Health is wealth. Man’s greatest desire is to live life to the fullest and to enjoy every perk life offers. We can only achieve this when we are in the state of pink health. Being the healthiest we can possible be means consuming a variety of healthy foods keeping the body active, understanding the nutrients our body needs, and getting enough sleep. A little dose of supplements would also help.

Among the many supplements present in the market is the krill oil supplement.

What is Krill Oil?

  • Krill oil is a mixture of fatty acids high in EPA and DHA (fish oil fatty acids) in the form of phospholipids, mostly as phosphatidylcholine and appears to be better absorbed than fish oil, may be more cardioprotective, and contains some unique fat burning effects (1).
  • Krill is a tiny organism harvested from icy cold waters of the Antarctic – far from industrial contamination. Their short lifespans, combined with the pristine environment from which they are harvested, ensure that krill have far less potential for toxins and contamination (2).
  • In Norwegian, the word ‘krill’ means ‘whale food.’ Baleen whales, mantas, and whale sharks eat primarily krill (3).
  • Krill oil has a distinctive red color, while fish oil supplements are typically yellow or gold and is usually more expensive than fish oil (4).

People extract the oil from krill, place it in capsules, and use it for medicine and some brand name krill oil products indicate that they use Antarctic krill using specific species of krill called Euphausia superba (5). Krill are said to be oceanic omega-3 powerhouses. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids used by multiple systems in your body. “Essential” means your body can’t produce them on its own, so you have to ingest them from food or a supplement (6). Omega-3s can be found in both fish and seeds but it’s important to make sure you are getting them from the right source (7).

Best Krill Oil Benefits:

1. It promotes cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fats (primarily EPA and DHA) show many benefits for cardiovascular health for various reasons, including combating inflammation in the blood vessels, lowering triglyceride levels and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raising HDL (good) cholesterol (8). Studies have also shown benefits to diabetics by reducing inflammation and blood sugar (9). A human study on krill oil was conducted to investigate the effects of krill oil supplement on blood lipids in subjects with “borderline high” or “high” triglyceride (TG) levels (10). Three hundred subjects participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center U.S. study (11).  Study results found that krill oil supplement has the ability to lower triglycerides without raising LDL, the “bad” cholesterol in those who have borderline high or high triglyceride levels (12).

2. It may prevent arthritis. A randomized control trial shows krill oil improves mild knee joint paint. The study shows krill oil group showed more improvements than placebo group in two questions regarding the pain and stiffness in knees in Japanese Knee Osteoarthritis Measure (JKOM) (13). Other emerging data suggest that fatty acids from krill act in synergy with other natural anti-inflammatory compounds such as omega-3 fish oils (14). Studies have shown that krill oil prevents inflammation and reduces existing inflammation (15). Experts say that the omega-3s are transformed in the body to potent hormones called eicosanoids, which control a number of important functions and trigger the secretion of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, which have been shown to reduce CRP (C – reactive protein) levels (16).

3. It eases PMS symptoms. Women who took krill oil had improved abdominal pain and reported using fewer pain relievers for menstrual pain than those who took fish oil in one study (17). In a double-blind trial, women with PMS took 2 grams of either krill oil from Antarctic krill (a zooplankton crustacean) or fish oil for one month, followed by two months in which the women took their supplement beginning eight days prior to menstruation and continuing for two days after the start of menstruation (18). While abdominal pain symptoms were similarly reduced by either oil, those taking krill oil reported using fewer pain relievers for menstrual pain (19). The results suggested that krill oil was better than fish oil for soothing mild emotional and physical symptoms of PMS after 3 months of daily supplementation (20).

4. It contains anti-depressive effects. Some research shows EPA and DHA are as effective as antidepressants in improving mood (21). EPA is believed to enhance mood by reducing inflammatory processes in the brain. DHA appears to have hormonal effects by increasing the amount of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which has moderating effects on mood while DHA also increases the dopamine and serotonin levels, which improve mood and help alleviate depression (22). Krill oil’s components like the omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phospholipids enhance brain function and protect the brain and central nervous system from harm (23).  Phospholipids, for one, can reduce damage from oxidative stress and may prevent depression, dementia, and other forms of mental and cognitive dysfunction (24).

5. It may improve gastric health. Krill oil supplements can alter the gut microbiome for the better, reducing intestinal inflammation, improving wound healing, and restoring integrity to the lining of your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) (25). One animal research suggests that omega 3s may help in treatment of H. Pylori by reducing gastric inflammation. I am looking forward to seeing good clinical studies using krill oil (26). The omega-3s are essential to good health with over 800 thousand human clinical studies, and krill is a fantastic source of the nutrient (27).

Krill Oil Side Effects

Taking omega-3 supplements in the forms of krill oil and fish oil does not appear to carry any significant side effects. However, some minor side effects may include bad breath, diarrhea, a headache, heartburn, unpleasant-smelling sweat, and upset stomach. It is said also that these supplements have the potential to interact negatively with blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin) since omega-3 fatty acids have mild anticoagulant or blood-thinning effects (28). Krill oil can slow blood clotting, which might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery (29). Stop using krill oil at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. Some people who are allergic to seafood might also be allergic to krill oil supplements (30).

This supplement appears to benefit one’s overall health. Supplementing your daily diet with it may contribute to a wonderful and healthy body and mind. However, always stay on the safe side. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking this supplement.