You’ve probably heard of fish oil, but krill oil? What is that? Well, it’s a type of oil that’s derived from a creature of the sea as well. A krill—a tiny shrimp-like animal—is responsible for powering the majority of the world’s marine life. And it’s only two to five centimeters long! For example, it’s the go-to meal of whales, seals, penguins and more.

Krill oil, a supplement available to those of us on land, is loaded with antioxidant and omega-3s—just like fish oil.1

But what makes it different? We all know how overwhelming supplements can be – just walk into any vitamin store and the shelves of bottles from floor to ceiling are enough to make anyone a little weary.

So why is this the one we need in our routine?

Krill oil has been linked a ton of health benefits, enough that it’s worth investigating:

Where does it come from?

Obviously, krill oil is derived from krill (Euphausiacea superba), a tiny crustacean.2 They feed off nutrient-rich phytoplankton and zooplankton. Everything else feeds off of krill.3

There are approximately 50 million tons of krill in the Antarctic Ocean alone. Considering that krill live in every ocean around the world, the krill population is hard to fathom. With numbers reaching the millions – that we know about – krill is a highly sustainable source of omega-3s and antioxidants.4

Manufacturers employ a variety of different methods to make krill oil. These include cold-vacuum extraction processes, using solvents to draw out the oil, and pressing/separating liquids from each other.5

57979935 – omega 3-6-9 fish oil yellow softgels on wooden board into airtight glass jar

Multiple Benefits

Krill oil has been suggested to have a high bioavailability – meaning it stays in the body longer and its effects can last longer. It also has high contents of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two of the fatty acids found in omega-3s.6,7

It also brings to the table an essential nutrient, choline (a water-soluble vitamin), and the antioxidant astaxanthin.8 Astaxanthin, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, is linked to many health benefits. It is thought to provide body tissue protection by stopping cell death.9

Because krill oil stays in the body longer, it’s health benefits can possibly last longer. This is exciting, because krill oil has been suggested to help our bodies in a number of ways:

Chronic Inflammation10 One study suggests that a daily 300 mg dose of krill oil could stop inflammation and even reduce symptoms linked to arthritis.
Hyperlipidemia11 Krill oil is believed to help manage this condition, in which there are too many fat particles in the blood, by reducing cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
Menstruation Management12,13 Intake of krill oil supplements was suggested to help manage painful menstruation and the common symptoms that come along with it, such as breast tenderness and irritability.
Metabolism14,15 Krill oil has been suggested to help the metabolism by increasing EPA, DHA, and DPA (omega-3 fatty acids) in plasma.

Latest Studies

While there are a lot of studies on krill oil and its effects on animals, the effects on humans are still being researched. All signs point to some pretty amazing benefits, and the latest studies suggest even more good news to come in the future.

Cardiovascular Benefits

We’ve already mentioned krill oil is associated with lowering cholesterol levels. Now, it is emerging as a suggested power player to aid the cardiovascular system.16

For those who can’t achieve the required dietary intake of omega-3s or need higher doses, krill oil is recommended as a more efficient supplement. Most krill oil tablets are small, but they offer the same amount of antioxidants and omega-3s, important and well-documented for heart health.17

Neurological Benefits

Krill oil has been suggested to help improve memory.18,19
The supplement helped to change the oxyhemoglobin (blood) concentrations at a significantly greater rate than triglycerides, in a recent study. The change in blood concentrations in the elderly patients – believed to be due to krill oil’s omega-3s and fatty acids – was suggested to help to activate cognitive functions. The study suggests that krill oil could possibly improve neurological functions and cognition.20

Immune Function and Exercise Performance

A recent study investigated the effects of 6-week krill oil supplementation on exercise performance and immune function markers.21

Krill oil was suggested to increase cell growth and production as well as increase natural killer cells (white blood cells unique to the immune system) three hours after exercise in young, healthy males and females without modifying performance.22

So basically, having krill oil by your side could possibly enhance your immune system and benefit you after exercise.

Buying Guide to Krill Oil

When buying krill oil, there are a couple of things to consider as you browse the supplement aisle and/or vitamin store.

64052403 – picture of a krill oil caspule in front of a small chili bell paprika on white background

1. Capsule Size

You need to pay attention to how many milligrams are in each capsule. The common recommended krill oil capsule has 500 mg (1,000 mg capsules are controversial, with scientists saying the milligram amount can cause capsules to leak), but it varies. A good way to approach the best krill oil value is to divide the price by total milligrams.23

2. The Amount of Phospholipids in the Krill Dose

The omega-3s in krill oil are bonded to phospholipids. Paying attention to the amount of phospholipids is important, especially if you’re trying to get more omega-3s into your diet. The phospholipids allow the body to absorb omega-3s.24

For example, for a 1,000 mg dose of pure krill oil, there should be a minimum of 400 mg of phospholipids.25

If you’re not seeing this information, you’re probably not looking at a good source of krill oil.

3. Price

First off, krill are harder to catch, so they’re going to be pricier than fish oil. If you’re looking for cheap krill oil, it’s probably not going to be krill oil at all, but a knock-off version of fish oil mixed with some other ingredients.26

To get quality krill oil, you might have to sacrifice a penny or two.27

For example, a bottle of krill oil selling at around $14 is most likely an imitation – producers of krill oil have suggested that it isn’t possible to produce real krill oil at that retail price.28

Recommended Daily Dose

A krill oil supplement dosage is usually 1 to 3 grams daily. This amount has been used in clinical trials.29

Conclusion

It’s amazing that an animal measuring only centimeters in length is linked to so many different kinds of health benefits for the human body. Whether it’s heart health, help with inflammation, or neurological health, there’s nothing to lose by checking out some krill oil supplements.

Just make sure you’re getting the right quality and quantity you need to reap the greatest health benefits.

Sources


1 Tou JC e. Krill for human consumption: nutritional value and potential health benefits. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2007. Accessed November 19, 2016.
2 Krill Oil – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com. Examinecom. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016.
3 What, Where and How – All About Krill Oil. Krilloilcom. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016.
4 What, Where and How – All About Krill Oil. Krilloilcom. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016.
5 World Fishing & Aquaculture | New extraction process produces high quality chemical-free krill oil. Worldfishingnet. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016.
6 Krill Oil – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com. Examinecom. 2016. Accessed November 19, 2016.
7 Schuchardt J, Schneider I, Meyer H, Neubronner J, von Schacky C, Hahn A. Incorporation of EPA and DHA into plasma phospholipids in response to different omega-3 fatty acid formulations – a comparative bioavailability study of fish oil vs. krill oil. 2011.
8 Bengtson Nash S, Schlabach M, Nichols P. A Nutritional-Toxicological Assessment of Antarctic Krill Oil versus Fish Oil Dietary Supplements. 2014.
9  L D. Evaluation of the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2007. Accessed November 19, 2016.
10 L D. Evaluation of the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2007. Accessed November 21, 2016.
11 Bunea R e. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2004. Accessed November 21, 2016.
12 Krill Oil – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com. Examinecom. 2016. Accessed November 21, 2016.
13 Sampalis F e. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2003. Accessed November 21, 2016.
14 Krill Oil – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com. Examinecom. 2016. Accessed November 21, 2016.
15 Ulven S, Kirkhus B, Lamglait A et al. Metabolic Effects of Krill Oil are Essentially Similar to Those of Fish Oil but at Lower Dose of EPA and DHA, in Healthy Volunteers. 2011.
16 Backes JHoward P. Krill Oil for Cardiovascular Risk Prevention: Is It for Real?. 2014.
17 Backes JHoward P. Krill Oil for Cardiovascular Risk Prevention: Is It for Real?. 2014. Accessed November 21, 2016.
18 Krill Oil – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com. Examinecom. 2016. Accessed November 21, 2016.
19 Konagai C, Yanagimoto, Hayamizu, Li, Tsuji, Koga. Effects of krill oil containing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in phospholipid form on human brain function: a randomized controlled trial in healthy elderly volunteers. 2013.
20 Konagai C, Yanagimoto, Hayamizu, Li, Tsuji, Koga. Effects of krill oil containing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in phospholipid form on human brain function: a randomized controlled trial in healthy elderly volunteers. 2013.
21 Da Boit M, Mastalurova I, Brazaite G, McGovern N, Thompson K, Gray S. The Effect of Krill Oil Supplementation on Exercise Performance and Markers of Immune Function. 2015.
22 Da Boit M, Mastalurova I, Brazaite G, McGovern N, Thompson K, Gray S. The Effect of Krill Oil Supplementation on Exercise Performance and Markers of Immune Function. 2015.
23 How to choose and review brands of krill oil | krill-oil.wellwise.org. Krill-oilwellwiseorg. 2016. Available at: http://krill-oil.wellwise.org/krill-oil-reviews. Accessed November 21, 2016.
24 How to choose and review brands of krill oil | krill-oil.wellwise.org. Krill-oilwellwiseorg. 2016. Available at: http://krill-oil.wellwise.org/krill-oil-reviews. Accessed November 21, 2016.
25 How to choose and review brands of krill oil | krill-oil.wellwise.org. Krill-oilwellwiseorg. 2016. Available at: http://krill-oil.wellwise.org/krill-oil-reviews. Accessed November 21, 2016.
26  How to choose and review brands of krill oil | krill-oil.wellwise.org. Krill-oilwellwiseorg. 2016. Available at: http://krill-oil.wellwise.org/krill-oil-reviews. Accessed November 21, 2016.
27 How to choose and review brands of krill oil | krill-oil.wellwise.org. Krill-oilwellwiseorg. 2016. Available at: http://krill-oil.wellwise.org/krill-oil-reviews. Accessed November 21, 2016.
28 How to choose and review brands of krill oil | krill-oil.wellwise.org. Krill-oilwellwiseorg. 2016. Available at: http://krill-oil.wellwise.org/krill-oil-reviews. Accessed November 21, 2016.
29 Krill Oil – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com. Examinecom. 2016. Accessed November 21, 2016.

Comments