Year 2020, Volume 4 , Issue 4, Pages 418 - 424 2020-12-15

Assessment of heavy metal levels and fatty acid compositions of some krill oil capsules marketed in Turkey

Nilgün SEREMET KÜRKLÜ [1] , Hasan Hüseyin BAŞIBÜYÜK [2] , Hülya KAMARLI ALTUN [3]

Krill oil has many positive health effects since it is rich in omega-3, phospholipids and astaxanthin. In recent years, as a result of rapid population growth and industrialization, the toxic heavy metal levels have increased especially in aquatic environments. Therefore, it is also possible to take up heavy metals to the human body through food supplements such as krill oil. This study aims to determine the fatty acid composition and the amounts of lead, mercury and cadmium in five different krill oil capsules. A total of 35 fatty acids were analysed. It was determined that the five different krill oil capsules met a proportion of daily recommended omega-3 fatty acid (EPA + DHA) and omega-6 fatty acid intake. Mercury levels were <0.2 µg/kg, cadmium levels <3 µg/kg and lead levels <3 µg/kg in all samples. It was observed that the heavy metal amount was below the limits specified by the Turkish Food Codex Contaminants Regulation. Based on the evaluation of the data obtained from our study, reliable krill oil capsules may be recommended for those who consume less than the recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids, and for the vegetarians.
Heavy metal, Krill oil, Omega-3, Omega-6, Fatty acid
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). (2019). CERCLA priority list of hazardous substances. Retrieved from
  • Adıguzel, K. T., Isgin, K., & Pekcan, G. (2015). Krill Oil Supplementation and New Scientific Evidences. Beslenme ve Diyet Dergisi, 43(3), 258-263. Retrieved from
  • Ambati, R. R., Phang, S.-M., Ravi, S., & Aswathanarayana, R. G. (2014). Astaxanthin: sources, extraction, stability, biological activities and its commercial applications—a review. Marine drugs, 12(1), 128-152. Retrieved from
  • Asri, F. O., Sonmez, S., & Citak, S. (2007). The Effect of Cadmium on Environment and Human Health. Derim, 24(1), 32-39.
  • Berge, R. K., Ramsvik, M. S., Bohov, P., Svardal, A., Nordrehaug, J. E., Rostrup, E., . . . Bjørndal, B. (2015). Krill oil reduces plasma triacylglycerol level and improves related lipoprotein particle concentration, fatty acid composition and redox status in healthy young adults-a pilot study. Lipids in health disease, 14(1), 163. Retrieved from
  • Bunea, R., El Farrah, K., & Deutsch, L. (2004). Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. Altern Med Rev, 9(4), 420-428. Retrieved from
  • Calder, P. C. (2014). Very long chain omega‐3 (n‐3) fatty acids and human health. European journal of lipid science and technology, 116(10), 1280-1300. Retrieved from
  • Calder, P. C. (2015). Marine omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: Effects, mechanisms and clinical relevance. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1851(4), 469-484. Doi:10.1016/j.bbalip.2014.08.010
  • Casula, M., Soranna, D., Catapano, A. L., & Corrao, G. (2013). Long-term effect of high dose omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for secondary prevention of cardiovascular outcomes: a meta-analysis of randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trials. Atherosclerosis Supplements, 14(2), 243-251. Retrieved from
  • Cunningham, E. (2012). Are krill oil supplements a better source of n-3 fatty acids than fish oil supplements? Journal of the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics, 112(2), 344. Retrieved from
  • Dahl, L., Mæland, C. A., & Bjørkkjær, T. (2011). A short food frequency questionnaire to assess intake of seafood and n-3 supplements: validation with biomarkers. Nutrition Journal, 10(1), 127. Retrieved from
  • EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, N., Allergies (2010). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for fats, including saturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol. EFSA Journal, 8(3), 1461. Retrieved from
  • Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). (2010). Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition: Report of an expert consultation. Food Nutr Pap, 91, 1-166. Retrieved from
  • Gamoh, S., Hashimoto, M., Yanagimoto, K., Katakura, M., Abdul, H. M., & Shido, O. (2011). Krill-derived phospholipids rich in n-3 fatty acid improve spatial memory in adult rats. Journal of Agricultural Science, 3(4), 3. Retrieved from
  • Grosso, G., Micek, A., Marventano, S., Castellano, S., Mistretta, A., Pajak, A., & Galvano, F. (2016). Dietary n-3 PUFA, fish consumption and depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Journal of Affective Disorders, 205, 269-281. Retrieved from
  • Guzelsoy, N., & Izgi, B. (2015). Optimization of Analytical Parameters for Determination of (As, Hg, Cd and Pb) in Fish Oil Supplements. Journal of Food and Feed Sciences-Technology(15), 19-26. Retrieved from
  • Hur, J., Mateo, V., Amalric, N., Babiak, M., Béréziat, G., Kanony-Truc, C., . . . Limon, I. (2018). Cerebrovascular β‐amyloid deposition and associated microhemorrhages in a Tg2576 Alzheimer mouse model are reduced with a DHA‐enriched diet. The FASEB Journal, 32(9), 4972-4983. Retrieved from
  • Joy, C. B., Mumby-Croft, R., & Joy, L. A. (2003). Polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for schizophrenia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev(2), CD001257. Doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001257
  • Konagai, C., Yanagimoto, K., Hayamizu, K., Han, L., Tsuji, T., & Koga, Y. (2013). Effects of krill oil containing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in phospholipid form on human brain function: a randomized controlled trial in healthy elderly volunteers. Clinical interventions in aging, 8, 1247. Retrieved from
  • Lobraico, J. M., DiLello, L. C., Butler, A. D., Cordisco, M. E., Petrini, J. R., & Ahmadi, R. (2015). Effects of krill oil on endothelial function and other cardiovascular risk factors in participants with type 2 diabetes, a randomized controlled trial. BMJ Open Diabetes Research Care, 3(1), e000107.
  • Lu, F., Bruheim, I., Haugsgjerd, B., & Jacobsen, C. (2014). Effect of temperature towards lipid oxidation and non-enzymatic browning reactions in krill oil upon storage. Food chemistry, 157, 398-407.
  • Ozkan, E., Taslipinar, M. Y., & Yesilkaya, S. (2018). Ağır Metal Zehirlenmeleri.
  • Ozogul, Y., Ozogul, F., & Alagoz, S. (2007). Fatty acid profiles and fat contents of commercially important seawater and freshwater fish species of Turkey: A comparative study. J Food chemistry, 103(1), 217-223.
  • Saini, R. K., & Keum, Y.-S. (2018). Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids: Dietary sources, metabolism, and significance—A review. Life sciences, 203, 255-267.
  • Sanlıer, N., & Bolukbası, H. (2016). Krill Yağı ve Sağlık İlişkisi. In M. Aslan (Ed.), Omega Yağ Asitleri ve Sağlık Üzerine Etkileri. Türk Eczacılar Birliği II. Bölge Ankara Eczacı Odası.
  • Tekeli, İ. O., Yipel, M., & Sakin, F. (2016). Heavy Metal Bioconcentration in Fish. Türkiye Klinikleri Veteriner Bilimleri-Farmakoloji ve Toksikoloji-Özel Konular, 2(3), 38-42.
  • Tou, J. C., Jaczynski, J., & Chen, Y. C. (2007). Krill for human consumption: nutritional value and potential health benefits. Nutr Rev, 65(2), 63-77. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00283.x
  • Türk Gıda Kodeksi Bulaşanlar Yönetmeliği. (2011). Retrieved from
Primary Language en
Subjects Food Science and Technology
Published Date December 2020
Journal Section Research Articles

Orcid: 0000-0003-1394-0037
Country: Turkey

Orcid: 0000-0001-9878-9297
Author: Hasan Hüseyin BAŞIBÜYÜK
Country: Turkey

Orcid: 0000-0001-9878-9297
Author: Hülya KAMARLI ALTUN (Primary Author)
Country: Turkey

Supporting Institution Scientific Research Foundation of Akdeniz University
Project Number TKA-2018-4471
Thanks Authors are thankful to Akdeniz University, Scientific Research Foundation about their financial supports.

Application Date : August 14, 2020
Acceptance Date : October 20, 2020
Publication Date : December 15, 2020

APA Seremet Kürklü, N , Başıbüyük, H , Kamarlı Altun, H . (2020). Assessment of heavy metal levels and fatty acid compositions of some krill oil capsules marketed in Turkey . International Journal of Agriculture Environment and Food Sciences , 4 (4) , 418-424 . DOI: 10.31015/jaefs.2020.4.4