The recently built extraction capabilities of TripleNine in Esbjerg will allow the factory to produce not only clean fish oils, but also a new generation of fishmeal-derived polar lipids, the so-called phospholipids.
What are phospholipids and what is the difference between marine phospholipids and marine oils?
Phospholipids act as natural emulsifiers and as such facilitate and ease the digestion and absorption of fatty acids, cholesterol and other lipophilic nutrients. They also play a role in the transport of lipids from the gut into the various body compartments and between tissues and organs, as phospholipids are essential constituents of the circulating lipoproteins.
Phospholipids (PL) are the major constituents of all cell membranes and are vital to the normal function of every cell and organ. They maintain cell structure and function and have regulatory activities within the membranes and outside the cell. For instance, they serve as second messengers in cell signalling, an essential process in regulating cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, metabolism, nutrient uptake and ion transport.
Marine phospholipids have many benefits over fish oils, as they are much more resistant to oxidation (rancidity), have much higher contents of the physiologically important long-chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (LC-PUFA) EPA and DHA, provide these fatty acids with much better bio availability and have a much broader spectrum of health benefits for both animals and humans.
Compared with triglycerides (oils), marine phospholipids provide a highly synergistic approach to combining the positive effects of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids with excellent stability, perfect bio availability and a much wider range of health benefits.
The consumption of fish species for which there is a high consumer demand such as salmon, trout, sea bass and halibut is increasing. Due to the high demand and limited natural stocks, much effort is spent on developing cost effective aquaculture methods for farming such species. It has proved particularly problematic to secure a high survival rate of the hatched larvae of the farmed species.
The aquaculture industry’s main problem is the difficulty of supplying live prey organisms which provide nutritionally adequate feed for larvae. Larval fish in the wild environment consume a mixed population of phytoplankton prey organisms that provide balanced nutrition. However, collecting phytoplankton in sufficient quantities to meet the demand in aquaculture is not feasible. As an alternative, selected species of prey organisms, in particular Rotifers and Artemia species, are currently cultivated and used as live feed.
Generally however, such artificially cultivated prey, although they provide adequate amounts of protein and energy, have a lipid profile which does not adequately cover the requirements for certain nutrients, in particular DHA and EPA, which are essential for optimum survival, growth and development of larvae.
To provide prey organisms with such a composition of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is necessary to cultivate the organisms in the presence of enrichment compositions with high DHA contents, preferably in easily digestible, highly bio available form, such as marine phospholipids.
Consuming too much feed rich in saturated or omega-6 fatty acids (from vegetable oils) has been associated with the development of many degenerative diseases, including heart disease, joint problems, kidney failure, a weak immune system and poor reproduction rates.
Omega-3 LC-PUFAs are metabolised to beneficial prostaglandins with anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulating and vasodilatory effects. They are essential building blocks of brain and nerve cell membranes and important for proper visual acuity.
In the case of pets such as dogs and cats, feeding marine phospholipids to either pregnant or lactating mothers or young puppies after weaning will enhance the brain development and, increase the ability of puppies to learn and to pick up training methods.
At an older age, a deficiency of omega-3 LC-PUFA can produce hair loss, skin problems, liver and kidney degeneration and immune dysfunctions.
Supplementation with marine phospholipids will promote heart health, better joint mobility and movement and a brighter coat.
The supplementation trials with horses have also shown numerous benefits. Throughout exercise tests, the omega-3 fed animals had lower heart rates, improved endurance and higher top speed during racing.
Young piglets are very sensitive to infections and stress. Low survival rates are a common problem at industrial breeding stations.
Marine-derived fatty acids have been shown to improve the immune response of young piglets, so that they are better able to resist the challenges of bacterial endotoxins as well as stressful conditions.
The phospholipid form of omega-3 LC-PUFA is especially beneficial. The choline content in marine phospholipids (phosphatidylcholine) also helps increase survival rates and to increase weight gain.
Feeding chicken with marine phospholipids will create health effects similar to those described above, especially with regard to immune resistance, better weight gain and eggs rich in omega-3 LC-PUFAs, without any negative influence on the eggs’ taste.
The Danish scientists Bang and Dyerberg about 30 years ago discovered and described the health benefits of fish oils, based on the observation that Greenland Eskimos had much fewer cardiovascular problems despite their high calorie fatty food, which is extremely rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega-3 type.
It took quite a long time for these findings to find application in human nutrition. Numerous positive clinical trials and observational reports have today led to strong promotion of omega-3 products and consequently to a large number of fish oils and fish oil concentrates on the market in the form of supplements and increasingly also in functional foods.
The undisputed health benefits are extensive and range from the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure preventing sudden cardiac arrest, to improved brain performance. The treatment of psychological disorders such as depression, early Alzheimer symptoms and hyperactivity symptoms in children are just a few examples from a long list.
In general human food today is imbalanced with regard to the type of fatty acids consumed. Historically, the human genome is predisposed towards a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of approximately 4:1. However, the food in industrialised societies provides an approximate ratio of 15:1. This is due to the high content of vegetable oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids. In consequence, modern societies suffer from numerous degenerative diseases such as chronic inflammation, cardiovascular problems and a weak immune system as well as many allergy conditions.
Enrichment of daily feed and food with lipids rich in omega-3 fatty acids is an excellent and necessary strategy to improve the health of animals and humans and to prevent degenerative diseases. By far the best and most efficient way of helping to bring the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio back into balance is to base this nutritional programme on marine phospholipids.