Oil from the marine copepod, Calanus finmarchicus, which contains >86 % of fatty acids present as wax esters, is a novel source of n-3 fatty acids for human consumption. In a randomized, two-period crossover study, 18 healthy adults consumed 8 capsules providing 4 g of Calanus(®) Oil supplying a total of 260 mg EPA and 156 mg DHA primarily as wax esters, or 1 capsule of Lovaza(®) providing 465 mg EPA and 375 mg DHA as ethyl esters, each with an EPA- and DHA-free breakfast. Plasma EPA and DHA were measured over a 72 h period (t = 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h). The positive incremental area under the curve over the 72 h test period (iAUC0-72 h) for both EPA and DHA was significantly different from zero (p < 0.0001) in both test conditions, with similar findings for the iAUC0-24 h and iAUC0-48 h, indicating the fatty acids were absorbed. There was no difference in the plasma iAUC0-72 h for EPA + DHA, or DHA individually, in response to Calanus Oil vs the ethyl ester condition; however, the iAUC0-48 h and iAUC0-72 h for plasma EPA in response to Calanus Oil were both significantly increased relative to the ethyl ester condition (iAUC0-48 h: 381 ± 31 vs 259 ± 39 μg*h/mL, p = 0.026; iAUC0-72 h: 514 ± 47 vs 313 ± 49 μg*h/mL, p = 0.009). These data demonstrate a novel wax ester rich marine oil is a suitable alternative source of EPA and DHA for human consumption.
Keywords: Fat absorption; Lipid absorption; Waxes; n-3 Fatty acids.