(OrganicJar) There has been an overwhelming amount of research published over the last few years about the health benefits of a supplement called Krill Oil. I had never even heard of it until about 6 months ago when I was Googling ways I could naturally lower my cholesterol and improve a bit of mental fog I was experiencing. After spending what seemed like too many nights reading scientific journals about it on PubMed I decided to just give it a try. It's been 4 months now and I'm extremely surprised at how effective it's been (more about that at the end of the article). But first, what are Krill?
Krill are little crustaceans that look like shrimp and provide food for everything from salmon to blue whales and are one of the most nutritious creatures in the sea. Not only are they loaded with a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin, but they're a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which for years research has shown to help lower an individual’s risk for heart attack, stroke, certain cancers, depression and overall inflammation. The oil is naturally found in a species of krill called the Euphausia Superba and is extracted and sold as a nutritional supplement.
There has been a lot of research showing krill oil to be superior to fish oil in head-to-head testing. It has found to be healthier, safer, more potent and especially more absorbable.
Health Benefits of Krill Oil vs Fish Oil
The reason krill oil is more effective than other marine oils is the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids and extremely potent antioxidants. It’s the unique combination of these essential ingredients that provide the greatest health benefits.
Krill oil, like fish oil, contains both of the omega-3 fats eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), but hooked together in a different form. In fish oil these omega-3 fatty acids are found in the triglyceride form whereas in krill oil they are hooked up in a double chain phospholipid structure (The fats in our own cell walls are in this phospholipid form). Attached to the EPA leg of the phospholipid is a molecule of astaxanthin, an extremely potent antioxidant. The phospholipid structure of the EPA and DHA in krill oil makes them much more absorbable and allows for a much easier entrance into the mitochondria and the cellular nucleus - especially a better absorption and delivery of DHA to the brain. In addition to EPA and DHA krill oil contains a complex phospholipid profile including phosphatidylcholine, a potent source of reductive-stress-reducing choline. Research indicates that phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids (found in krill oil) have greater bioavailability for cell growth and functioning, compared with omega-3 triglycerides (found in fish oil).
10 Most Important Health Benefits of Krill Oil:
Krill oil contains vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D and astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant. When compared to fish oil in terms of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values it was found to be 48 times more potent than fish oil. Antioxidants are important as they protect our cells from damage from free radicals - unstable substances that contribute to certain chronic diseases. Unlike many other antioxidants, krill’s astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier where it can protect the eye, brain and central nervous system from free radical damage.
Protects Your Heart
Results from a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported that krill oil can significantly reduce heart-damaging inflammation. The study was conducted by measuring the presence of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels in the blood. One way to measure the risk of heart damage is to examine the amount of the body's CRP levels. The group that had been taking 300 mg of krill oil daily reduced their CRP levels by 19.3% after seven days and 29.7% after 14 days.
Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis Pain
Low levels of omega 3 in the body lead to inflammation, which further leads to other diseases. Krill oil has several anti-inflammatory properties. That means that a regular dose of krill oil can reduce general joint pains, back pain, swelling and inflammatory arthritis. There have also been a number of studies conducted that found that krill oil was effective in reliving some of the symptoms and effects of osteoporosis.
The results of a study published in the American Journal of Nutrition highlighted the effects of krill oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. The study was conducted by Western University in collaboration with McMaster University. Participants included 90 patients who were diagnosed with inflammatory conditions such as cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and / or osteoarthritis. Findings revealed that krill oil reduced pain by 28.9%, stiffness by 20.3% and functional impairment by 22.8%. Moreover, results indicated that krill oil "significantly inhibits inflammation and reduces arthritic symptoms within a short treatment period of 7 and 14 days."
Improves Brain Function and Development
The important nutrients choline and omega fatty acids in krill oil are helpful in enhancing normal brain functioning and improving memory, cognition and behavior. A study at the University of California, Berkley, suggests that low levels of Omega-3s, particularly DHA and EPA may contribute to cognitive decline. Findings indicate that regular consumption of Omega-3s, especially sources rich in EPA and DHA (such as krill oil), can considerably improve cognitive function. Moreover, a study of 30 adults with attention difficulties showed 46% improvement in mental concentration and 48.9 % mental focus after 90 days of taking krill oil supplements. Furthermore, krill oil contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, which has the rare ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and rid the body of free radicals that can lead to cognitive impairment.
Regulates LDL (Bad) and HDL (Good) Cholesterol
This is actually a very difficult thing to do and not many substances can do it. A number of studies have shown that krill oil is tremendously effective in reducing LDL cholesterol, raising HDL cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar. Studies have shown where fish oil reduced the “LDL” or the bad cholesterol by only 4.6%, krill oil reduced the LDL by 34%. Alternatively, it increased the HDL or good cholesterol by 43.5% in comparison to the fish oil, which showed improvement in HDL by 4.2%.
Improves Skin Health
Krill oil contains nutrients that can help reduce acne outbreaks, lessen the symptoms of psoriasis, especially the redness and itching and make skin feel softer and more hydrated. Oral and topical use of Krill oil has also been shown to be a skin cancer prophylactic (a medicine used to prevent disease) because it contains retinol and astaxanthin which are known for their anti-carcinogenic effect. The astaxanthin found in krill oil also provides excellent protection against ultraviolet light and UV-induced skin damage.
Improves Immune System
Numerous studies prove that krill oil's benefits can improve your overall health by strengthening your immune system, optimizing kidney function, regulating the body's hormone levels, elevating your mood and emotional well-being, balancing blood sugar levels, regulating blood pressure levels, supporting eye health and boosting your energy.
Improves Mental Health
The right amount of krill oil can be helpful in improving mental health of people suffering from depression, mood swings, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder. It can also help lessen the effects of stress, something that affects so many people.
Alleviates Premenstrual Symptoms (PMS)
Numerous studies have been able to link a lack of Omega-3 acids in the body with the severity of PMS symptoms in women. These studies found the introduction of a krill oil supplement to not only be effective in reliving physical problems like bloating but helpful with the emotional ones as well. 73% of women showed a clinically significant reduction in both emotional and physical distress prior to menstruation. They were taking 1-4 grams per day 7 to 10 days prior to menstruation.
The antioxidants present in krill oil have been found to be effective in fighting the effects of free radicals in the body. This can lead to improved skin texture and a reduction in wrinkles, stronger nails and healthier, thicker hair. Numerous ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) tests have proven that krill oil effectively repairs aging cells when compared to other antioxidants. In fact, independent labs confirmed that krill oil contains an ORAC value of 430 while fish oil has an ORAC value of 8. This means krill oil has over 48 times more antioxidant power than fish oil.
Cautions On Krill Oil
If you are allergic to shrimp you should not take krill oil supplements since you could also get an allergic reaction to it. If this is you, then you should stick to fish oil supplements. Plus if you are on blood thinners, you should consult your doctor before taking any fish or krill supplements.
My Thoughts on the Benefits of Krill Oil:
After taking the supplements for several months I noticed my mental fog was gone, my ability to focus had improved, my hair was softer (wasn't expecting that), I felt happier, and the whites of my eyes were whiter (wasn't expecting that either). I'm having my cholesterol tested next month so I'll let you know those results when I get them.
Some of you might be wondering which brand of krill oil I take. Before I tell you I want to make it clear that this is not a commercial endorsement and I am not being paid by this company. This is my own independent recommendation from my own research. That said, I have been using NKO Neptune Krill Oil Gold by Nutrigold. Here is a link to the exact product and place I buy it on Amazon: NKO Neptune Krill Oil Gold
. I take 500mg in the morning and 500mg in the afternoon.
I have several friends as well as my mother who just started taking Krill Oil and I'll be monitoring them over the next several months so make sure to sign-up for my newsletter so you can follow along. Cheers! - Jason
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Sources: Journal Articles From: PubMed.gov
Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition 2011: fish oil vs. krill oil
Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia
Evaluation of the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms
Supplementation of diet with krill oil protects against experimental rheumatoid arthritis
Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea.