I am familiar with essential fatty acids like fish oil and krill oil, but I must admit I had never heard of arctic ruby oil until recently. Since I am always interested in the latest additions to the natural health realm, I immediately began investigating the story and claims about this supplement.
What is Arctic Ruby Oil?
The story begins at the end of 2007 in the frigid waters off the coast of Norway, home of a tiny sea creature called Calanus finmarchicus. This shrimp-like creature is the main food of wild salmon and also the sole food of the arctic auk, a small bird that can fly tremendous distances.
Biology professor Kurt S. Tande, who also owns a fishery, had begun to extract oil from the shrimp-like creature and asked a colleague, biologist Dr. Jan Raa, to analyze and test the oil. Tande was curious about the ruby colored oil because he and some colleagues had begun using the oil instead of fish oil supplements and had experienced an unexpected increase in energy and loss of belly fat.
Dr. Raa discovered that ruby oil has a structure that differs from that of both fish oil and krill oil. The essential fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) in fish oil, for example, are bound to triglycerides, while those found in krill oil are attached to phospholipids. This distinction between fish oil and krill oil does seem to make a difference in how the oils work in the body.
In arctic ruby oil, the essential fatty acids are bound to monoesters. According to Dr. Raa, monoesters burn at a much slower rate than do phospholipids and triglycerides. That means they are utilized by the body further along the digestive process; that is, in the posterior portion of the intestines where receptors associated with glucose tolerance, oxygen use, and fat distribution are located.
Claims about Arctic Ruby Oil
Dr. Raa claims that his research has shown that the oil obtained from Calanus is “the most energy dense super food on the planet” and that it can deliver “health benefits that were almost unbelievable.” There are anecdotal reports from people who have used the oil and claim they have experienced great increases in energy and a loss of belly fat. At the same time, there is still much that is not known about arctic ruby oil. A limited number of studies have been published about the oil, including the following examples.
A recent study (June 2013) appearing in the British Journal of Nutrition reported on the use of the oil in obese mice. One group of mice were fed a high-fat diet, and these animals gained weight and abdominal fat and had impaired glucose tolerance when compared with mice who were fed a normal diet. Then, when the obese mice were supplemented with arctic ruby oil, they showed a reduction in body weight gain and abdominal fat as well as an improvement in glucose tolerance.
Although the authors were not able to identify which components of the oil were responsible for these benefits, they believe they are related to EPA, DHA, and/or the antioxidants in the oil. In another study (2012), supplementation of arctic ruby oil reduced the formation of atherosclerotic lesions in mice, which led the authors to conclude that the oil “may be an effective and safe dietary intervention to reduce the development of atherosclerosis” (hardening of the arteries).
So, do you need arctic ruby oil? For now, the evidence seems a bit thin (pun intended) while the cost of the oil runs about a hefty 2 dollars per day and online comments from users are mixed. Read more about EPA and DHA
Anderson Jorn. Arctic Ruby Oil. Professional Publications: Lincoln NE: 2012