Health & Wellbeing

Super-supplemented shellfish found to be rich in vitamins

Super-supplemented shellfish f...
Oysters are already nutritious, but a diet of the "vitamin bullets" reportedly makes them even more so
Oysters are already nutritious, but a diet of the "vitamin bullets" reportedly makes them even more so
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Oysters are already nutritious, but a diet of the "vitamin bullets" reportedly makes them even more so
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Oysters are already nutritious, but a diet of the "vitamin bullets" reportedly makes them even more so

Although ingesting nutrients in tablet form is better than nothing, nutrients are best absorbed by our bodies if they're part of the foods that we eat. With that in mind, scientists have recently created a supplement for shellfish that radically boosts their nutritional content.

Bivalve shellfish such as oysters, clams and mussels are already quite nutritious, since (yucky as it may sound) we consume their gut when we eat them. This means that we eat what they ate, in a form that has already been broken down for easy extraction of its nutrients, plus we eat the nutrients that have been passed into their tissue.

Led by Dr. David Aldridge and PhD student David Willer, researchers at Britain's University of Cambridge have therefore developed vitamin-fortified microcapsules that are fed to shellfish prior to purchase by consumers.

These capsules are designed with a size and shape that reportedly optimizes their appeal to the creatures. They're intended to be fed to farmed shellfish for eight hours towards the end of their "depuration" period, in which they're held in cleansing tanks after being harvested from their aquaculture pens.

In lab tests, it was found that oysters which had eaten the capsules delivered about 100 times more Vitamin A than regular oysters, and delivered over 150 times more Vitamin D. They also outperformed salmon – which is known to be a good source of such vitamins – providing over 26 times the amount of Vitamin A, and more than four times the amount of Vitamin D.

In fact, the scientists determined that consuming just two of the oysters per day provided enough Vitamin A and D to meet the widely-consulted Recommended Dietary Allowance. Additionally, buying capsule-boosted shellfish should be considerably cheaper than purchasing multivitamin tablets for human consumption – it is estimated that the fortification process should add about US$0.0056 to the cost of producing a single oyster.

"We have demonstrated a cheap and effective way to get micronutrients into a sustainable and delicious source of protein," says Willer. "Targeted use of this technology in regions worst affected by nutrient deficiencies, using carefully selected bivalve species and micronutrients, could help improve the health of millions, while also reducing the harm that meat production is doing to the environment."

The technology is now being commercialized by Dr. Aldridge's spin-off company, BioBullets. A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

Source: University of Cambridge

3 comments
paul314
Where are farmed shellfish a significant part of people's diets? Or is this going to be yet another supplement that "everyone" is supposed to take?
eMacPaul
The additional cost for the oyster may be less than the cost of a supplement, but I'm pretty sure the oyster itself costs far more.
Kait Wiebe
This is a bad idea, because apparently it’s easier than you’d think to get too much of a good thing:

https://sciencenordic.com/biotechnology-denmark-the-body/confirmed-vitamin-pills-can-cause-death/1463408