WATCH: Aker BioMarine targets $900m Aussie sports nutrition sector on back of Norseman study

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Aker BioMarine has Australia's expanding sports nutrition sector in its sights, after initial findings from a study on elite athletes suggested krill oil could boost performance.

We spoke with the firm's general manager Ian Chant at the recent Complementary Medicines Association (CMA) Innovation summit in Sydney.

In the video, Chant discusses why he has high hopes for krill in the sector, and some of the delivery format innovation could expand its appeal.

The company is currently working on a trial with the Pure Science Triathlon team and Norseman, one of the world’s toughest triathlons, to examine the effects of krill oil omega-3s on athletic performance and recovery.  ​ 

Preliminary findings revealed that higher omega-3 levels were associated with less illness during training and better performance during the race. The study also found that athletes with higher omega-3 levels recovered faster after the race.

Study leader Dr Andreas Berg Storsve said: “We know that high-intensity training has an impact on immune function and inflammation, making athletes especially vulnerable to illness and infections. This study is extremely exciting as it has shown has a direct impact on the athletes’ physical recovery and performance.

Immune benefits

“Phospholipid-bound omega-3 fatty acids found in krill oil, particularly DHA and EPA, are highly anti-inflammatory and have been shown to strengthen markers of immune function following maximal exercise. Krill oil consumption may therefore help to reduce the risk of infection and circumvent training disruptions in athletes.”

Another important finding of the study, Dr. Storsve said, is that the Omega-3 Index was shown to be the second-best predictor of bike leg time - after exercise volume and ahead of important factors such as pre-race injuries, illness and early-life fitness level. According to Dr. Storsve, this can be a game-changer for the top athletes. 

This year’s research study will enable a more in-depth, systematic study of the importance of phospholipids for recovery in both training and competition.  

“During 2018 Norseman we will be testing for specific biomarkers of inflammation and immune responses as well as the effects of choline, which is a central component of krill oil, on performance and recovery,”​ says Dr. Storsve. “By doing so, we will get a more complete understanding of the nutritional factors that help athletes optimize their performance. However, the results so far suggest that krill oil can have a real impact in the world of sports​.” 

Take a look at the video to find out more about the trial, and the Omega-3 Index Project.

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