With the pet industry continuously innovating, the search for new and innovative functional ingredients is on the rise. Therefore the role ingredient suppliers play in leading the research and development of their ingredients is important.
We at Aker BioMarine continue to make science happen, so we can understand the unique components of our krill ingredient even better and are able to back the efficacy of our product with science.
An often overlooked, but important component of our product is choline. Krill naturally contains an effective amount of choline, to be more precise the type of choline known as phosphatidylcholine.
But what is choline and what functions does this nutrient have?
What is Choline?
Choline is an essential nutrient for dogs that has an impact on healthy brain development, heart health, liver function, muscle function, as well as the nervous system. Like humans, dogs can produce choline; however, not enough to meet all their body’s requirements. A dietary supplement is vital to avoid choline deficiency.
Learn more about choline in the video below:
Our latest choline study
In 2018, a dog sled team of 20 Alaskan Huskies took part in a six-week trial to investigate if the inclusion of phosphatidylcholine from Antarctic krill can increase the concentration of choline and its metabolites in the plasma of sled dogs.
We conducted the study in collaboration with the dog sled champion and QRILL Pet Mushing Team member, Thomas Wærner. He won both of Europe's longest and toughest long-distance dog sled races, the Femund and Finnmark races in 2019. Twenty of his high-performing sled dogs were separated into two groups. The first group received 8% of a proprietary krill dietary supplement, whereas the second team of ten dogs received a control diet without krill.”
At the end of the six-week trial, the choline levels of the Alaskan Huskies, that were on a krill diet increased by 52 percent.
The results demonstrated a significant increase in choline and its metabolites in the group that received krill supplementation compared to the control group.
“This is especially interesting for dogs in a long-lasting race setting when a drop in plasma choline is expected as seen in humans. As choline is important for muscle function and nerve transmission, a decline might negatively affect the performance of these dogs, commented Lena Burri, our Director R&D Animal Health and Nutrition, who was highly involved in conducting the study.
She added: “Furthermore, the dogs were higher in betaine, a product of choline thought to promote muscle function in humans, and showed significantly reduced homocysteine, an amino acid known to have a negative effect on heart health.”
Is all choline the same?
In many commercially available dog foods, choline is often added as choline chloride or as betaine. In comparison, the choline found in krill is in form of phosphatidylcholine and is from a natural source. Previous studies have demonstrated that choline in the form of phospholipids is 12 times more efficient in raising blood choline concentrations compared to choline chloride.
Choline is an essential nutrient providing a wide range of health benefits for both pets and humans. These positive results encourage us to further research and study the unique components of krill, such as the positive effects of its omega-3s and choline.