule applications. “It opens up another avenue of delivery we did not have before,” she said. “Following that, we are hoping to bring a gummy application to market. The company’s flagship Superba Krill is a natural, clean and effective form of marine omega 3s that was “brought to market because we knew we could improve upon traditional offerings of marine and plant omega 3s by providing a source based on phospholipids. Because krill’s omega 3s are bound to phospholipids, these fatty acids are more efficiently delivered to key cells, tissues and organs throughout the body,” according to Ms. Wright.
Krill wars: hardball on the high seas
Hardball. There’s no other way to describe the tactics of krill pioneer Neptune Bioressources, which was the first company to exploit the Southern Ocean’s krill population for human nutrition and published the first three human clinicals on the tiny crustacean (for PMS, cholesterol, and arthritis) using its NKO brand.
Those studies were published between 2003 and 2007. Neptune parlayed those into a supply deal with market leader Schiff, whose MegaRed brand krill is the No. 1 krill supplement in the retail channel.
“It’s not that you can’t patent it per se, but it’s already been known in prior art – others have already discovered and recorded what Neptune says they’re patenting,” said Todd Norton, Aker’s VP of business development. “Clearly the pattern is that every time it’s been looked at by a patent office, all the claims have been rejected.”
Sampalis, on the other hand, takes a relatively sanguine view of the patent decisions to date. “This is not a decision or ruling. This is a non-final examination, only one step in the re-examination of patent process,” she said. “We feel we are very strong and that our patent lawyers feel that we’re going to win this.”
Barlean’s Wild & Whole Krill Oil Review & Giveaway (US)
I began supplementing my family’s diet with Omega Oil when my daughter was a baby and had severe respiratory issues. Her specialist and pediatrician recommended we give Hannah a high quality omega oil supplement daily and said that these essential fats would beneficial for the entire family. After much research, I quickly discovered that not all fish oil and omega oil supplements are created equal and it was quite a project to find a brand that I could feel confident about giving to my family.
Barlean’s Organic Oils has committed to providing the freshest, highest quality essential flax oils and fish oils. I recently became aware that Barlean’s newest offering is a Wild & Whole Krill Oil supplement created for maximum absorption. I have been reading a lot about the potential benefits of using Krill Oil so I was very excited to try this product. I was very interested to learn that Krill Oil naturally has an antioxidant known as Astaxanthin and it is full of bioavailable phospholipid Omega-3 fatty acids.
Consumers only accept sustainable krill, says newly certified Aker Aus
Aker BioMarine’s Australian operation can now carry the Marine Stewardship Council eco-label, something its head says is essential to compete in the eco-fixated market Down Under.
“When we first entered the krill fisheries a lot of Australian public were aware that krill occupied a place at the bottom of the food chain, so it’s the main diet for a lot of the marine animals in the Southern Ocean,” said Lalen Dogan, Aker’s managing director for Australasia.
Adam Ismail knows omegas do you?
Natural Foods Merchandiser-
The leading advocate for EPA and DHA helps answer some of the biggest questions your customers have about essential fatty acids.
What is Krill?
Krill are tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans that feed on algae (mostly in Antarctica), accumulating EPA and DHA in the process. Because the water there is among the cleanest on earth, and krill are at the bottom of the food chain, they are said to contain fewer toxins than fish. They also offer trace amounts of the eye-nurturing antioxidant astaxanthin and have a different molecular structure than fish oil supplements. Krill have a phospholipid structure, which is more similar to human cell membranes. Therefore, some marketers say phospholipid sources of DHA/EPA are absorbed more quickly. But there is not enough research yet to say for sure, notes Adam Ismail, executive director of GOED. Consumers also report that they can digest krill supplements better. “About half the people who use krill had previously taken fish oil and stopped because they had problems with fish burps,” Ismail says. “They don’t have those problems with krill oil.”
The Thrill of Krill
This alternative to fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fats
When you hear the term “omega-3,” you likely think of fish oil—for good reason, because fish oil is a concentrated source of these essential healthy fats. But oil derived from krill, tiny creatures eaten by whales, penguins, and seals, is gaining popularity as an alternative source of omega-3s.
Krill look somewhat like shrimp. They can be as long as your pinky or about the size of a paperclip, with an almost transparent, reddish appearance. Swarms of krill look like red clouds floating in the sea, and are large and dense enough to be visible from outer space. Although there are different species of krill in all our oceans, the most common type, Euphausia superba, is found only in the Antarctic, where the ocean is uncontaminated by toxins. And it is this type of krill that’s used to make most krill oil supplements.
Sustainable Krill Harvesting Given the growing popularity of krill oil supplements, is it likely that krill stocks could be depleted, endangering whales and other sea life that depend on these tiny creatures for food? In short, no. Krill is harvested in the Antarctic Ocean, where fishing quotas are set by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, established by international convention in 1982. The part of that ocean where fishing is permitted, called Area 48, is 1.2 times as big as the entire United States and Alaska. Area 48 contains over 60 million tons of krill. Annually, fishing is not allowed to exceed 9.35 percent of the total, but the total catch per year is much less— only 0.35 percent. Some product labels specify the GPS coordinates of the location where krill was caught so that it is traceable to its source. In addition, krill oil certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has been responsibly harvested, using fishing techniques that prevent other sea life from being trapped in nets, and this may be noted on product labels. For example, Superba Krill, which is available in different krill oil products, is MSC certified.”
Are you getting enough from your Omega-3s?
Healthy Moms Magazine-
Omega-3 from fish oil supplements have many health benefits. Fish oil contains two essential fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) andeicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These fatty acids are very important in preventing and managing heart disease.
According to research, taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement can help to lower blood pressure, reduce trigycerides, slow the development of plaque in the arteries, reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm and reduce the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke
Krill is an alternative omega-3 solution. 37% of consumers are looking for a new alternative to fish oil and other Omega-3 choices. Krill is considered the next generation of Omega-3’s. It is a healthy, pure and sustainable solution in the Omega-3 marketplace. Adults can add krill to their daily health regimen as capsules are easy to swallow and digest and only one capsule is required daily, making it much easier to fit into busy lifestyles. Krill is also naturally rich in Astaxanthin- one of nature’s strongest super-antioxidants.
Sustainability & Social Responsibility: A “Natural” Fit
Nutrition Industry Executive-
Whether sourcing from land or sea, the natural products industry takes its commitment to sustainability practices and its fellow man to new levels. Here, a sampling of companies explains their efforts, which are an undeniable selling point for partnership.
Washington-based Aker BioMarine Antarctic US takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously, especially since its main product, Superba™ Krill, is derived from an abundant but vital species in the Antarctic food chain, according to Becky Wright, the company’s communications and marketing manager. Working with many partners, including the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-Norway) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the company has pre-emptively addressed sustainability concerns to keep the krill fishery moving in the right direction.
“In fact, Aker BioMarine is the only krill harvesting company that is certified by MSC, which means Superba is not only sustainable, but also 100 percent traceable from sea to shelf.” Additional steps for full-scale environmental sustainability include Aker partnering with researchers to measure the krill fishery’s broader environmental impact. “Krill is actually one of the largest underexploited stocks in the oceans; the actual current catch in the Southern Ocean is less than 250,000 tons per year—or 0.35 percent of the biomass,” Wright explained. “These catch limits are strictly controlled by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and are regularly reassessed and updated if necessary.”
Aker BioMarine actively collaborates with environmental organizations like WWF-Norway and CCAMLR to adopt and promote new standards for operations where the health of the environment is foremost. Further, the company invented a unique, patented technology, Eco-Harvesting™, that catches krill in an environmentally responsible way, minimizing waste. This technology also successfully prevents by-catches of birds, marine mammals and fish. “Using a specially designed trawl system and direct hose connection between the trawl and the vessel, this technology holds a special mechanism that singles out unwanted by-catch (non-krill species) and releases it unharmed,” Wright said, adding that this gentle harvesting method also restricts environmental impact and prevents the krill from enzymatic degradation, “allowing for greater preservation of all key nutrients in the end products.” With its fishing operations conducted with full transparency, stakeholders have confidence that the business is well managed and any effects of the fishery on the environment are documented. “Aker has invested hundreds of millions to create an appropriate infrastructure for the sustainable harvest of krill, regularly contributes to scientific research and continues to share best practices with the industry as a whole to ensure sustainability for all parties,” Wright said.
The Krill Fishery’s Pre-emptive Approach to Sustainability
Supply Side Insights-
As the exploitation of natural resources continues at a frenetic pace across the globe, sustainability has become more than just a trend—it has become both a moral and economic imperative.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was recently quoted in an NPR article, stating “big businesses” have an obligation to change the way consumers view them. One of the ways they can do this is by establishing and adhering to sustainability standards—and the keyword here is “adhering,” because what’s the point of creating such a program if you aren’t going to stick to it? (You know who you are, greenwashers.)
Nix the 6 and Eat More 3!
Whole Foods Magazine-
Compared to today, our ancestors’ diet contained nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. This is because foods that contained omega-6s were not as plentiful, and they naturally consumed higher levels of all omega-3s, including plant-based alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and marine-based eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (1-3)
Given the ubiquity of high omega-6 cooking oils and grains, and a tendency to raise cattle and poultry on high omega-6 feed, most foods in the US diet are heavy in this fatty acid. In fact, soybean oil has contributed more omega-6 than any other food due to its 1000-fold increase in consumption during the past century . Today, omega-6 fatty acids constitute about 9% of all the calories in the U.S. diet, but during evolution they contributed only 1% (4-5).
Sustainability and Ingredients
Sustainability is a core value of many businesses, especially when it comes to ingredients. Ingredients Insight asked a panel of industry leaders to focus on some of the key market communication conditions for sustainable ingredients as well as identifying the particular sectors where sustainable foods are especially important.
“In the future, sustainability for all businesses will become the rule rather than the exception.” Todd Norton, vice-president of business development, Aker BioMarine
What are the current market communication conditions for sustainable ingredients?
The impending scarcity of natural resources is driving many sustainability efforts, and consumer demand for eco-friendly and sustainable products is also rising. In the future, sustainability for all businesses will become the rule rather than the exception.
In the case of marine-sourced nutritional ingredients, sustainability is fundamentally necessary to effectively manage how much of a species is being fishes and be certain that the health of the biomass is preserved. Today, many marine species are under pressure, and there are real concerns that some may be at risk.
Krill is an important part of the ecosystem. So Aker BioMarine know from day one that we needed to take every precaution possible to safeguard this resource. To that end, we have invested millions of dollars to build an infrastructure that factors in the critical importance of sustainability.
As part of our sustainability efforts, we have built solid relationships with entities such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-Norway). In coordination with these partners, we are doing our part to maintain the health of the krill population to ensure the future of the krill fishery.
We work with the WWF to sustainably manage the harvest of krill in the Antarctic. In the case of the MSC, we work with them to make sure our supply is traceable from sea to shelf. Our MSC certification is proof of our commitment to a completely transparent value chain.
USPTO sinks second Neptune krill patent
On May 14, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued an Action Closing Prosecution (ACP) in a reexamination requested by Aker BioMarine of patent number 8,030,348 (the ‘348 patent) assigned to Neptune and containing claims to phospholipid extracts from krill. Aker BioMarine believed the claims should never have been granted in the first place and thus filed for reexamination.
In a press release from Dec. 22, 2011, after the USPTO decision to grant Aker BioMarine’s request for re-examination of the ‘348 patent, which was the first patent to issue in Neptune’s US phospholipid patent family, Neptune’s President and CEO Henri Harland stated: “Neptune welcomes the opportunity to again vet the patentability of our claims before the USPTO as we are confident that the claims of the patent will be reconfirmed, notwithstanding Aker’s misleading characterization of the alleged prior art.”
USPTO rejects one of Neptune’s krill patents; appeal forthcoming
In the latest development in the nutraceutical world’s equivalent of the Wars of the Roses, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has ruled on a reexamination of a Neptune Bioressources and Technologies patent and hasrejected all of its 148 claims. The patent ruling, which can be appealed by Neptune, came as a result of a request by Neptune’s competitor, Aker BioMarine, to the USPTO to have the patent re-examined. Aker has long maintained that the patent was overbroad and was granted without a sufficient consideration of prior art.
“We expect at that at the end of the day, all of the other patents will be canceled,” Matts Johansen, chief operation officer of Aker told NutraIngredients-USA at the VitaFoods trade show in Geneva. “We are going to fight this until the end.”
Survey: Consumers Want Omega-3 Alternatives
Natural Products Insider-
A new survey indicates that omega-3 supplement users want more alternatives to existing sources, according to Aker BioMarine.
The survey by Discovery Research Group indicated 55 percent of supplement users in France want new alternatives to current omega-3 forms, along with 66 percent in Germany and 47 percent in the United Kingdom.
Matts Johansen, COO, Aker BioMarine, said his company wanted to pinpoint why the U.S. market for krill supplements grew so dramatically during the last three years. By conducting the survey, Aker BioMarine was able to better understand the consumer behavior.
Johansen added, “It seems to be the much improved user experience of smaller, easier-to-swallow capsules and digestive comfort that resonate most with consumers in the United States. Now we see similar sentiments in Europe.”
Getting a Head Start
Whole Foods Magazine-
A report on the nutritional building blocks for memory and mood support.
What’s going on in that head of yours? A lot! Neurons are firing, blood is pulsing, hormones are being secreted and other players in the symphony of brain activity are working in harmony. But this accord can be disrupted, sometimes by aging, diet, genetic makeup or other factors. In the end, one’s memory and mood could suffer. Luckily, a smart nutritional regimen can support brain health today and many years down the road.
But according to Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager at Aker BioMarine Antarctic US, Issaquah, WA, the choice of omega is also key to brain health. She believes that phosphoplipid-bound omega-3s (such as that found in krill oil) are better recognized and utilized by the body. “Studies have demonstrated preferential uptake of phospholipid omega-3s in brain tissue,” she states. “The proposed mechanism is the presence of carriers that preferentially bind to and carry omega-3s into the brain; thus, phospholipids have been suggested as a superior source of omega-3s for brain tissue.”
Wright points to a new small animal study on a branded krill oil (Superba) from her company. After seven weeks, the krill oil helped improve learning and working memory and had antidepressant-like effects.
New Generation Omega-3 Sources Deliver on Proven Nutrition and Sustainability
Whole Foods Magazine-
The nutraceutical industry continues to dance to the important beat of a class of essential dietary fats known as omega-3 fatty acids. Fueled by consensus among global experts that omega-3 deficiency is one of the biggest health challenges to the future of humanity (1), the fish oil and flax oil markets have grown considerably during the last decade. Given the increasing pressure on these traditional sources, however, new sources of omega-3s like algae and krill are emerging as alternatives. These new options are allowing omega-3s to extend their presence into the marketplace through supplements, fortified food and beverages as well as pharmaceuticals.
10 to Bet on in 2013
Top ingredients in the natural channel-Krill Oil
Krill’s share of the omega-3 market is still small—but no other source is growing market share as quickly. “While traditional sources of omega-3s limp along at 5%-6% growth, krill is growing in the high double digits. It grew 43% last year in the natural channel and 70% in the food/drug/mass channel,” says Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager, Aker BioMarine Antartic US (Issaquah, WA).
Although krill still comes in at only about 6%-8% consumer awareness compared to omega-3s overall, says Wright, prominent launches are helping. Schiff Nutrition’s MegaRed is working it in the mass market, and in the natural channel, omega-3 brand Barlean’s is just now coming to market with its new Wild & Whole Krill Oil with Aker’s Superba ingredient.
Omega-3 Firms Angle For Sustainability With Supply Under Pressure
The Tan Sheet-
Long-term supply constraints on ocean-derived ingredients likely will continue spiking fish oil prices, despite the industry’s efforts to ensure sustainable sources, and already are driving firms to diversify into multiple omega-3 ingredient platforms.
Diversifying Sources by Acquisition
Aker BioMarine ASA owns 50% of omega-3 fish oil supplier Epax AS, in addition to manufacturing its own omega-3 ingredients from Antarctic krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean (“EPAX changes hands again”- “The Tan Sheet,” Sept 6, 2010).
Oslo, Norway-based Aker touts the formulation and health benefits of its Superba krill oil, used in Schiff Nutrition International Inc.’s MegaRed supplement, the top-selling omega-3 stock-keeping unit in the food, drug and mass-market channel. The growth potential for MegaRed was one factor that attracted Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC in its recent acquisition of Schiff (“Reckitt Deals Feed OTC Domination Plan”-“ The Tan Sheet,” Feb. 18, 2013)
Aker brings in between 50% and 60% of the total krill catch and plays up the fishery’s sustainability. The krill catch is overseen by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, a consortium of 25 nations that manages commercial activity in the Antarctic Ocean.
Krill oil may benefit brain health, ease depression symptoms: Animal data
Daily consumption of krill oil may boost learning and working memory in lab animals, and display antidepressant-like effects, according to a new study from Aker BioMarine.
Lab rats who received daily krill oil supplements (Superba krill oil, Aker) performed better in cognitive tests, compared to control animals, according to findings published in Lipids in Health and Disease.
Sustainable Omega-3 Manufacturing
Natural Products Insider-
According to a poll of INSIDER readers, the second highest factor that plays when supplement brand owners choose an ingredient or supplier was “sustainability of supply chain,” with 47 percent (n=104) placing it at “very important” and 23 percent (n=50) above-average. (“Scientific substantiation” was the most important factor.) Almost all (96 percent) of all respondents perceived at least some level of consumer concern about sustainability, with 26 percent “minimally concerned” and 45 percent “somewhat concerned.” Most of the 25 percent of respondents who perceived high consumer concern with sustainability indicated it has resulted in making adjustments to their companies’ product development and purchasing decisions.
Eric Anderson, who was vice president of global marketing at Aker BioMarine Antarctic US at press time, also noted increasing consumer demand will soon outpace the supply of fish, “which makes it even more critical to identify other sources that can play a role in the omega-3 market. This is why you see large agricultural companies trying to engineer omega-3 plants and algae.” Anderson added krill, which his company supplies, is also a solution to this problem.
Anderson said krill is a sustainable source of omega-3s, plus the company cooperates with numerous environmental organizations to ensure the natural resource remains healthy. “Entities such as WWF [World Wildlife Fund]-Norway, MSC [Marine Stewardship Council] and CCAMLR [the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources] help us keep environmental aspects at the forefront of all our operations,” he said.
Neptune's European patent on krill oil revoked
The European Patent Office has revoked one of the patents held by krill oil supplier Neptune Technologies & Bioressources. As has become de rigueur in the IP battle among krill companies, the various players disagree about what the action means.
We feel like the right decision was made,” said Todd Norton, vice president of business development for Aker BioMarine. “We’ve got facts. We’ve got documents to support our claims for invalidity. When an unbiased expert has a chance to look at that and can look at the entire context of things, it seems to be pretty straightforward.
“There are issues still in play that we continue to work through for the good of the category and for the good of consumers,” Norton said.
The Power of Phospholipid Omega-3s
Krill phospholipid omega-3s are better recognized and utilized by the body, which translates to smaller pills and no digestive upset.
Sustainability has been at the core of Aker BioMarine’s business since its inception. From its cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Norway) to its certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to its collaboration CCAMLR, Aker continues to do its part to ensure the future of the company as well as the krill fishery at large. Aker’s relationship with these partners keeps its operations at the forefront of environmentally sound and sustainable performance.
Aker BioMarine Antarctic is the only krill-harvesting company certified by MSC, an international nonprofit organization with an independent certifying body and a public assessment process. MSC focuses on the health of ocean stocks and how they are managed, in addition to assessing the effect of the fishery on the wider ecosystem, which includes a range of marine mammals, birds, and fish.
As a result of MSC certification, Aker’s products can carry the MSC eco-label, providing consumers with a guarantee of sustainability, effective fisheries management, and full traceability from sea to shelf. In order to maintain MSC Certification, Aker undergoes annual auditing during which it must maintain certain benchmarks and conditions.
The Next Generation of Joint Health Solutions
Research remains a critical component of this condition-specific market, which is evolving to include advanced formulas that appeal to new consumers.
Consumers in the U.S. spend approximately $128 billion on arthritis-related healthcare costs every year, according to the Arthritis Foundation, Atlanta, GA, a non-profit group that has contributed more than $450 million to arthritis research since 1948.
Omegas & Inflammation
Indeed, the joint health market is alive and well, according to Aker BioMarine’s Ms. Wright. “Millions of consumers continue to be stricken with joint ailments and supplements provide a first line of defense in staving off major issues down the road.” Consumers also continue to turn away from drugs due to serious side effects. “Phospholipid omega 3s such as those found in krill are instrumental in modulating inflammation and thereby reducing the pain and discomfort associated with joint ailments,” Ms. Wright said. “Omega 3s are thought to play a role in supporting the integrity of articular cartilage and, hence, joint comfort. Dietary omega 3s also have the ability to modulate certain chemical reactions in joints. Scientifically speaking, the presence of omega 3s in cell membrane phospholipids shifts the production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins away from the undesirable series 2 prostaglandins and toward the beneficial series 1 prostaglandins.” Ms. Wright went on to say that phospholipid omega 3s from krill are “more bio-efficient, delivering 60% more omega 3s to the cells and tissues that need them most.”
Catching the Waves
Natural Products Insider-
Omega-3s’ popularity is higher than ever, but pharmaceuticals, sustainability and formulation have the potential to disturb calm waters.
Eric Anderson, vice president of global marketing, Aker BioMarine Antarctic US, also noted increasing consumer demand will soon outpace the supply of fish, which makes it even more critical to identify other sources that can play a role in the omega-3 market. This is why you see large agricultural companies trying to engineer omega-3 plants and algae.” Anderson added krill, which his company supplies, is also a solution to this problem.
Anderson said krill is a sustainable source of omega-3s, plus the company cooperates with numerous environmental organizations to ensure the natural resource remains healthy. “Entities such as WWF (World Wildlife Fund)-Norway, MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and CCAMLR (the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) help us keep environmental aspects at the forefront of all our operations,” he said.
Krill Oil: An Omega-3 Powerhouse
Natural Solutions Magazine-
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to decrease triglyceride levels and blood pressure, reduce inflammatory markers, improve endothelial function, and prevent blood from clotting too easily. Fish oil has been the standard bearer for some time, but krill oil has recently become available and it merits serious consideration as it has a few advantages over fish oil. First, krill oil is much more easily digestible (or bioavailable) as it is water soluble to a greater degree than standard fish oil. Secondly, krill oil has a phospholipid outer layer. This is important because to do any good in your body, the omega-3s must be able to get inside the cells; the cell wall is made of phospholipids, so the krill oil is already in the proper form to gain admittance with no conversion required. Thirdly, the astaxanthin in krill oil (responsible for the natural red color) protects the omega-3s from oxidation. Michael Eades, MD, writes, “The antioxidant potency of krill oil such that when compared to fish oil in terms of ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) values, it was found to be 48 times more potent than fish oil.”
7 reasons why you need krill in your diet
In order to keep your heart healthy, nutrition experts have been recommending krill – a new generation of omega-3s based on phospholipids. Christopher Speed, communications director for Omega Wellness, discusses the seven reasons everyone needs krill for heart health, proper brain function and much more.
Sustainable Business: The Only Way Forward
Responsible practices that preserve the health of ecosystems will win consumers and ensure long-term market viability.
For many consumers, sustainability is more than a buzzword; it’s a guiding life principle that steers purchasing decisions, which people base on perceptions of a brand’s or company’s impact on the environment. And for many businesses, sustainability has become an economic, as well as moral imperative.
According to the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), Harleysville, PA, Generation Y consumers—born between the late 1980s and the 2000s—are increasingly concerned with the sustainability of the products they’re purchasing, suggesting this will be a long-lasting trend to consider. While Gen Y once had lukewarm engagement with the sustainability marketplace, as they advance in their careers and start families, they are buying more “green” goods.
Krill Case Study As an attractive, emerging segment of the omega 3 industry, krill represents a significant growth opportunity. As demand ramps up, what kind of pressure will be placed on this resource that is, experts say, vital to the health of its ecosystem? According to Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager, Aker BioMarine Antarctic US, Issaquah, WA, the krill fishery should actually be considered a good example of a “truly sustainable operation.”
So how healthy is the krill population? According to Ms. Wright, the krill biomass is the largest on Earth, at twice the weight of the human population. In the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Fishing Area 48 (where Aker harvests krill) the biomass is estimated to be around 60 million metric tons. “Currently, the precautionary catch limit for Area 48 is set at 5.6 million metric tons, which is around 1% of the total biomass. The trigger level is set at 620,000 metric tons (the trigger level is another precautionary limit). These limits were built in so the fishery couldn’t upset the balance in the ecosystem, or worse, drive the biomass toward dangerously low levels.”
Battle of the omega-3 forms: Triglycerides, ethyl esters, or phospholipids?
As the number of omega-3 sources in the market increases, including fish, krill, squid, algae, and plant, suppliers are increasingly using the omega-3 form to differentiate their products. But where does the science currently stand, which questions remain, and is cost a factor?
While human data is limited to the three papers, there is plenty of animal data to support the claim that krill oil is superior for omega-3 bioavailability, said Kjetil Berge, R&D Director at Aker BioMarine Antarctic AS.
Eric Anderson, Aker BioMarine US added: “We prefer to discuss bio-efficiency. Plasma EPA & DHA absorption is better than fish oil, but not dramatically so. The incorporation into cells, as measured by the Omega-3 index, is significantly superior.”
Krill Patent Battle Rages On
Natural Product Insider-
The tussle between krill oil supplement companies has hit a new gear, with a new report from Aker Biomarine on patent reexamination developments that appear to be going negatively for certain Neptune patent claims and with a new U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) patent infringement case from Neptune Technologies & Bioressources aimed at Aker and several other krill producers.
“Neptune is taking a very aggressive approach with the ITC case to block all the other krill competitors from the market,” said Eric Anderson, vice president of global marketing for Aker Biomarine, who noted the patent in this case is currently undergoing reexamination by USPTO.
Neptune was awarded the ‘351 patent in October 2012 as a continuation of its U.S. Patent No. 8,030,348 acquired about a year prior. Immediately following the awarding of each of these two patents, Neptune filed infringement lawsuits against Aker and other krill companies—Aker’s manufacturing partner Schiff Nutrition, Enzymotec and its distributor Azantis, and Mercola—and Aker filed a requests with USPTO for reexamination. USPTO agreed to reconsider the patent, and Aker and Schiff agreed with Neptune in February 2012 on a stay of the lawsuit until the patent office made its decision.
Anderson explained the patent awarding process is a closed loop system, in which third parties have no opportunity to respond until the patent is awarded. This is why Aker filed for reexamination immediately after the patents were given to Neptune. The requests were based on Aker’s contention the compositions in the two patents (phospholipid composition containing the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) are not novel inventions, and the patents are invalid. “Neptune built a patent portfolio, but in filing for the patent, they didn’t disclose all the existing art,” he said. “We have provided the patent office with additional info that should have been supplied [by Neptune] initially.”
Anderson noted the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked a previously awarded Neptune European patent (EP1417211B1) in late 2009, after a challenge from Aker and Enzymotec. The opposition centered on the notion the invention detailed in the patent was not repeatable; an independent lab preparing the patented invention could not detect the novel flavonoid cited in the patent.
Anderson stated Aker respects Neptune’s right to operate in the market, but Aker has feels it has a duty to challenge patents that aren’t valid. However, he said litigation is not necessary. “We don’t use acetone extraction,” he noted, referring to the process Neptune uses for its krill ingredients. “It is unfortunate there continues to be legal disputes, which creates unnecessary uncertainty and confusion in the market.”
Catching Krill: Aker BioMarine Increases Harvest
Nutraceutical Business & Technology Magazine-
For the second year in a row, the season’s total krill catch has declined … according to figures from the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), with Aker BioMarine Antarctic securing the largest share. Although healthy, the growth of the krill fishery is not as rampant as some pundits claim.
Matts Johansen, COO, Aker BioMarine, said: “It is very difficult to harvest krill and only those companies doing the right thing will succeed. This means funding significant research on the biomass and continuing to carefully track the catch and report back to
CCAMLR.” Aker BioMarine’s Eco-Harvesting and on-board processing technology results in the unique composition of Superba Krill, which provides full traceability from sea to shelf. Aker’s fisheries have also been granted Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, an exclusive distinction that no other krill fishery has earned.
Krill Phospholipids: The Next Generation of Omega-3s
Nutraceutical Business & Technology Magazine-
According to the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), awareness of omega-3s is nearly universal in most developed economies. Therefore, popularity and demand continue to increase rapidly. As a result, new sources of supply are proliferating, so proper education regarding the integrity of each source is imperative.
Although demand is a very positive thing for the omega-3 industry in general, it continues to put pressure on existing sources. The reality is, as GOED explains: “Demand will soon reach the limits of what can sustainably be reproduced from today’s primary sources.” One category perfectly positioned to take advantage of increasing demand and provide a long-term, sustainable solution to potential sourcing issues is krill.
A Healthy Omega-3 Source
What further separates krill from other omega-3 sources is its composition. Most of the omega-3s found in krill are bound to phospholipids (PLs), which play an integral role in all human cells, serving as building blocks of cell membranes. In contrast, other marine sources of omega-3s are bound to triglycerides (TGs), which, according to some studies, affect the bioavailability of these types of omega-3s.
For example, in one randomized, double-blind study, 76 overweight and obese men and women were divided into three groups and instructed to take one of the following: Superba Krill, fish oil or olive oil. They did this daily for a period of 4 weeks. A second study investigated if a lower dose of phospholipid EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids had equal bioavailability to triglyceride EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. In this study, 113 subjects were randomly divided into three groups and given Superba Krill, fish oil or a placebo for 7 weeks. In both studies, the supplementation of total EPA and DHA omega-3s was substantially lower in the krill groups than in the fish oil groups. And yet, in both cases, the results of the studies confirmed that smaller doses of krill PL omega-3s were as effective as higher doses of fish oil TG omega-3s in increasing omega-3 blood levels.
Matters of the Heart
Whole Foods Magazine-
The beat goes on for the heart health category in 2013 and beyond.
Resting on one’s laurels is rarely advisable, and in the case of heart health supplement makers, it’s not even feasible. That’s because there is always new science to uncover behind the supplements they sell, from the tried and true to the pioneering. Then again, maybe they should all just relax, since the most important cardiovascular-support nutrients basically sell themselves. They are just that important to consumer health. But that’s just the point, isn’t it? Manufacturers can’t be passive, because there is nothing more vital to customers than their cardiovascular wellbeing—to improve a product is, potentially, to improve the quality of many lives, and perhaps even extend them.
That’s why we’re going to help bring you up to date, with a look at the latest research and condition-specific heart health insights. In this context, cardiovascular health will refer not just to the heart, but to the consequences of vascular health on everything from energy levels to stroke risk.
Omega-3 fatty acids have yet to be mentioned, and we will learn more of their highly regarded place in heart health circles soon. But Becky Wright, communications and marketing manager for Aker BioMarine Antarctic US, Issaquah, WA, wants us to know specifically about the strides that have been made in understanding krill oil as a source of omega-3s. Krill is a source of naturally phospholipid-bound omega-3s, which Wright says makes them highly bio-available to humans: “In other words, krill omega-3s will get to the tissues and organs that need them most—the heart and surrounding arteries and tissues.”
The high bio-availability of krill supplements allows for smaller and fewer pills, which helps avoid digestive upset in consumers. By virtue of its commitment to substantiating krill’s health benefits, Wright says her company sponsors in vitro, in vivo and human clinical trials with phospholipid-bound EPA and DHA from krill oil.
Focus on krill
Natural Solutions Magazine-
The Whale Were Onto Something-Exploring Nature’s Perfect Protein
OK, so this one’s a little outside the box as far as superfoods go. Krill are toothpick-sized, shrimplike crustaceans found in all the world’s oceans: and they are plentiful. One species (Antartic krill) in just the Southern Ocean has a biomass of over 500 million tons, or about twice that of humans the world over, (Krill have the largest animal biomass on the planet.) Krill cannot be farmed, only caught in the wild. About 200,000 tons per year come out of the Scotia Sea around Antarctica. The world’s northern seas are estimated to also have 500 million tons: about 110,000 tons are harvested annually.
Battle of the Omega-3 Forms: Triglycerides, ethyl esters, or phospholipids
As the number of omega-3 sources in the market increases, including fish, krill, squid, algae, and plant, suppliers are increasingly using the omega-3 form to differentiate their products. But where does the science currently stand, which questions remain, and is cost a factor?
Krill Supplier Aker BioMarine has said that krill sales were up 43% in the natural channel last year, with krill now accounting for 12% of total omega-3 supplement sales in the mass market.
Nutrition Business Journal Announces Industry Award Recipients for 2012 Achievements
The nutrition industry’s most notable business leaders of 2012 have been named in Nutrition Business Journal’s (NBJ) annual Business Achievement Awards issue, published this month. Recipients of the NBJ Business Achievement Awards will be publically honored during the 16th annual NBJ Summit, July 23-26, at the St. Regis Hotel Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif.
The Investment in the Future award goes to Aker BioMarine for strategically investing more than $550 million to build out the krill supply chain in the Antarctic with a long-term focus on sustainable harvesting.
New book highlights benefits of krill omega-3s
Responding to an invitation from Springer Publishing, Aker BioMarine Antarctic has completed a comprehensive chapter on krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids for the book Omega-6/3 Fatty Acids, which is now available for purchase. The chapter, titled “Recent Findings on Cardiovascular and Mental Health Effects of Krill Oil and Omega-3 Phospholipids,” discusses the latest research and developments regarding phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids in relation to heart and brain health.
While the other chapters discuss the many health benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, the chapter on krill explains its value as a novel source of phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids. It also goes into great detail regarding the therapeutic benefits of krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids.
In particular, the book chapter explains how krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids balance the body’s omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. It also underlines the ability of krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids to affect gene expression profiles and endocannabinoid precursor availabilities. Through these means, omega-3 fatty acids from krill may lower triglyceride levels and reduce fat deposition in and around organs. It may also alleviate inflammatory states implicated in atherogenesis and subsequently increased cardiovascular risk.
Honoring the Industry Elite
Nutrition Business Journal-
Investment in the Future Award 2012: Aker BioMarine
Aker BioMarine, the Norway-based supplier of Superba krill, decided from day one that doing the right thing would yield results. Just over five years and $550 million later, the strategy is paying off . In addition to maintaining high double-digit growth and increasing market share in the burgeoning krill oil market, the relatively young company is also receiving its second NBJ award in as many years. This year Aker is being recognized for its investments in the future, including building …
Aker BioMarine wins NBJ 'Investing in the Future' award
Company has invested significantly in creating a controlled krill supply chain in the Antarctic, with a long-term focus on sustainable harvesting.
Nutrition Business Journal has recognized Aker BioMarine for its role in building the krill fishery infrastructure. For these efforts, the company has been given NBJ’s 2012 award for Investing in the Future.
Aker BioMarine has invested significantly in creating a controlled krill supply chain in the Antarctic, with a long-term focus on sustainable harvesting. Sustainability has been at the core of Aker BioMarine’s business since its inception. From its cooperation with World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF)-Norway to its certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to its collaboration with the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resource’s (CCAMLR), Aker continues to do its part to ensure the future of the company as well as the krill fishery at large.
USP's draft krill oil monograph could help bring consistency to sector
The recent announcement by USP of a proposed new standard for krill oil could help boost customer and consumer certainty about the ingredient, experts said.
The monograph, which has been in development for several years and has gone through at least one major revision, is now in the public comment phase on the Food Chemicals Codex forum. The revisions to the monograph take into account data submitted by sector stakeholders.
USP officials are unwilling to name the participants, but as there are only a few places at this particular table, it’s pretty obvious who they are. On the supply end, three companies have been in the game since well before the submission of the first draft of USP’s krill standard in 2010: Quebec-based Neptune, Israel-based Enzymotec and Norway-based Aker BioMarine, which also is the leading krill harvester. A fourth company has entered the field: In 2012, Olympic Seafood, another Norwegian fishing company like Aker, began harvesting krill and launched its Rimfrost krill oil brand.