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What Are Phospholipids And Why Are They Important For Pets?

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Known as “molecules of life”, phospholipids are natural, integral parts of both human and pet cells. Their role is to help maintain the strength, flexibility, and integrity of cells and cell membranes.

Without them, pets would suffer critical cellular dysfunction that would also trigger enormous consequences for their health.

And there’s more to phospholipids than being an integral part of cells, they are responsible for carrying long-chain omega-3s EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) into your pet's cell membranes. 

Now, these essential fatty acids in the form of EPA and DHA are more effectively incorporated into cell membranes when bound to phospholipids which is crucial to obtaining the health effects of omega-3s.


Once in place in the cell membranes, the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA can support the health of many vital organs, including the heart, kidney, liver, joints, brain, eyes, skin, and coat.

Read more: What are the most important omega-3 ingredients for pet food?


The importance of phospholipid omega-3s

Dogs and cats can’t produce these essential fatty acids by themselves, that’s why they need a specific diet to get enough of these essential nutrients and live a long and healthy life.

Antarctic krill is a superior source of marine omega-3s because its essential fatty acids EPA and DHA are bound to phospholipids. This means that pets can take full advantage of the health benefits associated with these essential omega-3 fatty acids.  

Marine omega-3s can improve the skin and coat of your pets, can reduce cardiovascular risk or ensures normal brain and vision development, among many other important health effects.

Read more: The health benefits of krill


Phospholipids vs triglycerides

There are also other marine sources of omega-3s, like fish oil, where these fatty acids are delivered in triglyceride form. Now, this type of omega-3 has been a long-term ingredient in pet food.

When pets have a diet based on triglyceride omega-3s (or fish oil), their body has to first convert these essential fatty acids into phospholipids before they can be incorporated into cell membranes. It has been shown that triglyceride omega-3s are also more likely to be used as energy or stored as fat. 

Difference Between Omega-3 Phospholipids and Triglyceride


All this means that a smaller amount of this type of omega-3s will actually reach the cell membranes and have an effect on the health of your pet. 

As phospholipid omega-3s are less available as energy, they are more efficiently incorporated into cell membranes where they can make a difference in your pet's life.

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


What are the studies saying

There are multiple studies showing the benefits of a diet based on phospholipid omega-3s for dogs and cats.

The difference between phospholipids and triglycerides has been investigated in a 6-week study done by Aker BioMarine. The study was done on 20 Alaskan Huskies, 10 of them receiving a daily diet based on EPA and DHA from krill meal, while the other ten received EPA and DHA from fish oil.

At the end of the study, there has been a 62% increase in the Omega-3 Index in the krill meal group, with the triglyceride fish oil group having only a 21% increase. This study shows that phospholipid omega-3s from krill are more effective in raising omega-3 levels in a dog’s body compared to triglyceride omega-3s from fish oil.

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


Tonje Elisabeth Dominguez, Director QRILL Speciality Animal Nutrition Products, explains how important are the right omega-3s for dogs.

QRILL Pet is a unique marine ingredient for pets

QRILL Pet PL NUTRI Plus is one of the super-premium krill ingredients you can find out there. Made only from whole Antarctic krill, this is a functional marine ingredient that is added to pet food, treats and supplements. In addition to phospholipid omega-3s, QRILL Pet is naturally rich in the essential nutrient choline, the antioxidant astaxanthin and highly palatable marine proteins. 

Here's a list of pet food, treats, and supplements with QRILL Pet products


How to speak KRILL Brochure CTA

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