New krill platform boosts bioavailability for non-omegas, too

For softgel delivery formats, the phospholipid oil is the thing.

Todd Runestad, Content Director,

May 19, 2023

3 Min Read
Antarctic krill.jpg

Back in the heyday of omega-3s about a decade ago, krill burst upon the scene as a fancy new source of omegas with a compelling story of radically boosting bioavailability. Krill has the omega-3s as well as choline bound to a phospholipid. That’s the exact form our bodies need to be uptaken by cells because our cells are made of a phospholipid bilayer.

Krill got kneecapped when Whole Foods Market took krill supplements off its shelves due to unfounded concerns about sustainability. It did not seem to matter to the retail giant that krill was certified by multiple agencies as being a sustainable fishery—the most-watched fishery in all the world, some asserted.

But the bioavailability story has remained.

Even leading fish oil brand Nordic Naturals introduced a fish oil concentrate that also was formulated with phospholipids as a means of engineering a krill oil supplement without the krill. That’s because it’s all about the phospholipids.

Leading krill oil supplier Aker BioMarine recently conducted a single dose, randomized, two-way cross-over clinical study that found combining phospholipids from krill with omega-3 (EPA-DHA) from fish oil led to 7x more absorption into the blood compared to omega-3 (EPA-DHA) from fish oil alone.

“Other types of omegas need to be transformed into phospholipids, they need to be broken down by the body, emulsified to be absorbed by bodies, then transformed to phospholipids to get into cell membrane to provide benefit in body,” said Cashtyn Lovan, marketing director, Americas for Aker BioMarine, which is based in Norway. “We created our PL+ platform that specifically helps with bioavailability.”

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The PL+ platform brings new innovation to the nutraceuticals industry. Because phospholipids are both water- and fat-soluble, they act as an emulsifier and can create micelles for a maximum surface area for improved absorption for low-solubility and low-permeable substances.

This can transform ingredient classes with notorious absorption challenges, like curcumin, coQ10, CBD, lutein and certain omega sources. Some of these substances can benefit by up to 25x.

“We take vitamins and supplements to support our overall health or compensate the lack of certain nutrients in our diet, but the absorption of some of these supplements is inconsistent, leading consumers to drop products because they are not seeing or feeling the key health benefits,” said Simon Seward, EVP for Human Health & Nutrition, Aker BioMarine. “By capitalizing on what we already know about krill and phospholipids and expanding our reach to new areas, we are helping to create endless opportunities within the nutra industry. In fact, with PL+, we are creating supplements with improved absorption, reduced formulation costs and enhanced product quality, key attributes needed to help our customers meet their consumer’s needs.” 

Related:Spotlight on formulating for women panel at SupplySide East 2023

For more information on krill oil’s phospholipid advantage, see the video above, which was recorded at SupplySide East 2023 in Secaucus, NJ, with Lovan and NPI content director Todd Runestad.

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director,, Natural Products Insider

Todd Runestad has been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. He is content director for and Natural Products Insider digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for, Delicious Living!, and Natural Foods Merchandiser. Former editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine and still covers raw material innovations and ingredient science.

Connect with me here on LinkedIn.


Todd writes about nutrition science news such as this story on mitochondrial nutrients, innovative ingredients such as this story about 12 trendy new ingredient launches from SupplySide West 2023, and is a judge for the NEXTY awards honoring innovation, integrity and inspiration in natural products including his specialty — dietary supplements. He extensively covered the rise and rise and rise and fall of cannabis hemp CBD. He helps produce in-person events at SupplySide West and SupplySide East trade shows and conferences, including the wildly popular Ingredient Idol game show, as well as Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East and the NBJ Summit. He was a board member for the Hemp Industries Association.

Education / Past Lives

In previous lives Todd was on the other side of nature from natural products — natural history — as managing editor at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He's sojourned to Burning Man and Mount Everest. He graduated many moons ago from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.


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