Supplemented Shellfish as a Great Source of Vitamins

Supplemented Shellfish as a Great Source of Vitamins

With efficient nutrient absorption, our body will function adequately, making us unsusceptible to deficiencies and disease. Nutrients are best absorbed by our bodies when they are found in the foods that we eat. Having that in mind, scientists created a supplement for shellfish that radically boosts their nutritional content.

Bivalve shellfish such as clams, mussels, and oysters are naturally quite nutritious. They already are high in protein and replete with minerals, so imagine the great effects supplements would give. As we consume their gut when we eat them, it means we practically eat what they ate. We also consume the nutrients that have been passed into their tissue.

Researchers at Britain’s University of Cambridge have recently developed vitamin-fortified microcapsules that are fed to shellfish before they are put up for sale.

These capsules were given a special design in order to achieve efficient capture and digestion. They are meant to be fed to farmed shellfish for eight hours shortly before the end of their “depuration” period, in which they’re held in cleansing tanks to allow purging of biological contaminants and physical impurities. 

After conducting lab tests, the researchers discovered that oysters that had eaten the capsules provided about 100 times more Vitamin A, and over 150 times more Vitamin D than regular oysters. Salmon is well known to be a good source of vitamins A and D. Shellfish even outperformed Salmon, delivering over 26 times the amount of Vitamin A, and more than four times the amount of Vitamin D.

The paper on the research was published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

It was determined that a serving of just two of the oysters per day provides enough Vitamin A and Vitamin D to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance.

Moreover, capsule-boosted shellfish should be significantly cheaper than multivitamin tablets. 

“We have demonstrated a cheap and effective way to get micronutrients into a sustainable and delicious source of protein,” says PhD student David Willer

Dr. David Aldridge strongly believes that “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.” His spin-off company, BioBullets, is now commercializing the technology.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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