Krill oil has been a popular supplement for years due to its wide array of health benefits. After much evidence-based research, many experts now believe supplemental krill oil may be more popular than fish oil supplements.
So, how do you know if your body requires krill oil or fish oil? This question can be tricky to answer; krill oil seems to offer more health benefits, and is often marketed as being the leader of all omega-3 fatty acid supplements. The increased popularity of krill oil might be due to its other nutritional components. Let’s take a look at why, and how, krill oil may be more beneficial for your body.
Composition Of Krill Oil
Krill oil comes from small shrimp-like crustaceans’ called krill. Comprised of 40% phospholipids, 30% DHA and EPA, it also contains vitamin A, and vitamin E. DHA and EPA are two types of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) function exclusively via your cell membranes. Here’s the exciting part… a whopping 60% of your brain weight consists of phospholipids! (1). This means that krill oil may have the cutting edge advantage for your health for the optimal functioning of your brain.
Why Your Body Requires DHA and EPA
Omega-3 fatty acids, which comprises krill oil, are essential for optimal functioning of your body. Especially your brain. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are essential nutrients that enhance quality of life and lower the risk of premature death (2). Omega-3 DHA is essential for the early brain development of infants and for maintaining the brain structure and function in adults.
Deficiency Signs Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA may include:
- Poor Vision
- High Inflammatory Levels
- Poor Heart Health
- Mental Disorders
- Poor Brain Functioning
- Deteriorating Bone And Joint Health
Some of the most nutritious foods which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include: egg yolks, hemp seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, flax seeds, hemp seeds, anchovies, sardines, herring, wild-caught salmon, chia seeds, mackerel, cod liver oil and walnuts. Try to eat wild-caught or organic foods. They contain lower levels of contamination and more nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. There are many oils which contain omega-3 fatty acids including: hemp oil, walnut oil and algae oil.
Krill Oil Benefits
Studies recommend a combination of DHA and EPA. Krill oil contains both. It benefits a host of health conditions like: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism dyspraxia, dyslexia and aggression (3). Accelerated cognitive decline may correlate with people who have low levels of DHA/EPA.
It also provides excellent anti-inflammatory activity (4). Oxidative stress and inflammation leads to the development of all inflammatory diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Krill oil improves symptoms via anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation mechanisms.
10 Most Incredible Benefits Of Krill Oil
Krill oil may be considered brain food for cognition, behavior and mood, but what other health conditions might it help? Omega-3 fatty acids from krill oil and other deep-sea fish provide outstanding anti-inflammatory benefits to protect against cardiovascular disease.
People training or working out at high intensities on a regular basis become vulnerable to certain health conditions. They have a higher potential for a compromised gut barrier function due to inflammation by heat-shock proteins, suppressed immune function and inflammatory joint pain. Krill oil shows benefits in assisting with the management of these conditions. Research shows that krill oil improved intestinal barrier integrity and epithelial restoration during inflammation. It also helps with controlling bacterial adhesion and invasion to epithelial cells (6). This suggests that krill oil reduces intestinal inflammation, something common in athletes.
2. Brain Conditions: ADHD, Depression, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Schizophrenia, Dementia, Epilepsy, Autism
One study evaluated the effects of krill oil on cognition and depression-like behavior (7). The results of this study indicated that active components (EPA, DHA and the powerful antioxidant ‘astaxanthin’) in krill oil facilitate learning processes and provide antidepressant-like effects.
Dyspraxia is a brain-based condition which makes it hard to coordinate physical movement due to muscle weakness and/or lower intelligence. Kids with dyspraxia lack balance and good posture. Dyspraxia can be frustrating for the child and the family of the child. The fatty acids found in krill oil help with dyspraxia and autism. Further trials continue on the effect of omega-3 fatty acids for these two conditions.
From studies done so far, dyslexia and ADHD children improve with omega-3 fatty acids. Although both omega-3 and omega-6 are essential for optimal brain function, the omega-3 fatty acids prove the most beneficial. Imbalances of healthy and unhealthy fatty acids often contribute to a range of behavioral and learning difficulties including: ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism.
Studies suggest that the free fatty acid (FFA) extract of krill oil helps with the treatment of cancer (8). Primarily because your body can absorb all of the omega-3 fatty acids from krill oil. Further its antioxidant, astaxanthin, fights free radicals. Many studies suggest that free radicals may cause chronic inflammation, and sometimes cancer. More scientific studies are needed to be carried out on this. However, along with many other therapies and nutrients, a higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, which krill oil contains, may lower the risk of several cancers, including breast and prostate cancers (9).
Diabetes results in sugar being stored in other organs. Krill oil helps your body control this by inhibiting the activity of glucose-6-phosphatase. Krill oil may help with decreasing the amount of sugar released from your liver and may also promote fatty acid oxidation in your liver. Studies suggest that krill oil may help with blood glucose control for people with type 2 diabetes (10). Krill oil potentially prevents and reverses the effects of insulin resistance.
Deteriorating vision and the need to wear glasses is often associated with ‘old age.’ However, some suggest it’s due to a lack of specific nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids (11). Before going out and buying your first pair of glasses, try taking krill oil for a few months. It also helps with dry eye syndrome.
There are numerous to boost your energy. Some suggest that omega-3 fatty acids increase energy both mentally and physically. By taking a supplement of DHA and EPA, you just might boost your mental energy by increasing your focus and attention. Deficiencies of DHA and EPA relate to psychological fatigue, illness and memory-related difficulties.
7. Heart Conditions; High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol
Krill oil promotes your cardiovascular system by improving the levels of fully oxygenated blood flowing throughout your body (12). Heart disease is sometimes a secondary disease to diabetes. Krill may reduce the risk of diabetes developing into heart disease thanks to its ability to aid your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
8. Inflammatory Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis
Popularly used for arthritis, it helps with pain and stiffness. Omega-3 fatty acids lower inflammatory levels in the body (13). Fish oil may help. However, krill oil has shown to be a more significant help with reducing inflammatory levels throughout your body because of the omega-3 fatty acids as well as the rich composition of phospholipids and the antioxidant ‘astaxanthin’ that it offers (5).
Adding the right balance of healthy fats into the diet helps obesity (in addition to exercise and proper nutrition). Many people trying to lose weight eat less fat. Removing unhealthy fat is critical for optimal health, especially if you are trying to lose weight. However, including healthy fats, specifically omega-3’s, leads to optimal health and weight loss. Healthy essential fats may keep your metabolic rate working effectively. When your food lacks essential fatty acids, like omega-3’s, your metabolic rate slows down. A lack of omega-3’s in your diet may lead to weight gain.
10. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
There are so many symptoms often experienced with PMS including: acne, bloating, headache, weight gain, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, cramping, weight gain, fluid retention, breast tenderness, constipation, diarrhea, alcohol intolerance, poor concentration, change in libido, insomnia, depressed mood, anxiety, tension, mood swings, irritability, and social withdrawal. A study showed that Neptune krill oil reduces dysmenorrhoea and the emotional symptoms of PMS. And, it may be more useful for the management of PMS compared to omega-3 fish oil.
Krill Oil Vs Fish Oil
What makes krill oil different from fish oil? Krill oil contains omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids, rather than triglycerides in fish oil. These studies suggest a higher absorption rate by your body due to the phospholipid structure. Krill oil may contain more nutrients than fish oil. In fish oil, the EPA and DHA are in the form of triglycerides. Studies suggest that phospholipids enhance omega-3 absorption, but triglycerides do not. Antarctic krill oil is from clear, cold waters of the Antarctic, so they do not contain the toxins associated with some fish oils.
Krill is contraindicated with seafood allergies. However, it is considered safe for most adults. The most common side effects of krill include: stomach-related issues, heartburn, burping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite, and change in taste. Consider these precautions/special populations:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding
- Bleeding disorder (krill oil may slow blood clotting)
- Pre or post surgery (also due to clotting issues)
If you have diabetes and been advised to take krill oil, monitor your blood sugar levels more carefully and watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Krill oil may lower your blood sugar levels.
If you take prescription medication to slow blood clotting (anticoagulant, antiplatelet drugs) they may interact with krill oil and might increase your chances of bruising and bleeding.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an organization that maintains oceans health and sustainability. Every time a supplier harvests krill, the fishing vessel’s coordinates become logged and recorded to provide trace-ability to the location of harvesting the fish. Look for those sourced from a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
How Much to Take?
For optimum health, try 1.5g per day. You also get antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin E. For specific health conditions, your body may require higher levels of krill oil to notice any improvements. Consult with your healthcare practitioner for proper dosing.