You might have heard or seen advertising touting krill oil, a supplement made from tiny sea animals that serve as a food source for many types of marine life. But will it work for you?
A great deal of scientific study has been devoted to answering this question. There is a substantial amount of evidence indicating there are several krill oil benefits. But first…
What Is Krill Oil?
Krill live mainly in the Southern Ocean, near Antarctica. A krill looks a bit like a shrimp, and it feeds on microscopic marine algae known as phytoplankton. Krill oil has become a popular supplement because it is high in healthy fat, known as omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with many different health benefits.1
Benefits of Krill Oil
Here are some of the benefits of krill oil to help you decide whether you should include it in your daily health routine.
1. Help with Menstrual Pain
Studies show that supplements with omega-3s, such as krill oil, could help reduce pain and other symptoms associated with menstruation.2 There is even evidence that shows some women who used krill oil saw such a reduction in discomfort that they didn’t have to use as much pain medication as before.3
2. Reduction in Joint Pain
Krill oil has anti-inflammatory properties, so it might help to reduce the joint pain and other issues faced by people suffering from conditions caused by swelling. In one study, researchers found that krill oil reduced not only impaired movement, but also pain and stiffness in people suffering from problems associated with swelling.4 Another study showed that people with knee pain who took krill oil saw an increased range of motion and a substantial reduction in discomfort.5
3. Improved Cardiovascular Health
The omega-3 in krill oil is known to be a healthy fat. This type of fat is considered to be good for the cardiovascular system.6 Research also shows that krill oil reduces the levels of unhealthy fats, such as triglycerides, and raises the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, in the blood.7,8 It has also been shown to lower the amount of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol.9 When too much LDL accumulates in the blood, it can lead to severe cardiovascular problems.10
It is believed that the healthy fat in krill oil is easier for your body to absorb into your bloodstream than fish oil. The reason is that the omega-3s in fish oil are typically stored in your body as triglycerides. The healthy fat in krill oil, on the other hand, is stored as phospholipids. Your body does a better job of absorbing these types of healthy fats.11
One of the additional benefits of krill oil is that it may also help improve the functioning of the lining of your blood vessels.12
4. Healthier Skin
The omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil have been shown to help promote healthy skin. In one study, participants who took supplements containing omega-3s saw a substantial reduction in their acne.13
Krill oil benefits include keeping skin healthy. A particular compound found in krill oil, known as astaxanthin, may also help keep your skin looking young. Participants in one study took supplements containing astaxanthin in conjunction with a topical application of the compound. After just eight weeks, they saw a significant improvement in the texture and moisture content of their skin. They also saw a reduction in age spots.14
5. Stronger Bones and Healthier Joints
As you get older, you may begin experiencing joint stiffness and soreness. These are the consequences of losing cartilage, as well as bone density.15 There is some evidence, however, that indicates omega-3 fatty acids could help strengthen your bones and joints. Researchers conducting one study found that omega-3s can help maintain bone density.16 They may also act as an anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce joint pain.17
6. Potential Help with Weight Loss
Omega-3 acids may even help you meet your weight-loss goals. According to one study, participants who consumed a little more than a gram of omega-3s on a daily basis had an increased feeling of fullness, or satiety, for up to two hours after eating.18 Other studies show that omega-3s can increase the rate of metabolism after you eat, as well as the amount of fat you burn when you work out.19
Comparing Krill Oil to Fish Oil
So, should you stay with fish oil, or move on to krill oil as your supplement of choice? Both of them contain omega-3s, which, as you’ve already seen, provide many health benefits.
In addition, krill oil capsules are typically smaller than fish oil, so they’re easier to take. From a sustainability standpoint, krill not only reproduce quickly, they are also found in abundant numbers in the ocean.
Krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which you now know may help your skin, and offer other potential health benefits. For example, it helps to fight some of the damage that oxidation can do to your body.20
Oxidation occurs naturally. In fact, it plays a very important role in helping you get the energy you need to be able to function properly.21
But oxidation also has a bad side. For example, whenever you see a rusted piece of metal, that’s oxidation at work. Inside your body, oxidation can cause some issues. The creation of free radicals is one of the worst. These molecules are missing an electron, and they search your body to find a replacement. Free radicals really don’t care where they get it. They’ll often take electrons from the cells that make up your tissue and muscles. When they steal electrons from those cells, it can result in severe bodily damage.22
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant. This means it will freely give up an electron to a free radical, sparing your body’s tissue and muscles from harm. In fact, research indicates that astaxanthin does a much better job of fighting free radicals than vitamin C or vitamin E, two of the most effective antioxidants around.23
Final Thoughts on Krill Oil
Krill oil contains ingredients that have been shown to help boost your health in many different ways. These benefits include improved cardiovascular health, stronger bones, and healthier skin. But, just like any supplement, make sure you speak to your doctor first before you add krill oil to your daily health regimen.
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