Effects of krill oil intake on plasma cholesterol and glucose levels in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet

J Sci Food Agric. 2013 Aug 30;93(11):2669-75. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6072. Epub 2013 Mar 15.


Background: In this study, whole krill oil (WKO) and phospholipid-type krill oil (PKO) with different lipid composition were prepared. The effects of KO intake on plasma cholesterol and glucose levels in Wistar rats fed a high-cholesterol diet (HCD) were investigated.

Results: WKO contained 37.63% triglycerides, 48.37% phospholipids, 13.54% free fatty acids and 0.66% cholesterol, whereas the corresponding values for PKO were 0.59, 69.80, 28.53 and 1.09% respectively. Meanwhile, PKO contained much more polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA, 37.76%) than WKO (28.36%). After 4 weeks of HCD consumption, plasma levels of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and glucose increased significantly, but that of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) decreased significantly. The intake of PKO and WKO for 4 weeks caused a significant reduction in body weight gain and plasma levels of TC and LDL-C in HCD-fed rats. Compared with WKO, PKO was more effective in decreasing plasma TC and LDL-C levels.

Conclusion: PKO showed better overall cholesterol-lowering effects than WKO, which may be due to its higher n-3 PUFA levels.

Keywords: cholesterol-lowering effect; glucose-lowering effect; high-cholesterol-fed rat; krill oil; n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; phospholipids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose*
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Diet
  • Euphausiacea*
  • Oils / chemistry
  • Oils / pharmacology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Oils
  • Cholesterol