Circulation enhancer


Improved health of the heart and circulatory system

Farmed salmon face a number of challenges associated with cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular capacity, robustness and survival are closely interlinked.


Farmed salmon face a number of challenges associated with cardiovascular health. A high incidence of malformations and infectious diseases affecting the heart may result in reduced cardiovascular capacity and reduced ability to cope with the effects of handling and stress.

Disorders of the heart and circulatory system are one of the greatest challenges within fish health today. HSMI, CMS and PD are all viral diseases affecting the heart, and in addition we see the occurrence of misshapen and undersized hearts, as well as heart failure with no apparent cause. These disorders pose threats to both fish health and fish welfare, and they also inflict financial losses on the breeder due to reduced growth and increased mortality. 

There are indications that elements of the considerable and unexplained background mortality at sea and increased mortality associated with lice treatment and other major processing operations may be associated with suboptimal performance of the heart and circulatory system.

Improved health of the heart and circulatory system

Qardio is BioMar’s newly developed feed designed to improve the heart and circulatory system in fish. The concept is based on principles acquired from human medicine and nutrition to do with the supply and distribution of essential fatty acids as key elements. A supply of the marine fatty acids EPA and DHA has been shown to have a range of positive effects on the body’s various organ systems.

Salmon have the ability to produce small amounts of these essential fatty acids from other fatty acids, but not nearly enough to utilise all the available health benefits. Extensive research has also shown that the practicality of this supply depends on how the fatty acids are absorbed and transported around the body, in other words which “carrier molecules” they are connected with. In this context, EPA and DHA from krill oil have a unique capacity for distribution and integration into biological membranes.  This is one of the mainstays of the Qardio effect.

HSMI, CMS and PD are viral infections prevalent in Norwegian aquaculture, and they all affect the musculature of the heart. These infections have a number of commonalities. They all have a primary phase where the virus gains a foothold in the body and causes a systemic inflammatory response leading to damage of the heart musculature.

There is no effective treatment against these diseases, and limiting the extent of damage must therefore be based on preventative measures rather than cure.  Such measures will be to

  1. increase the resistance of the fish to infection
  2. curb the damaging inflammatory process
  3. promote tissue healing

Additionally, it is also important to limit the stress load placed on weakened fish.  

The effect of marine fatty acids

Medicinal practice in humans tells us that an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 in the diet can lead to health risks. Disorders of the heart and circulatory system are the leading cause of death globally, and many widespread illnesses have been associated with inflammation. This applies to both people and fish  

High intake of inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to have beneficial effects on, for example, the heart and immune system. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be essential for brain development and good mental health.

The two most important and best documented omega-3 fatty acids are

  • EPA (20:5 n-3)
  • DHA (22:6 n-3). 

The cell membranes in both humans and salmon contain a naturally high content of omega-6 fatty acids.

  • As much as 15-20% of the membrane is the inflammation-countering omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid (ARA).
  • In comparison, the ratios of EPA and DHA are approximately 1% and 2.5% respectively. Higher concentrations of EPA and DHA in the diet lead to higher proportions of these being absorbed into the cell membranes of tissues, at the expense of ARA.

This will be significant for the outcome of an inflammatory process if the cell becomes affected. Changes in the membrane composition of inflammatory cells will bring about a number of additional effects and be significant for the immune system.