Unlike fish oil, krill oil comes in phospholipid form. Phospholipids dissolve easily in both fat and water, which helps with their digestibility.
Phospholipids also go directly to the cell membranes. In fact, every cell membrane in the human body is made from the phospholipid form of fat.
Most fish oil comes in fat-soluble “triglyceride form” — essentially three parallel strings of fats (EPA, DHA, and sometimes other fats like Omega 6) strung together along a molecular backbone.
Krill oil is different. It comes in “phospholipid form.” That means that it made up of a water-soluble backbone linked to two strings of fatty acids on one side and a package of other health-promoting compounds, including brain-boosting choline, on the other.
“This unique structure makes a huge difference,” says Tina Sampalis, MD, PhD, a Canadian researcher and Neptune’s Medical Science Liaison who identified this molecule in krill and participated in bringing krill oil to market in 2003. “Before Neptune, krill oil did not exist,” says Sampalis.
Because phospholipids dissolve easily in both fat and water, they are digested more easily than triglycerides which don’t dissolve in water, she says.
And unlike triglycerides, which the body rushes to store in fatty tissue (leaving less Omega 3s to roam the body performing beneficial functions), after absorption phospholipids are directly used as building blocks for cell membranes where they facilitate fatty acid transport through-out the body as well as through the blood-brain barrier to the brain.
In fact, every cell membrane in the human body is made of phospholipids.
When we eat it, “the cell recognizes it as its own so it can use it more efficiently,” she says. The amount of fatty acids absorbed from phospholipid supplements is always more than the amount absorbed from other supplements with higher levels of free fatty acids or triglycerides.
It is also very important to note that the omega-3 on the phospholipids will help shift the fatty acid ratio of the cell membrane to a healthier omega-3 predominance versus omega-6 or shorter chain and saturated fat.