Health Benefits of Krill Oil
Krill population is considered to be the largest source of animal biomass on earth. According to Neptune Technologies, the Canadian pioneer in krill oil extraction technology, there is approximately 500 million tons of krill inhabiting northern seas. Annual krill harvest is estimated at 110,000 tons.
Like fish oil, krill oil is a good source of omega-3 fats, docosahexanoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA).
Omega-3 fats come in various forms. Fish oil’s omega-3 fatty acids are in the triglyceride form, whereas in krill oil, they are in double chain phospholipid structure. In humans, omega-3 fats are in phospholipid form.
The EPA leg of a krill phospholipid is attached to a molecule of astaxanthin, a very powerful antioxidant. Because of their phospholipid structure, EPA and DHA in krill oil are more absorbable. They can easily pass through the mitochondria and the cellular nucleus. Aside from EPA and DHA, krill oil has a complex phospholipid profile, which includes phosphatidylcholine. This substance contains reductive-stress-reducing choline, which has a potent emulsifying effect.
Other bioactive components of krill oil are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and canthaxanthin, a potent antioxidant. Based on ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorptance Capacity) values, the antioxidant potency of krill oil is 48 times higher than that of fish oil.
Astaxanthin in krill oil fights the harmful effects of ultraviolet light on skin. Scientific data prove that krill oil is very effective in:
- lowering LDL-cholesterol
- raising HDL-cholesterol (as high as 44% in some cases)
- reducing blood sugar
Krill oil is also an effective treatment for pain and inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis and pain in general. It has been proven that krill oil helps in alleviating symptoms in PMS and dysmenorrhea. Krill oil is also considered as an effective treatment for adult ADHD. The above claims were based on clinical trials that compared krill oil with fish oil rather than a placebo.
Because krill oil is rapidly absorbed by the body and has a high antioxidant content, fishy burping and aftertaste are never a problem. However, people with shrimp allergy are not encouraged to take krill oil.
Krill oil is slightly more expensive than fish oil. Nonetheless, the health benefits you will get from krill oil are worth the price difference. Krill oil is exclusively produced and sold to various supplement manufacturers by Neptune Technologies, thus all products containing krill oil just came from the same source. The only difference would be in the duration of idle storage in warehouse, which is unknown just like that of fish oil. Because krill oil has high antioxidant content, the shelf life is much longer as compared with that of fish oil.
There are some cases in which krill oil is more preferable than fish oil and cod liver oil. And more often than not, krill oil is even a better option for most, for a number of reasons (notably its fast absorption into brain tissues owing to its unique phospholipid structure).
The only disadvantage of krill oil is its low level of vitamin D, which is almost as important as omega-3 fats. But you can compensate for this deficiency by having a lot of sun exposure, which is actually the best source of vitamin D.
Omega-3 Fats and Antioxidants
Those who believe that food supplements are no better than natural foods in providing essential nutrients may reconsider the nutritional composition of krill. Krill oil has a high level of omega-3 fats, which are lacking in an average American diet.
The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1:1. However, on average, most people’s omega-6 consumption is 20 times more than their omega-3 intake, and in extreme cases, is 50 times more than their omega-3 consumption.
Such nutritional imbalance poses serious health risks. Omega-3 deficiency is so rampant that mainstream health media now considers the lack of omega-3 fats in diet as among the most pressing health issues facing the modern society.
Such severe deficiency warrants the use of omega-3-rich food supplements like krill oil. Krill oil not only nourishes the body with omega-3 fats, but also provides it with a plenty of antioxidants as well.
It is not recommendable to take fish oil to compensate for omega-3 deficiency. Though high-quality fish oil has a lot of health benefits to offer, its lower antioxidant content makes it less ideal than krill oil. The more antioxidants you take, the more omega-3 fats are absorbed by the body. Thus krill oil’s high antioxidant and omega-3 contents make it the better choice.
Not only is fish oil low in antioxidants, it also increases your exposure to free radicals. Fish oil is perishable, and its oxidation produces cell-damaging free radicals. Those who take fish oil need more antioxidants to prevent the oxidation and formation of free radicals caused by the supplement. This doesn’t sound to be a sensible option for those who take supplements mainly for the purpose of fighting oxidative stress.
Antioxidants in Krill Oil Are 48 Times More Potent Than Fish Oil’s
Your body mainly relies on antioxidants to fight cell-damaging metabolic byproducts called free radicals.
Scientific studies prove that antioxidants play a critical role in improving heart functions, memory, and the immune system. Antioxidants have also anti-aging effects.
Antioxidants are widely available in many foods, but most people still lack them because of their unhealthy diet. Antioxidants in an average diet are often outnumbered by free radicals in the body.
To further convince you of the antioxidant potency of krill oil, which is 48 times higher than fish oil’s, consider the following comparative findings based on ORAC evaluations of the antioxidant property of genuine Neptune krill oils:
- Over 300 times more powerful than vitamin A and vitamin E
- Over 47 times more powerful than lutein
- Over 34 times more powerful than coenzyme Q-10
Krill oil also contains astaxanthin. This unique marine-source flavonoid bonds with EPA and DHA. This structure allows direct metabolism of antioxidants, thereby increasing their bioavailability.
Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fats From Krill Oil
Seafood is a good source of omega-3 fats. However, eating fish nowadays is tantamount to increasing your exposure to toxic substances. With the high concentration of toxic, industrial pollutants in seas, eating seafood is likely to increase PCBs, heavy metals, and radioactive poisons in your body.
Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have warned children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers to avoid certain seafood.
Krill oil may not be as heavily exposed to marine pollutants as other aquatic organisms, making them a safe substitute for seafood. Toxins are unlikely to accumulate among krill population as they rank low in the food chain.
Major health benefits of taking krill oil are:
- Improved memory, learning and ability to concentrate
- Regulation of blood sugar
- Relief of joint-related discomforts
- Anti-aging effects
- Protection for cellular membranes
- Regulation of cholesterol and other blood lipids
- Liver health
- Treatment of PMS symptoms
- Stronger immune system
- Elevated mood
- Healthy skin
Treating Inflammation and Arthritis Symptoms With Krill Oil
Several studies attest to the effectiveness of krill oil in managing chronic inflammation and arthritis. Notable among these studies is a paper published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition,” which investigated the therapeutic effects of Neptune Krill Oil (NKO) on the above diseases.
A seven-day long krill oil treatment alleviated inflammation among subjects by more than 19%, whereas the placebo group experienced a 16% increase in the levels of inflammatory C-reactive proteins. Reduction in pain, stiffness, and functional impairment was also seen among the krill oil users.
On the third week of treatment, krill oil users reported reduction in inflammation by almost 30%, whereas inflammation among the placebo group worsened by more than 32%.
The researchers therefore concluded that taking 300 mg of krill oil a day could dramatically alleviate inflammation and arthritic symptoms in as little as a week or two.
Neurological and Psychological Health Benefits of Krill Oil
“Alternative Medicine Review” reported that several double-blind, randomized, controlled trials proved the therapeutic effects of krill oil’s DHA and EPA on a number of brain and mental disorders, including:
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Dementia and other cognition problems
- Aggressive behavior
- Huntington disease, a neurological disease marked by abnormal body movements
It is also shown that krill oil alleviates major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. There is also a high hope on the potential use of krill oil in treating schizophrenia.
Don’t Skimp on Quality
Quality should be the major consideration when buying any food supplement. When it comes to krill oil, Neptune krill is held as the gold standard.
Neptune krill oil is derived from remote, deep-water seas. This ensures that the krill to be processed are not heavily contaminated by industrial pollutants. Neptune Technologies uses a harvesting procedure that meets international conservation standards. Neptune krill are processed through cold extraction method. This technology removes heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs, and other pollutants while preserving the bioactive components of krill.
So be sure that the food supplements you’ll buy contain the Neptune krill oil, not just generic krill oil.