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Wax Ester Rich Oil From The Marine Crustacean, Calanus finmarchicus, is a Bioavailable Source of EPA and DHA for Human Consumption

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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.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others



Docosahexaenoic acid


Eicosapentaenoic acid


High-density lipoprotein cholesterol


Incremental area under the curve


Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

n-3 PUFA:

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

C max :

Maximal concentration


Non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol


Stearidonic acid




Total cholesterol

T max :

Time to maximal concentration


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The authors would like to thank Margie Huebner of ClinData Services (Fort Collins, CO) and Hua Kern of Biofortis Clinical Research for assistance in planning and performing statistical analyses.

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Correspondence to Chad M. Cook.

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This was a sponsored study funded by Calanus AS (Tromsø, Norway). At the time the study was conducted, C.M. Cook and L.D. Derrig were employees of Biofortis Clinical Research, and K. Tande was an employee of Calanus AS. T. Larsen has received research support from Calanus AS.

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Cook, C.M., Larsen, T.S., Derrig, L.D. et al. Wax Ester Rich Oil From The Marine Crustacean, Calanus finmarchicus, is a Bioavailable Source of EPA and DHA for Human Consumption. Lipids 51, 1137–1144 (2016).

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