Plasma concentrations of metabolites along the choline oxidation and tryptophan degradation pathways have been linked to lifestyle diseases and dietary habits. This study aimed to investigate how krill oil, a source of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with a high phosphatidylcholine content, affected these parameters. The pilot study was conducted as a 28 days intervention in 17 healthy volunteers (18-36 years), who received a supplement of 4.5 g krill oil per day, providing 833 mg ω-3 PUFAs, and 1750 mg phosphatidylcholine. Krill oil supplementation increased fasting plasma choline (+28.4%, p < .001), betaine (+26.6%, p < .001), dimethylglycine (+33.7%, p < .001) and sarcosine (+16.8%, p < .001), whereas no statistically significant changes were seen for plasma glycine, serine, methionine, total homocysteine, cysteine, cystathionine, methionine sulfoxide, folate, cobalamin, B2-, B3-, and B6 vitamers, tryptophan, kynurenines, nicotinamide, vitamin A and vitamin E. In summary, krill oil supplementation influenced choline metabolite levels, but not plasma metabolites of the tryptophan-kynurenine-nicotinamide pathways and vitamins. These observations should be confirmed in a placebo-controlled trial, including an ω-3 PUFA supplement without phospholipids to explore the potential additive effects of the different active ingredients.
Keywords: Antarctic krill; Euphausiacea; choline oxidation pathway; dimethylglycine; fatty acids; kynurenine; omega-3; one-carbon metabolism; phosphatidylcholines; tryptophan-kynurenine pathway.