Choline is often grouped in the B-complex family of vitamins and often referred to as Vitamin B4. However, it is technically not a vitamin but has distinct similarities as a vitamin. Choline affects several critical bodily functions. Research suggests it impacts liver function, healthy brain development, muscle movement, your nervous system, and metabolism. Choline is an essential nutrient, which means it has to be included in our diet to maintain optimal health.
Although choline deficiency is unusual, certain people are at an increased risk. Amongst them are endurance athletes. Levels fall during long endurance exercises, such as marathons and long-distance triathlons. It’s unclear if using supplements improves performance.
Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is indeed a long endurance race and could put the athletes at the risk of lowered Choline levels, precisely what this study wanted to investigate. Our study investigated if supplementation of krill oil (SuperbaBoost krill oil) could prevent the expected drop in choline levels during Norseman Xtreme Triathlon and Oslo Triathlon (sprint/olympic distance). We recruited forty-seven athletes from the two races. The krill oil group received krill oil supplementation daily from 5 weeks before the race. The placebo group received pills with vegetable oil. Blood samples were collected before the race, immediately after crossing the finish race, and the day after the race. The samples were analyzed for Choline and other metabolites.
The results revealed that the concentration of Choline in the athlete’s blood decreases significantly in all athletes. The athletes racing Norseman had a 35% decrease in choline levels, while the Oslo Triathlon group had a 15% decrease. The group receiving krill oil had a significantly lower reduction in Choline levels. We conclude that supplementation with krill oil may help prevent choline levels from becoming limited during challenging endurance races.
“There has been a worldwide increase in the number of people participating in endurance events over the past decade,” said Andreas Berg Storsve, MSc Ph.D., Director R&D, Aker Biomarine Antarctic AS. “Therefore, it’s imperative that we continue to explore nutrients like krill oil and their impact on sports nutrition. As demonstrated in this first-of-its-kind study, supplementation with krill oil over time increases overall levels of circulating Choline in endurance athletes participating in a wide range of competition formats with varying levels of difficulty. This means that the study is also good news for novice athletes and general consumers alike, and the bottom line is that anyone engaging in physical activity can benefit from krill oil.”