New research with krill oil revealed its impact on athletes in the exercise recovery phase while research out of the U.K. demonstrated that a prebiotic can have a modulatory role in neuro-immuno processes as well as reversing anxiety induced by inflammation. Read on for more science-based news.
Krill Oil and Exercise Recovery
A new study published in PLoS One by Aker BioMarine showed Superba™ Krill oil’s impact on athletes in the exercise recovery phase (2015;10(9):e0139174). Participants were randomly assigned to either a placebo (n=19) or 2 g/d of krill oil (n=18) group for six weeks in order to investigate whether krill oil could strengthen the immune function of healthy male and female participants after a simulated cycling time trial. The time trial required participants to cycle as fast as possible, against a workload of 70 percent of VO2max, to expend a standardized amount of energy (normally just longer than one hour).
The results showed Superba Krill supplementation significantly increased the Omega-3 Index of the volunteers (i.e., the percentage of EPA and DHA in red blood cell fatty acids). The study further demonstrated a significant increase in the production of IL-2—a signaling molecule regulating the activity of immune cells—and the activity of natural killer (NK) cells in the recovery period after exercise.
Study coordinator Stuart Gray explained: "NK cells are the first line of defense, reacting quickly to threats such as bacteria and viruses to keep them under control until the antigen-specific immune system responds. Their activity can be decreased by up to 60 percent for several hours after extended exercise. Krill oil might therefore help to increase host protection after intense exercise."
The ability of krill oil to positively influence immune function shows that regular consumption of omega-3 phospholipids from krill oil might be an effective nutritional strategy to support athletes in the post-exercise recovery phase.
Prebiotics and Brain Inflammation, Anxiety
Clasado Biosciences Ltd., producers and suppliers of the second-generation prebiotic Bimuno® (B-GOS), a trans-galactooligosaccharide, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, announced the results of their latest pre-clinical study demonstrating a major role of the unique carbohydrate complex Bimuno against neuro-inflammation and anxiety.
This study, published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity demonstrated a prebiotic can have a modulatory role in neuro-immuno processes as well as reversing anxiety induced by inflammation (Oct. 26, 2015). It also showed the beneficial effects of Bimuno on brain health and emotions are also exerted via a combination of the immune system and a key receptor in the brain, a serotonin receptor. This provides further evidence of the link between the immune and central nervous systems (CNS) in the development of anxiety and other stress-related disorders. Previously, probiotics have demonstrated positive effects on the CNS, behavior and the immune system, but these effects had never been demonstrated with a prebiotic within a single study.
The agent promoting acute inflammation (LPS) in mice induced, as expected, sickness behavior with lower locomotor activity within the first six hours compared to the control group. Acute inflammation also induced anxiety 24 hours later, paralleled by significant increases in the brain, in pro-inflammatory cytokines and in a serotonin receptor. These receptors play a key role in the brain-gut axis, brain development and neuro-psychiatric disorders. Bimuno reduced post-inflammation anxiety 24 hours post-LPS injection while the brain inflammation observed in the control group was normalized in the Bimuno group. The effects of Bimuno were mediated by an action on the immune system and brain chemistry, via a reduction in the key pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1 beta release and by an impact on the serotonin receptor 5HT2A.
By linking behavioral and molecular approaches, this study provides strong new insights into the mechanism of action by which Bimuno works, namely through the immune system and through its effect on brain chemistry.
Krill Oil and Efficacy
After sharing its K-REAL® assay results, Enzymotec received an expert opinion from Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, regarding the quality of its K-REAL krill oil.
The assay tested various krill oils from different manufacturers for stability and quality within a model digestive system, which led Enzymotec to implement a new set of biological quality parameters for krill oil evaluation that are different from the quality parameters commonly used. Typically, the quality of krill oils is measured primarily by chemical parameters that are tested during shelf life. However, those parameters do not refer to the changes in krill oil's biological activity after consumption.
By using a simulation model for measuring the biochemical quality of the krill oil in the digestive system, Enzymotec established biological quality parameters for use in addition to the standard ones. Blumberg reviewed the results and confirmed the only krill oil that successfully meets these quality parameters is Enzymotec's K-Real krill oil.
"Utilizing a validated in vitro gastric model, K-REAL krill oil proved more resistant both to oxidation reactions and to degradation of its DHA and EPA content than the other krill oil samples tested," he said. “These results suggest that K-REAL presents a superior profile with regard to stability, safety and efficacy in contrast to the other tested commercial brands."
Vitamin K2-Fortified Yogurt and Heart Health
A new study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science shows vitamin K2 (as MenaQ7® from NattoPharma) can be absorbed through yogurt, making the nutrient available to an even larger population. To date, the effects of increased menaquinone intake on vascular health have been investigated using predominantly food supplements. Dairy products contain many essential nutrients and can serve as a good matrix for food fortification in order to support health.
In the study, 32 healthy men and 28 postmenopausal women with a mean age of 56 received either basic yogurt or MK7 in a yogurt drink (28 µg of MK-7/yogurt drink), which was also fortified with omega-3s, vitamin D and C, calcium and magnesium, twice daily for three months. Levels of circulating MK-7 were significantly increased from 0.28 to 1.94 ng/ml. In accordance, intake of the fortified yogurt drink improved vitamin K status. No effects were, however, seen on markers of inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and lipid metabolism. In summary, consumption of a yogurt drink fortified with low doses of among others MK-7 for 3 months significantly improved vitamin K status in a healthy population.