Liver disease, or NAFLD, is a serious condition affecting 1 in 3 people in western populations, characterized by a buildup of fat in the liver and often goes unnoticed until it is too late. Krill oil phospholipids contain vital omega-3 fatty acids and choline, two essential nutrients that are a clinically relevant and effective way to support optimal liver health.
So why should we be concerned about our liver? And how specifically can krill oil phospholipids support the liver? This article outlines everything you need to know about fatty liver and why krill oil phospholipids are a smart choice.
What does our liver do and why should we support it?
Our liver is one of the bodies most amazing organs. Of course, all our organs are vital for our overall health, but the liver performs countless functions that keep everything working as it should be. It is the center of our metabolic health, with some of its most important functions including:
- Synthesizing proteins
- Producing hormones
- Aiding digestion
- Cleaning the blood
The liver can perform around 500 different functions but arguably one of the most demanding jobs for the liver is filtering our blood and making the tough decisions on what should be there and what should not.
It deals with incoming food nutrients and either stores or prepares them for further transport to other organs. It is also responsible for filtering the blood from harmful toxins, alcohol, medication, fatty food and waste products etc.
Unfortunately, with all that we decide to put into our bodies these days, our liver has a tougher job than ever, and many of us around the world are living with some form of liver damage at any one time. Chronic stress and damage to the liver can cause long term problems associated with fatty liver, inflammation and eventually liver failure if untreated.
Over 25% of adults live with liver disease
Liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by an abnormal buildup of fat in the liver and unfortunately this does not lead to symptoms until it is too late, leading to late diagnosis.
Over 25% of adults globally are estimated to have NAFLD. Strikingly, 20% of young adults in the UK between the ages of 18 and 35 have grade 1 steatosis, the first stage of liver damage, highlighting the seriousness and gravity considering this is a progressive disease over time.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is now the most common liver disease worldwide and is often seen in combination with obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia (abnormal blood lipids), metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
No treatment – but the liver can regenerate through diet and exercise
According to the European Association for the Study of Liver guidelines, the only treatment for fatty liver (NAFLD) is counselling for a healthy diet and physical activity as there are no available medicine or drug therapy for the liver condition.
The good news is that early-stage fatty liver has been shown to be reversible with changes in the diet and an increase in physical activity. Some of the most promising nutrients that are shown to have a profound effect on liver health are phospholipids, omega-3 fatty acids and choline, all of which are found in krill oil.
Why are krill oil phospholipids good for liver health?
In short, it is because of the phospholipid bound omega-3 fatty acids and choline contained within krill oil. Let’s take a closer look at why!
It all happens at the cell level
Our body is made up of trillions of cells and each cell is covered in a cell membrane which is made up of phospholipids. Phospholipids are the main building block for all our bodies cells and support a host of activities for the healthy functioning of these cells. This could be your skin cells, your heart cells, or indeed in this case, your liver cells.
If our liver cells are healthy, our liver organ is healthy, which means a healthy body. Krill phospholipids contain omega-3 and choline that have beneficial effects at the cell level.
Choline for optimal liver function
Choline is an essential nutrient, and the liver is central for choline metabolism and use. During choline deprivation in our diets, liver fat builds up leading to damage and liver cell death, emphasizing that this nutrient is central to liver function.
The evidence is so strong for choline, that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), known as one of the strictest regulatory bodies in the world, has approved two health claims for choline related to liver health, stating that a cause and effect relationship is established between choline consumption and liver functioning:
“Choline contributes to normal liver function”
“Choline contributes to normal fat metabolism”
Both claims relate to the way choline helps create lipoproteins that carry fat away from the liver and around the blood safely to our cells that need it. This can help prevent the buildup of fat in the liver cells which is associated with fatty liver (NAFLD).
Omega-3 fatty acids for optimal liver health
Phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids are vital to ensure that the body can regulate inflammation, which is a key stressor on the liver. Several studies have shown beneficial effects of omega-3 supplementation and a meta-analysis by Musa-Veluso et al 2018, pooled together 18 studies that showcased significant beneficial effects on metabolic risk factors, liver enzymes, liver fat content and liver damage. The authors concluded that omega-3 fatty acids are an important treatment option for NAFLD (fatty liver).
Whole phospholipids with omega-3 fatty acids and choline have been shown to influence liver fat metabolism and liver fat content more potently than omega-3 fatty acids, or choline alone. Did you know that krill phospholipid omega-3s are more efficiently incorporated into our cell membranes?
Support your liver with krill oil
In summary, krill oil phospholipids are well positioned for supporting liver health and ensuring an optimal functioning liver, through its beneficial nutrients omega-3 and choline in the phospholipid form.
Krill oil’s unique structure and natural blend of nutrients is an ideal supplement for liver health backed up by scientific studies and supported by official regulated health claims.