The next generation of marine lipids
The next generation of marine lipids for human health.
Marine lipids are well‐known for their unique richness in long chain omega 3 fatty acids.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid or C20:5ω3) and DHA (docosahexaenoic or C22:6ω3) are
the most important of them. Fatty acids are usually incorporated in triglycerides. But
omega 3 fatty acids have higher bioavailability and oxidative stability when they are
incorporated to [phospholipids-omega3] complexes.
Novastell proposes an innovative and sustainable source of phospholipid and marine
omega 3 fatty acids extracted from fish roe together with typical formulations dedicated
to human health.
Omega 3 in the marine environment.
The origin of omega 3 fatty acids in marine organisms come
from the planktonic microalgae which actively synthesize these
molecules. The main characteristic of marine lipids is their content
in the highly unsaturated long chain fatty acids EPA and DHA
which cannot be found in terrestrial organisms or vegetal oils.
These fatty acids will be accumulated in the lipids of marine
animals like crustaceans and fishes (herring, sardine, menhaden,
salmon, tuna). Triglycerides are the storage form of lipids in
microalgae and in most of fish species. Their extraction leads
to liquid and unsaturated oils that must be protected against
oxidative degradations, like the well-known fish oils.
Marine phospholipid sources.
The higher vertebrates – fishes, terrestrial vertebrates and
mammals – accumulate phospholipids in some organs like the
brain. Phospholipids can also be concentrated in the eggs of
females where the fat matter is used not only as an energy source
for the embryos but also provides essential components for the
first stages of their development.
Two of these potential sources, krill (the crustacean Euphausia
superba) and fish roe, are valorized at an industrial scale. Krill is
captured specifically to extract oil. This industrial concern is under
a careful survey because krill is a vital food resource for marine
animals and especially for whales.
Lipids extracted from fish roe represent now an innovative and
sustainable alternative to krill oil.
Fish roe is a by‐product of fishing activities, the industrial
extraction of phospholipid‐rich oil being thus an opportunity to
enhance its value. The fish eggs lipid content represents almost
16% of the dry matter, 35% of which are phospholipids (1).
What are the advantages of marine phospholipids ?
Phospholipids are the best physiological carriers for omega 3 fatty
acids. They facilitate their assimilation and allow their preferential
incorporation in the biological metabolism and particularly in the
cell membrane lipids.
Omega 3 fatty acids and particularly DHA have a higher
bioaccretion when they are provided as [phospholipid‐ω3 fatty
acid] complexes compared to triglycerides. The bioaccretion
representes the capacity to incorporate in cellular membranes,
and is multiplied by 2 to 5 with these complexes depending on the
It had also been demonstrated that polyunsaturated fatty
acids are more resistant to oxidation when they are linked to
phospholipids compared to other molecular presentations often
used, triglycerides and ethyl esters (2).
Storage DHA loss
(11 weeks / 25°C)
Phospholipids -10 %
Triglycerides -97 %
Ethyl esters -64 %
Comparison between krill oil and fish egg
Together with the Norwegian society Arctic Nutrition, Novastell
has developed a marine phospholipid source extracted from
herring roe. Herring roe is a steady by-product of the fishing
The marine phospholipid extract of Novastell is called Lecicaviar
The two commercial sources of marine phospholipids show
an important difference in their respective compositions.
Phosphatidylcholine is the main phospholipid in the two products,
but their main difference lies in their respective contents in EPA
and DHA. While EPA is the main omega 3 fatty acid in krill, DHA is
predominant in fish roe.
Fish roe extract / Lecicaviar Arctic Standard
krill oil comparison F50® (Novastell) krill oil
Phospholipids (g/100g) > 50 % < 40 %
Neutral lipids (g/100g) < 50 % > 50 %
Total omega 3 (% fatty acids) > 29 % > 30 %
EPA (% fatty acids) > 9 % < 15 %
DHA (% fatty acids) > 18 % > 9 %
DHA / EPA ratio 2 > 0.6
Novastell not only choose fish roe phospholipids extracted from
wild herring because of the sustainability of this resource based
on a fishing industry by‐product, but also for its content in DHA
and for its exceptional ratio DHA/EPA.
Why focusing on DHA ?
Numerous scientific studies have shown that DHA is the only
omega 3 fatty acid that accumulates in cell membranes (3). This is
particularly true in nervous and retina cells where DHA is directly
involved in the membrane functioning. Being incorporated in the
membrane phospholipids, docosahexaenoic acid helps to regulate
the molecular exchanges between the internal and external media
of the cell.
In the nervous system, transmembrane movements of ions
are responsible for the depolarization of the cell membrane and
the transmission of the electric signal between neurons. Such a
mechanism explains the nervous system property to transport and
Like all the other omega 3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid
can be synthesized by human metabolism from the essential
omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 ω3) which is only found in
food. Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA is only synthesized in vegetal
organisms thanks to the presence of a specific enzyme called
delta-15 desaturase. It had been shown that less than 1% of the
ingested ALA will be transformed in DHA in human which is not
sufficient to cover the needs in some particular physiological
states like pregnancy and the first months of life (when the
nervous system builts) or during aging. A sufficient and specific
food supply in DHA is thus indispensable to ensure a correct
content in the cell membranes.
As an example, a decrease in the DHA content is among the
age-related modifications observed in the brain. This decrease
appears to follow the decrease of the brain performances in
memory and learning while a food supply of DHA is able to slow
down this evolution.
And the most effective way to supply DHA is in the form
of complexes with phospholipids. As shown by Graf et al
(4), the supply of DHA to the brain in rats was twofold when
phospholipids were used as carriers compared to triglycerides.
Lecicaviar Arctic : the marine phospholipid range
Novastell proposes a complete range of DHA-rich marine
phospholipids extracted from herring roe : the Lecicaviar Arctic
* Lecicaviar Arctic F50® :
Lecicaviar Arctic F50® is the most concentrated in phospholipids
(50% min.). It also contains 29% min. omega 3 fatty acids and
18% min. DHA. Lecicaviar Arctic F50® has a waxy consistency
and a DHA/EPA ratio of 2.
* Lecicaviar Arctic F30® :
Lecicaviar Arctic F30® is a liquid blend of Lecicaviar Arctic F50®
and fish oil, with a standardized content of 28% in phospholipids.
Lecicaviar F30® exists in two different formulations : Standard and
Lecicaviar F30® Standard contains 14% DHA and have a DHA/
EPA ratio of 2.
Lecicaviar F30® Premium contains 28% DHA. Its DHA/EPA ratio
*Lipomega DHA® :
Novastell has recently launched a powdered presentation of its
marine phospholipid extract specifically developed to facilitate its
incorporation in dry formulations like tablets, capsules or sticks.
Lipomega DHA® is composed of the Lecicavar Arctic extract
mixed with arabic gum and maltodextrin. It has standardized
contents of 17% phospholipids and 5% DHA.
* Semi-finished products :
Novastell proposes its active ingredients also as original
formulations in the form of semi-finished products ready to be
packed and marketed.
According to the formulation, small powder bags, tablets,
capsules and soft gel capsules can be provided.
(1) Cejas J.R. et al. Aquaculture 216 (2003) 299-313.
(2) Song J.H. et al. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 61 (1997)
(3) Arterburn et al. Am J Clin Nutr 83 (2006) 1467S-76S.
(4) Grafet al. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 83 (2010) 89-96.