Krill oil is a supplement gaining a lot of popularity... and it is not out of place. This supplement has a lot to give us! In this post, the main health benefits of krill oil
What’s Krill Oil?
Krill oil is an extract prepared from a species of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba. It’s used as a supplement food due to its high content on omega-3 fatty acids, phosphatidylcholine, and astaxhantin.
Compared to fish oil, the nutritional matrix is more complete. While fish oil mainly contains omega-3 fatty acids in the form of phospholipids, the omega-3 present in krill oil are in their free form. This makes them more available (1), which potentially increases the quality of krill oil over fish oil.
Besides omega-3, krill oil is a great source of phosphatidylcholine and astaxhantins. This makes krill oil a great supplement to improve your inflammation, brain function, and much more.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Krill oil contains EPA and DHA, the two main fatty acids of the Omega-3 series. Even though these are the main components of krill oil, the content of Omega-3 in krill oil is lower than that of fish oil (2)
However, the bioavailability of Omega-3 in krill oil is higher than fish oil. Thus, lower doses of Omega-3 in krill oil show the same effects as higher doses in fish oil (2)
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our organism. We need them, but we are not able to produce them on our own in the needed amounts (3). Because of this, we need to take them through the diet, or supplementation.
Although phosphatidylcholine is traditionally used to support brain health , it can also support liver function and keep cholesterol levels in check.
The content of phosphatidylcholine in krill oil is somewher around 34% (9). If a pill is 1000-1200mg of krill oil, then the content of phosphatidylcholine is 340-480mg phosphatidylcholine, depending on the supplement taken.
Astaxanthin is a red pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids.
This pigment is naturally produced by the microalgae . Marine animals feeding on this microalgae obtain astaxhantins through their diet. Fishes such as salmon, or krill are examples on how taking astaxhantin colors their skin and meat.
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant. This effect might protect cells from damage. Astaxanthin might also improve the way the immune system functions (10)
Astaxanthin is found in very little amounts in krill oil, with a concentration of 120ppm (parts per million). Since it’s a novel compound, there’s no reference intake known. However, astaxhantin seems to have an effect in our health with doses of 4-100mg (11)
Health Benefits of Krill Oil
Krill oil is a great source of healthy fats, astaxanthins and phosphatidylcholine.
Some of the health benefits associated to krill oil are similar to those from fish oil... but that's not all. It is a promising supplement and, in the next 5min, we show you the main potential health benefits of krill oil!
Krill Oil Can Help Chronic Inflammation
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to be antiinflammatory compounds. The eicosanoides and resolvins derived from these compounds have an antiinflamatory effect in our organism (12)
May Reduce Intestinal Inflammation
Krill oil shows some promising evidence on reducing intestinal inflammation (14). In this study, krill oil was effective at reducing intestinal inflammation by improving the integrity of intestinal barrier and controlling bacterial adhesion to the intestine cells.
A combination of Krill oil, Bactobacillus, and vitamin D also showed a positive effect on intestinal inflammation and pathogeneicity (15)
Krill Oil Improves Blood lipids and Heart Health
Krill oil shows to improve blood lipids profile. Supplementing with krill oil decreases LDL levels and increases HDL (16).
The main benefits of krill oil on cardiovascular health are thought to be due to the omega-3 present. However, when we compare it with fish oil, krill oil shows to be more effective at reducing glucose, triglycerides, and LDL levels (16).
Krill oil, and omega 3, may be particularly effective at 17)and other blood fats (
May Reduce Arthritis and Joint Pain
Krill oil contains omega-3 and astaxanthins, two compounds with antiinflamatory and antioxidant effects. This may help reduce inflammation and related joint and muscular issues.
In this study, krill oil reduced stiffness, functional impairment and pain in patients with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis (). Some other studies show krill oil to improve mild knee joint pain (19)
The evidence is yet quite scarce, and we'll have to wait to get clear conclusions.
Krill Oil Fights Pre-Menstrual Symptoms
It's estimated that around 75% women have suffered from pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS). These may include mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to reduce the pain and symptoms during the pre-menstrual cycle (20)
Compared to omega-3 alone and/or fish oil intake, krill oil is more effective at preventing PMS and dysmenorrhea (21)
Your body makes a chemical called acetylcholine from phosphatidylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for memory and other functions in the body (22)
DHA is the main omega-3 present in the brain, and intakes of omega-3 have shown to prevent anxiety and other mild mental disorders (23). They protect your brain cells and contribute to the formation of new ones.
Dose and Uses of Krill Oil
Krill oil is a novel supplement, and there's no reference intake established yet.
Daily intake of 250-500mg Omega-3 shows to be enough to see all benefits associated with omega-3, and it's safe to take up to 5,000mg EPA+DHA.
Krill oil contains 20% EPA+DHA, but lower doses are more effective than fish oil due to its higher availability. Therefore, taking 1200-1500mg krill oil may be enough to reach the recommended intake of omega-3 and improve your health.
Krill oil is a novel and promising supplement that seems to be more effective than fish oil. It's extracted from Antarctic krill, and is a great source of omega-3, phosphatidylcholine, and astaxanthins.
Among the potential health benefits of krill oil, it may improve your intestinal inflammation, reduce joint pain, improve your cardiovascular health, reduce anxiety, and fight pre-menstrual symptoms.