A tiny shrimp like crustacean species called krill is found in the oceans surrounding
Antarctica. Krill are used for aquaculture, sport fishing bait, aquarium feed and as food. The oil extracted from
these krill is called Krill oil. Krill oil has gained a lot of importance because years of
scientific research and clinical studies have proved that it has a lot of health benefits. It is sold as a
nutritional supplement and also helps in treating high cholesterol, aching joints, blood pressure problems, PMS
symptoms, etc. It is safe and natural. And importantly, it is renewable. It is abundantly found in the cold waters
Krill Oil Benefits:
What gives krill oil an edge over other marine oils is the fact that it is full of healthy
omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids and very potent antioxidants. It is this unique combination of essential
ingredients that is responsible for the health benefits that krill oil gives.
Omega Fatty Acids - Krill oil has a healthy balance of Omega 6 and Omega
3 fatty acids, both of which are important in your diet. These fatty acids fight infection, help
prevent inflammation related diseases like heart ailments, diabetes and arthritis and prevent blood
clots. They also help to lower blood pressure.
Importance of Phospholipids - These are fats that keep our cells working
by forming a protective membrane around each cell to block out toxins and disease forming free
radicals. The fats in krill oil resemble the phospholipids found in the brain that maintain the brain
chemical that controls the memory, sleep patterns, muscle function, mood and organs like the heart.
Antioxidants - Besides keeping you healthy, the rich mixture of
antioxidants in krill oil sustain its shelf life. Through krill oil your body receives a supply of
vitamins A, D and E, minerals like sodium, potassium and zinc and large quantities of the B-Complex
nutrient, choline. But above all, the most powerful antioxidant that krill oil carries is astaxanthin.
This nutrient fights free radicals within the body and protects the blood- brain barrier. This leads to
protection of the brain, eye and central nervous system.
Premenstrual Syndrome - Studies suggest that krill
oil can help to reduce the symptoms of PMS.
Cholesterol - Krill oil is being researched as a natural remedy to lower
bad cholesterol. In a conducted study it proved to be more effective in reducing LDL and increasing HDL
compared to fish oil.
Arthritis - When compared to a placebo in a study in the Journal of the
American College of Nutrition, krill oil was found to be more effective at reducing arthritis symptoms
Astaxanthin - This bright red colored pigment is what gives the krill
their pink color. It performs the function of crossing the blood brain barrier and protecting the brain
and nervous system from free radical damage. It also protects the eyes and skin from harmful UV
radiation. It also helps in regulating hormones.
Other health benefits - Krill oil helps you maintain a healthy immune
system and improves cognitive reasoning. It also develops a better memory and increases concentration
and focus. The cell membranes are protected because a virtual wall is built around them when you
consume krill oil. Cancer causing free radicals are blocked and cannot latch onto cells. Krill oil
helps in reversing signs of ageing by slowing the deterioration of collagen.
The side effects of Krill Oil:
Just like every coin has two sides, krill oil has certain side effects along with all the
benefits it provides. It is best to consult a doctor before including it in your diet. While it may be advantageous
to most, some people may not take to it. Certain side effects are:
Diarrhea - Due to the high content of fatty acids in krill oil some
people may suffer from loose stools. These supplements may also cause indigestion.
Allergies - Anyone with shellfish or other fish allergies could prove to
be allergic to krill oil. This is because krill is a species of shellfish. The allergic reaction could
be moderate to severe and result in hives, swelling of the neck, tongue, face, lips or the inside of
the throat. One could experience severe abdominal pain, loose motions, indigestion, lightheadedness,
fainting, troubled breathing or a tickling in the mouth.
Drug Interactions - If you are taking any blood thinners - anti platelet
or anticoagulant medication like aspirin, heparin, warfarin, non steroidal anti inflammatory
medications, etc should avoid taking krill oil supplements without consulting a physician. If you are
taking any herbs or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding then you must be cautious while
taking any krill oil supplements.
Krill Oil dosage:
Just like any other supplement or vitamins, taking the right dosage of krill oil is very
important. Though it is non toxic you are better off consulting on the appropriate dosage with your physician.
Krill oil is quite powerful and can have a positive effect on your body quite fast. You can look at
different guidelines on the right dosage but the exact dosage for each individual will vary depending on the size
and metabolic rate of the person.
One of the normal krill oil dosage guideline suggests:
Small People - People with a small frame should start with a loading
dosage of 2 krill oil gel caps - 2 grams - per day for a few weeks. Then they can adjust to a
maintenance dosage of 1 gel cap - 1 gram per day.
Average Sized People - They should start with a loading dose of 1.5
grams per day - 3 gel caps - for about two weeks and then adjust the maintenance dose to 1 gram per
Large People - People with large frames can follow the same loading
dosage as for average sized people but should continue taking it for about 30 days after which they can
switch to the maintenance dose of 1 gram per day.
Krill Oil vs Fish Oil:
Omega 3 is an important part of your diet and DHA and EPA are very vital Omega 3 Essential fatty acids. Both fish oil and krill oil contain these fatty acids.
Both are believed to reduce inflammation, promote heart and cardiovascular health, elevate mood levels and
promote fat loss. While both fish oil and krill oil are good nutritional supplements, each has some benefits
over the other.
Amount of antioxidants in Krill oil - It is believed that krill oil
contains more antioxidants like astaxanthin compared to certain brands of fish oil. Astaxanthin is
easily absorbed into the body, giving good health benefits. However, the top brands of fish oil contain
added astaxanthin and provide a larger quantity of it compared to krill oil.
The cost of DHA - The general consensus is that DHA is more important than EPA. Around 50% of the makeup of the brain is
DHA and when you buy omega 3
supplements, it is primarily for the DHA. Calculating the cost of the DHA that you are buying becomes a
good point to compare krill oil and fish oil. When comparing krill oil and fish oil capsules you will
find that the DHA in krill oil soft gels turns out to be significantly more expensive than the DHA
present in fish oil capsules. Krill oil is quite low in DHA.
Contamination Levels - Even though the common perception is that krill
oil is less contaminated compared to fish oil, this is not really the case. Airborne contamination and
man made pollution are affecting all parts of the world. All forms of omega 3 oils are likely to show
some degree of contamination. It is important to check on the cleanliness levels of supplements that
you buy. The only way to buy completely clean, good quality Omega 3 fatty acid supplements is to buy
ones that have undergone rigorous decontamination. A good way to ensure this is by checking the
certificate of analysis of the oil which is usually found on the website.
Scientific studies showing the effectiveness of krill oil and fish oil
- Numerous studies have confirmed that DHA and EPA omega 3 fats improve your health.
But there is no concrete evidence that krill oil supplements are superior to fish oil capsules.
Additional Vitamins A and D in Krill oil - Krill oil supplements are
rich in vitamins A and D. These are absent in fish oil. But these are beneficial only if you are not
taking any other multivitamins. However, excess intake of the vitamins may not be a good thing.
Taste - The liquid krill oil supplements often have a strong, fishy
flavor that may prove to be unpleasant to many people. You can buy a liquid supplement which has added
fruit flavors or one that has been treated to remove the bad tasting impurities.
Krill Oil Supplements:
There are several different companies like NKO, Mercola and Mega Red manufacturing
krill oil supplements. The krill oil from the Antarctic is considered to be the best for your health. Neptune
Technologies and Bioresources Inc Company from Canada manufacture a superior krill oil supplement. They even sell
their krill oil to other companies.
Krill oil supplement options:
Your intake of the krill oil supplement can be in the form of liquid, capsules or soft gels.
While you will derive health benefits from all there are certain points to keep in mind. The liquid krill oil
supplements often have a strong, fishy flavor that may prove to be unpleasant to many people. You can buy a liquid
supplement which has added fruit flavors or one that has been treated to remove the bad tasting impurities.
However, you can opt for soft gel capsules to avoid this problem altogether. They are encapsulated and easy to
swallow and leave no aftertaste in the mouth.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that certain studies have found that the side effects
of krill oil are more prominent in people taking it in the liquid form compared to the soft gels. However, the soft
gels are usually significantly more expensive.
Krill oil for women:
Krill oil has several benefits but one must keep in mind that even though a lot of companies
claim that it is free of any type of contamination, this is not necessarily true. Being in the North Atlantic Ocean
there is a high chance of contamination, especially by organochlorine pesticides. For this reason pregnant women
must be very careful and consult with a physician before they start taking krill oil supplements. Mercola produces
a krill oil supplement with Evening Primrose oil to help women with hormonal imbalance.
Krill oil for Kids:
Krill oil has the potential to improve concentration, focus and memory. All these things are
beneficial for kids, especially those children who find it difficult to settle down and concentrate on their work.
The choline and DHA present in krill oil supplements promote good health and help in brain development.
Antarctic krill oil:
Pure Antarctic krill oil contains a lot of essential fatty acids, vitamins, etc. With our hectic
lifestyles in which we do not always pay attention to our nutrition, krill oil supplements can help promote good
health. However, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before you start on any supplements. They can guide
you on whether krill oil supplements are right for you and also help you determine the correct dosage for your body
type and frame.
As can be seen krill
oil provide overall good health benefits for all age groups.