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Is Krill Oil The Best Source of Omega 3?

Updated on October 2, 2021
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Cynthia has a degree in History and Business Economics. She loves archaeology and would happily spend every holiday exploring ancient sites


What are Krill?

Have you ever taken krill oil? We are all looking for ways in which to improve our health and enhance our life-styles. There has been a huge explosion in the amount of health supplements and alternative remedies that are available in health food stores and online, but how do we know which are the best supplements to take and if they are of sufficient potency and quality to help your health problem? Omega-3 essential fatty acids when taken as a food supplement have been shown by many scientific studies to be incredibly beneficial for our health, but what is the best source of omega-3? Fish oil capsules are very effective for adding omega 3 to our diets, but it has been shown that krill oil is even more potent and can improve your health in ways that fish oil supplements cannot. So what is krill oil? Well it comes from small shrimp-like crustaceans called krill that only measure between 1-6 centimetres long. They are mainly found in the deep, cold oceans of the Antarctic and North Pacific, where they feed on phytoplankton. The krill themselves form a major part of the diet of larger marine creatures such as whales, penguins, squid and fish. Despite their diminutive size, they form the largest animal biomass on the planet.

Why is Krill Oil So Special - Astaxanthin?

Krill oil is so special and so effective because of the type of omega 3 that it contains and because it also contains a very powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin that is not found in fish oils. Astaxanthin is a natural pigment from a group of natural pigments called carotenoids, and is found in a wide variety of living creatures. It is astaxanthin that gives crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters and shrimps their pink colouration. Astaxanthin is a particularly powerful antioxidant because it has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, giving it the potential to help defend the health of the eyes, brain and central nervous system from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are an atom or group of atoms that have at least one unpaired electron. Because such atoms seek to stabilise themselves, they will grab an electron from any nearby molecule that they can. This molecule then becomes a free radical itself, after losing an electron, thereby creating a chain reaction. When this happens in the human body, the free radicals will disrupt activity in the cells of the body, causing damage to the cells. Antioxidants help to protect the body from free radicals by giving away one of their own electrons and neutralising the free radical, which stops the chain reaction. The antioxidants do not themselves turn into free radicals because they are stable in either form and hence they can rove around the body mopping up free radicals and helping to stop cell damage that could potentially lead to disease and poor health. Including astaxanthin in the diet provides excellent protection against ultraviolet light and over time can even help to repair UV-induced skin damage. As well as astaxanthin, krill oil also contains other powerful antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin A, Vitamin D and canthaxanthin. When it was compared to fish oil, in terms of the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity values, it was found to be 48 times more powerful.

Why is Krill Oil So Special – Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids?

Both fish oil and krill oil contain omega 3, but what makes krill oil so special is the type of omega 3 that it contains. It contains both EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) just like fish oil, but the fatty acids are joined in a different way that make it easier for our bodies to absorb. The EPA and DHA in fish oil are linked in the triglyceride form, whereas in krill they are connected in a double chain phospholipid arrangement, which is just like the structure of the fats in our own cell walls. This phospholipid structure of the EPA and DHA makes it much easier for the krill oil to be absorbed into the nucleus of our cells and the mitrochondria, so it is easier and faster for our bodies to access the healing benefits of the omega 3.

So What are Some of the Health Benefits of Omega 3?

  • Taking omega 3 can help to protect your heart. Can help protect against heart attacks and strokes, as omega 3 can break up clots before they can cause any damage
  • Taking omega 3 in krill oil supplements helps to lower cholesterol, triglycerides, LDLs and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing levels of good HDL cholesterol. Studies have shown that taking omega 3 in krill oil can reduce LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol by around 34% and increases HDL cholesterol or ‘good’ cholesterol by 43%
  • Can significantly reduce PMS symptoms and dysmenorrhea
  • Improves mental agility and promotes improved brain function. When taken by adults as a health supplement, krill oil can help to enhance memory, recall, reasoning and focus.
  • Helps alleviate the symptoms of pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, as it naturally boosts the inflammatory response of the body
  • The omega 3 in krill oil can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Can help with eye health, especially retinal health
  • Can help with ADD and ADHD in both adults and children – and can also aid dyslexia, dyspraxia, and compulsive disorders

Krill oil also contains phosphatidyl choline, a potent source of reductive stress-reducing choline that acts as a natural emulsifier. Choline is important for your health as it aids in brain development, memory and learning. And because phospholipids are the building blocks for cell membranes, controlling communication from your brain to other parts of your body, it means that choline is also very important for pregnant and nursing women, as is it helps with foetal and infant brain development.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Taking Krill Oil?

Krill oil is extracted from the krill and sold as a health supplement, usually a capsule of oil. These supplements are now widely available to buy in health food shops and online. One of the disadvantages of krill oil over fish oil capsules is that it tends to be more expensive. However, it must be remembered that it has the added benefits of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin and the different structure of the omega 3 that lets it be more easily absorbed into the body. In addition, because of the high levels of antioxidants in krill oil, it has a longer shelf life than fish oil.

There are also some people who should avoid taking krill oil supplements. It is probably advisable for anyone who knows that they have a shrimp allergy to avoid taking them. Moreover, people who suffer with bleeding disorders and problems with blood clotting should not take krill oil unless they do so under the supervision of their doctor. People who are taking anti-coagulants or anti-platelet medication such as warfarin, heparin, aspirin, NSAIDs or naproxen should also only take krill oil under medical supervision. There are also certain herbal supplements that are thought to increase the likelihood of bleeding, such as gingko biloba and garlic, and these should not be taken alongside krill oil. Taking krill oil can also cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, loose stools and indigestion in some people.

So why not try taking krill oil supplements and enjoy the many health benefits that they can give. Krill oil supplements are widely available online, and Amazon has a wide range for you to browse through and make your choice today.

Copyright 2010 CMHypno on HubPages

Disclaimer: Please be aware that any information given in this article should in no way be used to replace advice given to you by your medical practitioner. Anybody suffering from a medical condition or is at all concerned should always consult their doctor before changing their diet or starting to take any form of dietary supplement. Also be aware that while taking krill oil supplements is generally regarded as being good for you, there are no guarantees that your health will improve

Image of krill by Professor Uwe Kils under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2010 CMHypno


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