Phospholipids: The "Building Blocks of Life" that Distinguish Krill Oil as the Superior Source of Omega-3 for Brain Health and More1

Phospholipids are essential lipid-protein compounds made of two fatty acids attached to glycerol, phosphorus and an amine. "Dubbed 'life's building blocks,' they play a major role in human health," says Dr. Tina Sampalis, an oncology surgeon and Vice President of Research at Neptune Technologies & Bioresources, makers of Neptune Krill Oil™ (NKO), the first-ever krill oil capsule brought to market. "Phospholipids are the basic constituents of the cell membrane, a microscopic barrier surrounding each of your body's cells. They are also a source of choline (phosphatidylcholine or PC), which is a highly important molecule that composes the neurotransmitter acerylcholine. This is what makes phospholipids so important for your brain and nervous system," she says.

Phospholipids are so important that doctors call them essential phospholipids or EPs. Simply, life could not exist without them. They regulate many metabolic processes and enable the body's 100 trillion cells to receive biological messengers in order to function properly. They're abundant when we're young, but over time they are weakened and harmed by disease, allergens, toxins, environmental pollution and free radicals while at the same time, the aging process slows their production. The result is defective cells which lead to a wide range of health problems; and an ever-dwindling supply of EPs, especially the all-important phosphatidylcholine (PC) form. But the good news is, we can strengthen and replenish our EPs through diet and supplementation with phospholipids and antioxidants.

Sources of Essential Phospholipids

Until recently, the foods known to contain the highest concentrations of EPs were egg yolks, beef liver, cow brain and soy. Yet EPs in any significant quantity were pretty hard to get. For instance, to get a single daily dose, you'd have to distill about 33 pounds of soy. But wait! In a minute you'll see that krill oil has changed all that. First it helps to understand just a tiny a bit more about phospholipids.

There are two types of EPs: phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylcholine (PC). The latter, also known as lecithin, is the most plentiful, especially in the human brain. And choline, which is available as an over-the-counter supplement, is a chemical involved with memory and it is naturally found in the brain.

Also in the brain, one of the lipids attached to phospholipids is DHA, an omega 3 essential fatty acid that is also critical to life. Fish oil supports brain health because it's a source of DHA. But it's not a source of phospholipids. That's because its omega-3s are attached to triglycerides instead of phospholipids. The body must convert these omega-3s to phospholipid form before the cells will accept them. Thus, only about 2/3rds of the fish oil's omega-3s are bioavailable (absorbed by your cells). So here's where you want to sit up and take notice.

While the above sources support several parts of the body including the brain, "their fatty acid profiles are not optimized for the human brain," says Dr. Sampalis. But krill oil is. And that's one of the most amazing things about it.

Phospholipids, Choline and Omega-3s, All from a Single Source. "Exactly what is Needed for Peak Brain Performance."

Phospholipids happen to be the major component of Antarctic krill oil, making it "far from just another source of omega-3," says Dr. Sampalis. The krill, and only the krill, contains omega-3s in phospholipid form! Because the phospholipids in krill oil contain omega-3 EPA and DHA and choline, this is "exactly what is needed for peak brain performance," she says.

The EPs in krill oil mimic the way these nutrients occur naturally in your cell membranes. Since the phospholipid content is already in the form the body needs, it easily penetrates your cells. This is one reason why Antarctic krill oil is 95-99% bioavailable vs. only about 65% for high quality fish oil. Thus, krill oil is much more effective than fish oil and can be taken in smaller doses.

Brain Conditions Supported by Omega-3 Phospholipids Found in Krill Oil1

Clinical studies using both krill oil and fish oil have shown significant results in the above areas for enhanced memory, cognition, behavior, stress/anxiety reduction and sense of well being. As you read this, larger studies may also be underway on these and also on patients with Parkinson's disease and early-stage Alzheimer's disease. In particular, omega-3s are thought to reduce build-up in the brain of beta-amyloid, a protein that may underlie Alzheimer's. However, a limited study with fish-oil-sourced omega 3 seemed to benefit different people differently, depending on the genes they inherited.

Krill Oil: "Nature's Perfect Recipe"

Phospholipid-rich omega 3 is not the only ingredient that makes krill oil what Dr. Sampalis calls "Nature's perfect recipe" for overall good health. Look around this site and you're sure to agree that you and everyone you care about should never be without the amazing whole food goodness of krill oil, as it benefits so many parts of the body!1

1Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Precautions: If you are pregnant, nursing, allergic to fish or shellfish, have a blood coagulation condition, are taking anticoagulants such as warfarin, or are currently under a physician's care for a health condition, please consult a healthcare professional prior to use.

NKO™ is a trademark of its manufacturer, Neptune Technologies and Bioresources, Inc.