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Understanding the Importance of Omega-3 Phospholipids for Pet Health

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As pet owners, pet food formulators, or supplement manufacturers, we want nothing more than to ensure the health and well-being of pets all over the world.

This often means exploring the intricacies of pet nutrition and uncovering the essential building blocks that contribute to their overall vitality.

A crucial component that deserves our attention is phospholipids. Phospholipids are often referred to as the "molecules of life" due to their integral role in both human and animal cell structures.

These unique lipid compounds are responsible for maintaining the strength, flexibility, and integrity of cell membranes – a function that is absolutely vital for pets' health and longevity. Without phospholipids, cats and dogs would suffer from critical cellular dysfunction, leading to various negative health implications.

However, the importance of phospholipids extends far beyond their structural role within cells. They also serve as the carriers for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). 


The power of phospholipid-bound marine omega-3s

Marine omega-3 fatty acids are known for their numerous health benefits in pets, from supporting cardiovascular function to promoting healthy skin and coat. However, how these essential nutrients are delivered can significantly impact their bioavailability and effectiveness.

When omega-3s are bound to phospholipids, as they are in marine-based sources like Antarctic krill, they are more efficiently incorporated into the cell membranes of our pets. This is because they are already in the right molecular form and thereby less available as energy compared to triglycerides (as found in fish oil). 

Omega-3 phospholipids are more effective

It has been shown that omega-3s in triglyceride form are more easily degraded and used as an energy source than omega-3s in phospholipid form. Hence, vital omega-3s bound to triglycerides will be lost before they can be re-built into a phospholipid and reach the cell membrane.

By having the chemical composition of a phospholipid, omega-3s can easily access the cell membrane and exert their beneficial effects on the heart, kidneys, liver, joints, brain, eyes, skin, and coat of our four-legged friends. This enhanced bioavailability leads to real improvements in pets' overall health and well-being.

Read more: How important are the right omega-3s in a pet's diet


The superiority of krill-derived omega-3 phospholipids

While fish oil has long been a staple in pet nutrition, the omega-3s it provides are predominantly in the triglyceride form. In contrast, Antarctic krill is a superior source of marine omega-3s because they are naturally bound to phospholipids.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the advantages of krill-derived phospholipid omega-3s over their triglyceride counterparts. One such study, conducted by Aker BioMarine, examined the effects of a krill meal-based diet versus a fish oil-based diet in a group of Alaskan Huskies.

The results were striking – the krill meal group experienced a 62% increase in their Omega-3 Index, while the fish oil group saw only a 21% increase over a 6-week trial period. This data highlights the enhanced bioavailability and efficiency of phospholipid-bound omega-3s.

Read more: New study determines which omega-3 source is most effective for pets


The various benefits of omega-3 phospholipids

Here are some of the key ways in which omega-3 phospholipids can support the overall health and vitality of pets:

  • Cardiovascular Support: The omega-3s bound to phospholipids can help maintain healthy heart function, blood pressure, and circulation in our pets.
  • Brain and Vision Development: Phospholipid-bound DHA is particularly important for the proper development and function of the brain and eyes in growing pets.
  • Joint and Mobility Support: The anti-inflammatory properties of phospholipid-bound omega-3s can help relieve joint discomfort and maintain joint health in our aging companions.
  • Skin and Coat Health: Phospholipid-bound omega-3s can nourish the skin and coat, promoting a shiny, healthy appearance and supporting the skin's natural barrier function.
  • Immune System Support: Omega-3 phospholipids, along with the antioxidants they often contain, can help bolster the immune system and protect against oxidative stress.

Read more: Krill health benefits for pets


Incorporating krill into pet diets

Given the multitude of benefits that omega-3 phospholipids offer, it's no surprise that pet food and supplement manufacturers are increasingly turning to ingredients rich in this molecular form to boost their products.

One such ingredient is our own QRILL Pet PL NUTRI Plus, a premium krill-derived product. QRILL Pet PL NUTRI Plus is made from whole Antarctic krill, ensuring that the phospholipid-bound omega-3s, as well as other essential nutrients like choline and the antioxidant astaxanthin, are preserved in their natural state.

This means that pets can experience the full range of health benefits that krill-derived phospholipids have to offer.


Incorporating QRILL Pet PL NUTRI Plus or other ingredients rich in omega-3 phospholipids into a pet's diet can help ensure that they are receiving the optimal nutrition they need to thrive. From supporting cellular health to promoting vibrant skin and coat, omega-3 phospholipids are truly the unsung heroes of pet health.

Read more: Pet food, treats, and supplements with QRILL Pet products



As we continue to deepen our understanding of pet nutrition, the critical role of omega-3 phospholipids becomes increasingly clear. These "molecules of life" are essential for maintaining the structural integrity of cells, as well as facilitating the efficient delivery of vital omega-3 fatty acids.

By choosing pet food and supplements that prioritize phospholipid-bound omega-3s, such as those derived from Antarctic krill, pet owners can give their furry companions the best chance at a long, healthy, and happy life.

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