The Truth About Krill Oil Benefits?

benefits of krill oil

Krill oil has enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity lately, and for good reason.

This natural supplement holds precious long chain Omega 3 fatty acids and, given the natural history of krill, a relatively low risk of chemical contamination. But that’s not all that’s noteworthy about this new source of Omega 3.

Please read on for a more detailed discussion of the more widely-accepted krill oil benefits, and what a proper supplementation regime can do for you.

Krill Oil Benefits, in a Nutshell

So what are the benefits of krill oil? Krill oil contains the highly-lauded Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, and therefore theoretically provides the same anti-inflammatory benefits as Omega 3 from fish oil. And while krill oil does not have the same level of evidentiary backing fish oil does, the research that has been performed thus far is very promising.

For example, published researched with the last five years suggests that krill oil is effective for treating arthritis and promoting cardiovascular health – the same core indications fish oil sources are well known for. Likewise, other researchers have found that krill oil may have the same brain/mental health-enhancing effects too, with one study in Norway finding that rats treated with krill oil scored higher in intelligence testing. However, aside from the usual benefits, krill oil is reported to have some unique properties that do set it apart.

In terms of absorption, krill oil is reputed to have the edge over fish oil. Unlike Omega 3 from fish sources, krill contain these acids in the form of phospholipids. While the chemistry of this distinction might seem academic, the result is reportedly a more easily assimilating form of Omega 3 compared to the fish counterpart. And as a result of this benefit, you may be able to get the same amount of Omega 3 from krill, but at a significantly lower dose.

In addition to bringing a high assimilation rate, there is another perk of oil from these tiny shrimp – a potent antioxidant. Specifically, krill contains a substance called astaxanthin, an antioxidant in the carotenoid family that is believed to provide its own health benefits in neutralizing free radicals and potentially prevent the spoiling (i.e., oxidation) of the EPA and DHA in the supplement itself.

And if all of these virtues weren’t enough, there is another very important benefit of krill oil – it’s relative safety from the bio-accumulation of chemical contaminants, such as mercury.

As we’ve explained elsewhere, the traditional concern about chemical contamination in fish stems from the fact that fish feed higher on the food chain. And by doing so, they tend to accumulate and “biomagnify” all of the toxins ingested by their prey. So the concentration of toxin at each level rises. For example, shrimp that may contain only trace amounts of mercury in their tissues will translate into fish predators that have much higher levels, since they eat and store these toxins. And larger fish that eat these fish will concentrate contaminants even further. This is the reason why sharks, swordfish and large aquatic marine mammals (e.g., porpoise, seal, whales, etc.) can contain some of the highest amounts of toxins in their tissues, such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

With the diminutive krill, in contrast, there is little chance of biomagnification since they feed at the lowest rung of the food chain (e.g., phytoplankton/zooplankton primarily).

Krill Oil Dosage – How Much Do You Need?

According to some sources, including WebMD, there is insufficient data to determine the “appropriate ranges” of dosages for krill oil. Nevertheless, it is believed that krill oil’s more easily assimilating properties may provide the same benefits of fish oil, at a lower dosage.

And there is some support for this. One 2007 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded that just 300 milligrams of krill oil per day – the typical recommended dose for adults – was sufficient to bring about significant relief for test subjects suffering from arthritis and cardiac conditions.

Krill Oil Benefits: The Early Verdict

The benefits of fish oil are indeed promising, and it’s unique properties, such as its high assimilation rate and the antioxidant it contains, make it a potentially viable alternative to fish oil. However, the comparative lack of study of krill oil, especially on human, makes it much less understood and established than the Omega 3 traditionally derived from fish oil.

Featured (top) photo credit: “Omega-3 krill oil capsules in blister pack” by Health Gauge under CC BY 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>