The Role of Phospholipids in Your Body



Phospholipids are vital for healthy cellular and body function. A subclass of a large and diverse group of organic compounds called “lipids,” they are building blocks of cellular membranes. Phospholipids form a lipid bilayer that encloses all living matter within a cell.*


Good Sources

The human body naturally produces phospholipids. However, consuming certain dietary sources can also boost their presence in the body. Phospholipids are commonly found in foods containing lecithin—a component of bile produced by the liver that aids in digestion. Lecithin-rich foods include egg yolks, wheat germ, soy, milk, and lightly cooked meats. Fatty foods and some vegetable oils also contain phospholipids.


In addition to a well-balanced diet, krill oil can be an excellent source of beneficial phospholipids. A distinct advantage of krill oil is that it provides long chain fatty acid phospholipids. This means that the fatty acids bound to the phospholipids in krill oil include EPA and DHA, which is usually not the case with phospholipids derived from plant sources. Krill oil can also serve as an alternative source for people who may have challenges tolerating other food sources. NKO®’s phospholipids are quickly recognized by the body, and phospholipid-bound fatty acids can provide select advantages in digestibility, absorption and utilization.*


While both krill oil and fish oil contain omega-3, studies show that humans absorb the essential fatty acids in krill oil more efficiently. Krill oil is comprised of EPA and DHA bound to phospholipids, which mirrors the structure in every human cell membrane.


Structure and Function

As the name implies, phospholipids contain a phosphate group (phospho) linked to two fatty acids, EPA and DHA (lipids). These phosphorous-containing fats promote membrane fluidity and are selective about what flows in and out of each cell.*


Phospholipids are composed of a hydrophilic head, which is attracted to water, and two hydrophobic tails, which repel water. Because these cells contain molecules that simultaneously attract and resist water, they are considered amphipathic (both water-soluble and non-water-soluble).


Phospholipids perform vital functions within the body. These important cellular barriers support all cognitive function, cardiovascular health, nerve health, liver function, and digestion. During the digestive process, phospholipids form clusters to help move vitamins, nutrients and fat-containing molecules through the body.*



About the author


Jacqueline Khayat Global Sales DirectorServing as Sales Director, Jacqueline Khayat’s role includes expanding distribution for Neptune’s line of products and ingredients. Jackie has extensive and relevant education, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Montreal University and obtaining a Graduate Degree in Business and Management from renowned HEC Montreal. As a Dietitian, she taps into her extensive knowledge of nutrition to help educate the market about omega-3 krill oil benefits and our line of products including OCEANO3: Neptune’s consumer branded krill oil, exclusively offered through its website in Canada and the US.


Jackie also enjoys healthy lifestyle, great food and travelling. You can follow her on Twitter for daily health related tips: @jkhayat23