What is krill oil and what does it do?
Krill are tiny, shrimp-like animals in the sea that are eaten mostly by whales. These krill contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids as well as other healthy fats and people have found a way to capture them, squeeze their oil out of them and put it in a nice little capsule for us to consume.
Why would anyone want to take krill oil supplements? Krill oil is similar to fish oil in that it delivers healthy fats, called Omega 3 fatty acids, that we all need in order to have a healthy body. It can be hard to get enough of these healthy fats in our diet and our body doesn’t make this necessary nutrient. Supplementation is the smart way to go if you feel you need to up your healthy fats intake.
Krill oil contains anywhere from 12 to 50% of its body weight in healthy fats, depending on the time of year. The fats in krill oil are primarily Omega 3’s but there are also phospholipids, and acids like mystiric acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid.
Krill oil also contains vitamin A, E, and the B vitamins 9 and 12. It also contains choline which is a great combination because it helps to transport all these healthy fats in krill oil around the body. Astaxanthin, which gives krill their red color, is a powerful antioxidant that aids in the prevention of omega 3 oxidation.
What are the benefits of krill oil?
There are many benefits of krill oil. The different fats and vitamins that krill oil contain make the benefits wide-ranging and can be beneficial for just about everyone.
Krill oil blocks inflammation in two different ways. It reduces the C-reactive protein (or CRP). This protein is important in fighting off infections but when the levels begin to elevate, it causes inflammation. A study done on 90 patients who suffer from arthritis and disease that supplemented with krill oil showed a marked reduction in CRP levels.
Krill oil also reduces the TNF-a, another inflammation marker. A study was done on mice who ate a high-fat diet that were given krill oil and their TNF-a levels showed improvement.
Krill oil contains high levels of DHA and EPA as well as phospholipids that protect the brain from inflammation and oxidative damage. This helps to reduce the onset of brain diseases such as depression, autism, dementia, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.
Also, krill oil helps to combat the aging of the brain. It helps to maintain a more positive memory and a more optimum cognitive function.
Seafood has long been considered beneficial for treating depression symptoms and krill oil is not excluded from that consideration. Because of the high levels of DHA in krill oil, it was proven to reduce the negative effects of the brain resulting from depression.
Relieve arthritis symptoms
Because krill oil is so anti-inflammatory, it does wonders for those suffering from arthritis.
A study done on 90 people who suffered from arthritis showed that in just 7-14 days a supplementation of 300 milligrams of krill oil a day reduced their pain significantly.
Another study showed that 50 people who had limited range of motion due to mild knee pain had improved symptoms with krill oil supplementation.
Clearly, anyone suffering from joint pain or arthritis due to inflammation should be supplementing with krill oil.
Protect the heart
Krill oil improves heart health in so many different ways. First of all the high Omega 3 fatty acid concentration in krill oil helps to prevent heart disease.
Also, krill oil increases the good cholesterol and reduces the bad cholesterol. It also reduces high blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Krill oil combats diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels and also by reducing insulin sensitivity.
A study done on 48 people who had type 2 diabetes showed significant improvements in their insulin sensitivity after four weeks of supplementation with krill oil.
Prevents dry eye
Since low omega 3 levels are associated with dry eye, it makes sense that supplementing with krill oil helps to prevent dry eye.
In a trial study, 54 participants who had dry eye supplemented with krill oil for 90 days. The results showed significant improvement in tear production, reduced redness and inflammation in the eye.
Women will be glad to know that krill oil can help them with virtually all of the symptoms associated with PMS, or premenstrual syndrome.
The EPA and DHA in krill oil help to smooth out the mood swings, depression, and fatigue. In a study done on 70 women, krill oil supplementation helped to reduce stress, depression, and irritability. They even used fewer pain relievers during their supplementation.
Reduces Colitis symptoms
Colitis is the inflammation of the colon, in whole or in part. Krill oil helps to reduce the inflammation that causes colitis and also combats oxidative damage in the colon with its high levels of antioxidants.
Reduces growth of cancer cells
Krill oil has potential anti-cancer properties. In a study done on three different human cancer cell lines, the krill oil stopped the growth of these cells.
This may be a potential alternative for chemotherapy and radiation and has a lot fewer side effects. This will improve the quality of life of cancer patients dramatically.
May lower cholesterol
Fish oil has been used and proven to be effective at lowering cholesterol and improving cardiovascular health.
Krill oil contains the same health benefiting properties as fish oil but lacks the studies and clinical trials to prove its effectiveness of lowering cholesterol.
There is one very promising study showing positive results for the use of krill oil in managing cholesterol levels.
May help combat obesity
Krill oil’s healthy fats block the endocannabinoid pathway, which helps to keep hunger at bay. When you eat healthy, low fat, low sugar diets (which is a low-calorie diet meant for weight loss), your body might be full, but not satisfied.
By making it easier to stick to a healthy diet, krill oil may help combat obesity. We will discuss this in more depth in this article.
Krill oil vs. fish oil vs. salmon oil
There are many differences in krill oil, fish oil, and salmon oil even though they are used for mostly the same health benefits and healthy fats. This portion of the article will bring out the differences and similarities between the three in three different areas. This will help you decide which is best for you.
All three of these omega 3 oils contain DHA and EPA, however krill oil contains so much more. Krill oil contains phospholipids that help the absorption of all the healthy fats. Krill oil also contains astaxanthin.
This amazing antioxidant is a crucial part of the power krill oil has over fish oil. This one ingredient is responsible for keeping the krill oil preserved and stable so you can store krill oil longer than fish oil. Also, astaxanthin plays a role in virtually every benefit listed in this article from krill oil supplementation.
Even though fish oil has been proven to contain more milligrams of both DHA and EPA than krill oil and salmon oil, the body isn’t able to absorb these fats as well as krill oil can.
Since the DHA and EPA’s in krill oil are bound to phospholipids the body actually absorbs more of these fatty acids from krill oil than fish oil. This study showed that a higher blood plasma levels of DHA and EPA came from krill oil supplementation than from fish oil.
Salmon oil is usually extracted from farmed salmon which makes it very hard to gauge the DHA and EPA content in the fish. Again, the omega 3’s in salmon oil is not as bioavailable as krill oil omega 3s and salmon oil has even less DHA and EPA than krill oil.
Safety and Convenience
High-quality krill oil contains much fewer heavy metal levels than fish oil or salmon oil. Most fish are farmed in huge numbers and pumped with dyes and chemicals.
Yes, krill oil costs more but you have to take fewer capsules than fish oil for your body to absorb the desired amount of omega 3s.
Also, the capsules of krill oil are much smaller and easier to swallow than those of fish oil or salmon oil and taste much better.
You know those burps and reflux that is commonly known to come with fish oil supplementation? High-quality krill oil comes with none of that.
Can I use krill oil for weight loss?
Much of the challenges of weight loss comes from an indescribable craving for sugar and fat that comes with the changing of diet. Our bodies get used to the fat that we eat on a daily basis and it begins to need it on a purely emotional level.
That same endocannabinoid pathway that was spoken of before releases what is called leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and metabolism. If you have a high body fat percentage your leptin count raises but your body begins to become resistant to it.
It still craves that fat and so you keep eating to fill that need and usually it comes from unhealthy foods. The healthy fats in krill oil fill that need in your body without the excess calories and unhealthy foods.
Krill oil helps you to have more self-control in your eating habits and even helps your metabolism to burn fat at a higher rate.
How much krill oil to take?
Because of the lack of studies done, there is no clinical recommended dosage for krill oil supplementation. When taking into consideration the fact that fish oil is very similar to krill oil benefits, following the recommended dosage of fish oil supplementation seems to be a very logical path.
However, the absorption of the omega 3s from krill oil is at a higher rate than fish oil so you only need to take 2/3rds the amount of krill oil as that of fish oil.
The American Heart Association recommends 250-500mg of DHA and EPA each day. Krill oil contains about 250mg of these healthy fats in each 1000mg capsule, depending on the brand. Taking this into consideration you can take 1 or 2 capsules per day depending on your needs.
What is the best time to take krill oil?
Since krill oil helps to increase your daily function with joints, focus and mental clarity and even energy levels, it makes sense to take your krill oil supplements first thing in the morning.
This allows its beneficial properties to take effect and help you throughout your day. Also, taking it first thing in the morning prevents anything from getting in the way of the regularity of supplementation or forgetting to take it.
Krill oil side effects and risks
Because krill oil is a relatively new supplement on the market, there isn’t as many trials, studies, and findings as there are about fish oil. Because of the lack of proof, the American Heart Association doesn’t recognize krill oil as a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids… yet.
Even though there is little solid proof, what is out there so far is very convincing. There are a few side effects to be aware of and can differ from person to person.
It’s important to know that krill are shellfish and if you are allergic to shellfish, such as lobster, crab, or shrimp, you should not take this supplement.
It’s also important to know that krill oil has similar properties to fish oil, which has been reported to thin the blood. Anyone who is taking blood-thinning medicine should not use krill oil as it can cause excessive bleeding.
Some common side effects include fishy breath, headache, upset stomach, diarrhea or constipation, and bloating.
What to look for when buying krill oil?
When looking for a krill oil supplement you will have to do a little digging and research. Look for krill oil that is labeled to come from the waters of the deep Antarctica. These krill are naturally lower in toxins and heavy metals like mercury, which can be harmful to our health.
You will also have to read the nutrition label carefully. You want a krill oil to have at least 300 mg of DHA and EPA combined. They usually have a higher percentage of EPA than DHA.
Also, check for the phospholipid content. Without phospholipids in the label, you are most likely getting a cheap version of krill oil. Phospholipids are what set krill oil apart from fish oil. Without a good amount of these healthy fats you are wasting your money
Last but not least, your krill oil should have a good amount of the powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin. This is a key component of the beneficial qualities of krill oil. The higher the amount of this ingredient, the better.