Krill oil has become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to fish oil. Krill oil contains a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA and EPA are two omega-3 fatty acids that are found exclusively in marine foods like fish oil, and krill oil contains them both. They play significant roles in the body's natural processes and have been associated with a variety of health benefits. If you aren't consuming the FDA's recommended eight ounces of seafood per week, you might consider taking krill oil nutritional supplements to boost your EPA and DHA intake.
What Is Krill Oil?
Krill oil comes from Antarctic krill, a tiny crustacean that's similar to shrimp and is a food staple for a wide variety of animals such as whales, squid, and seals. Omega-3 fatty acids, derived from marine algae, can be found in high quantities in fatty fish as well as in krill. Due to the unique chemistry of DHA and EPA compared to other fatty acids, some studies suggest that the human body may be able to absorb krill oil's nutrients more easily than fish oil.
What Are the Benefits of Krill Oil?
High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides have been associated with cardiovascular disease, and there's evidence that krill oil can help improve cardiovascular health. A 2004 study showed that people who consumed up to 3 grams of krill oil per day experienced a significant increase in HDL cholesterol levels. HDL is frequently called "good" cholesterol because it binds with and helps the body cleanse itself of LDL, the "bad" cholesterol that can harden and even block arteries if left unchecked. Compared to those who took a placebo, high blood pressure patients who took up to 4 grams of krill oil per day had lower triglyceride levels.
There is also evidence that krill oil improves cognitive function, and, according to both human and animal studies, krill oil might also play an important role in regulating how the body responds to inflammation. It should be noted that research into the potential health benefits of krill oil is currently quite limited, and more large-scale studies are still being planned.
According to preliminary studies, some of krill oil’s health benefits may include:
1. Reduce Inflammation
According to research, krill can help alleviate inflammatory conditions. People with rheumatoid arthritis who ingested krill oil felt less pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Since krill oil appears to be more easily absorbed by the body than other forms of omega-3 fatty acids, it could be even more efficient at lowering inflammation than regular fish oil. Krill oil is also high in astaxanthin, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pigment that gives it its distinctive red color.
In vitro investigations have found that krill oil inhibits the release of inflammatory molecules in response to pathogenic bacteria infection of human intestinal cells. In a randomized trial of twenty-five adults with mildly elevated blood-fat levels, 1,000 mg of krill oil per day treated inflammation more effectively than 2,000 mg of pure omega-3 supplements.
2. Improve Heart and Blood Circulation
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in krill oil, are recommended as a preventative measure against cardiovascular disease by the American Heart Association., and it’s been shown that krill oil can reduce cholesterol and cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated blood pressure.
Both fish oil and krill oil may also help reduce blood lipid levels. One study compared the triglyceride and cholesterol-lowering effects of krill oil and purified omega-3s and found that only krill oil increased the levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol. It was significantly more effective at reducing inflammatory markers at a much lower dose than regular omega-3s. When it came to regulating triglyceride levels, however, pure omega-3s still came out on top.
According to a separate study, krill oil significantly enhanced vascular function and insulin resistance compared to olive oil. The effects of krill oil on the risk of cardiovascular disease necessitate additional research over the long term. However, preliminary research suggests krill oil can be more efficient than other supplements in improving circulatory health.
3. Reduce Arthritis and Joint Pain
It also makes sense that consuming krill oil could alleviate the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and joint pain, given that inflammation is often the root cause of these conditions. In fact, several cases of krill oil improving osteoarthritic knee pain have been recorded. A study of fifty adults with mild knee pain found that krill oil substantially reduced the pain associated with sleeping and standing after thirty days of treatment while enhancing their mobility.
A study of the effects of krill oil on arthritis was also carried out on mice. In animals treated with krill oil, inflammatory cell counts, joint inflammation, and arthritis scores improved. While more research remains necessary to confirm some of these results, krill oil has demonstrated the potential to be used as an adjunct treatment for arthritic and joint discomfort.
4. Help Manage PMS Symptoms
The consumption of omega-3 fats has been associated with a reduction in inflammation and pain; eating fish or taking krill oil has been shown in numerous studies to alleviate premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea and may even reduce the need for medication. Krill oil may produce similar outcomes since it also contains omega-3 fatty acids.
According to studies, krill oil is associated with significant reductions in PMS symptoms, with krill oil users needing considerably less pain medication afterward than fish oil users.
5. Reduce Anxiety
One study suggests that people who consume krill oil feel less anxious and that consuming at least 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily could significantly reduce anxiety levels.
Curious about some of the health benefits of Antarctic krill meat itself? Read up on the advantages of this nutritious superfood here, including boosting metabolism, improving fertility and pregnancy outcomes, and the anti-aging properties of krill meat’s antioxidants.
How Quickly Do You Get the Health Benefits of Krill Oil?
Supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids take some time to start improving your health. You should take an omega-3 supplement like krill oil on a daily basis to reap the most health benefits. Be sure to take the supplement alongside a high-fat meal or snack: this can help increase the DHA and EPA intake and may lessen the likelihood of any gastrointestinal distress.
Who Should Take Krill Oil?
Krill oil is an excellent option if you are ready to spend a bit extra money and want a high-quality source of EPA and DHA. Prioritizing naturally occurring foods is always a good idea, but if one is still unable to obtain enough krill oil that way, supplements can be employed.
If you have high triglycerides or are at risk for heart disease, consult your doctor about the benefits of krill oil and whether taking an omega-3 supplement is right for you. Before taking any supplement, you should always consult a doctor, but this is especially important if you have a fish allergy, take blood thinners, are pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant.
What Are the Possible Risks and Side Effects of Taking Krill Oil?
The consensus is that krill oil is safe as a dietary supplement. There is some evidence that consuming very large quantities of krill oil could disrupt normal blood clotting, and a possibility that ingesting too much krill oil might cause mild but uncomfortable side effects such as poor breath, gas, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, a headache, and profuse sweating.
Due to its potential blood-thinning effects, individuals who are using blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), or who are scheduled to have surgery prior to taking krill oil should consult a doctor before taking krill oil. Since krill oil comes from seafood and can trigger an allergic reaction, it should be avoided by anyone who’s allergic to seafood.
According to the research, krill oil is generally well received; however, you should still be on the lookout for any unwelcome side effects, medicine interactions, or allergic responses.
If you’d like to explore the many benefits of krill oil without the risk of supplement side effects, consider our Antarctic Krill Meat in Water. It’s a nutritious and delicious way of obtaining krill’s omega-3 fatty acids and unique antioxidants as well as a healthy source of protein.
Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil
You might already regularly take fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Even though the fish and krill oils are very similar, there are some key differences between them:
Both come in capsule form, but krill oil capsules are often smaller. According to some studies, krill oil’s omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed into the body more efficiently than fish oil: there is more “bio-availability” of omega-3s in krill oil compared to regular fish oil. Although more studies are needed, preliminary findings suggest that the EPA and DHA in krill oil supplements may be more accessible within 72 hours than those contained in krill meal or fish oil.
Krill oil contains more antioxidants than fish oil. Just by looking at the tablets, you can tell that they are different. Fish oil is a bright yellow, whereas krill oil is a pinkish-red hue. This red color comes from the powerful antioxidant known as astaxanthin, which can help your body fight off dangerous free radicals. Fish oil’s astaxanthin content, in comparison, is negligible.
Although the study did not directly look at krill oil, taking astaxanthin has been associated with better lipid profiles, including lower triglycerides, and higher HDL cholesterol levels.
Krill oil may also offer more effective relief from PMS pain. Past studies have researched the efficacy of fish oil and krill oil in reducing the symptoms of PMS and dysmenorrhea. While both can improve symptoms, krill oil users require less pain medicine than fish oil users.
Is Krill Oil Sustainable?
The question of whether krill oil is good for the environment is a topic of ongoing discussion. While the supplement industry contends that krill oil is a more environmentally friendly option to fish oil due to the large number of krill that can be found in the ocean, groups concerned with the environment, such as Greenpeace, argue that this is not always the case.
Krill is an important part of the food chain in the marine environment since it is consumed by a wide variety of marine organisms. Look for dietary supplements that have been given the stamp of approval by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as environmentally friendly.
Learn more about how Krill USA is working towards a sustainable future for commercial krill meat with responsible Antarctic fishing practices and ocean-friendly packaging.
How To Take Krill Oil
Adults commonly take 1-4 grams of krill oil orally, once or twice daily, for up to six months to achieve the maximum benefits. Some recommendations call for consuming 250 – 500 mg of DHA and EPA daily, but other research indicates that a daily dose of 4 grams of DHA and EPA may be required for some people. Concentrations can vary widely between supplements: if you want to take a dosage in excess of what’s generally advised, consult your doctor first.
Harnessing the Power of Krill
Krill oil has grown in popularity as a dietary supplement; it’s a potential addition to a balanced diet due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, and its unique blend of phospholipids and antioxidants. According to preliminary research, krill oil may improve a number of different elements of well-being, including enhancing cognitive function, boosting cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, and offering pain relief.