Krill oil contains omega-3 components and is considered to be a supplement that can work wonders, evidenced by various studies focusing on krill oil health benefits.
Deemed to be more potent than its more famous counterpart fish oil, krill oil is breaking into the health supplement market. It is said to be the next best thing to treat health conditions including heart problems, diabetes, inflammation and skin problems among other things.
What Does Krill Oil Contain?
Krill oil is a source of animal-based omega-3 fats. It comes from the tiny shrimp-like creatures which are found in cold oceans. Krill make up the largest biomass among animals on our planet at 500 million tonnes. Every year, only 110,000 tonnes of krill are harvested and their oil extracted.
Like fish oil, krill oil contains both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) but in different concentrations. Fish oil usually contains omega-3 in triglyceride while it is found in the double chain phospholipids structure of krill. Because of this different omega-3 form, krill oil is more easily absorbed by our bodies compared to fish oil. Furthermore, based on the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) values, krill oil seems to take the lead when it comes to potency. In addition, krill oil also contains choline, a known emulsifier and stress reducer.
Krill Oil and Diseases
Krill oil has many possible benefits and can aid the following aspects of our health:
#1 Cardiovascular health
The omega-3 components of krill oil can help the heart as well as the entire cardiovascular system. It improves the good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) leading to less chances of heart attacks. Regular intake of krill oil helps reduce triglyceride in the body, decreasing the chance of stroke and atherosclerosis.
#2 Brain functions
It is always recommended that pregnant mothers supplement with omega-3 to improve the brain health of their child while they develop in the womb. Omega-3 improves brain health, focus and memory. The DHA found in omega-3 is beneficial to the nervous system and it plays a big role in nerve and brain functions. Omega-3 is known to help with neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders
Since omega-3 is good for the brain, it has been found that a daily supplement of omega-3 from krill oil can prevent dementia and other age-related deterioration. Research using data from the Framingham Heart study found older people who have high DHA levels in the blood have a 47% lowered risk of developing dementia.
Since omega-3 from krill oil also has an anti-inflammatory capacity, it is beneficial in fighting physical aging as well as mental aging.
Krill oil helps improve concentration in children and adults with ADHD. Research sponsored by the International Organisation of ADHD studied adults who take 500 mg of krill oil for six months. Those who took the supplements showed an improvement in concentration and working capacity (60.2%), a stronger ability to focus (39%), more social skills (48.7%), ability to manage money (34.2%), planning skills (50%) and road safety skills (34.5%).
Mental health can be fragile due to many factors. This can be due to poor nutrition or due to environmental influencing factors. According to research, high amounts of DHA in the brain may benefit those with depression since it is one key to sufficient serotonin receptors. Low serotonin can be a cause of depression. Read a conclusive study about the significant antidepressant effect of omega-3 here.
Diabetes can’t be completely wiped out of the body, however, it can be managed. Krill oil has the capacity to reduce elevated glucose levels. This is necessary in managing diabetes. As mentioned, krill oil helps to fight inflammation, cardiovascular diseases and brain and joint problems which are a few of the complications people with diabetes have to face.
#7 Eye health
Omega-3 is known to be a good component for improving eye health. Astaxanthin, the antioxidant that krill oil contains, is present in large quantities in the eyes and is known to be good protection against UV damage. Krill oil is often recommended by optometrists to remedy dry eyes.
Arthritis is known for causing inflammation and pain. Omega-3 contains anti-inflammatory compounds, making it an excellent supplement for arthritic pain. The omega-3 from krill oil may help treat arthritic joint tissue by neutralising inflammatory activity.
Krill Oil and Sustainability
Krill oil is a sustainable source of omega-3 as it has the largest biomass in the world, weighing more than the human population. Harvesting krill for food and even for omega-3 extraction does not diminish its biomass nor does it harm the environment.
Krill harvesting is mostly conducted in the oceans around Antarctica. All in all, the environment isn’t threatened by krill harvesting and the krill will continue to reproduce at a high rate for thousands of years to come.
Krill Oil as a Supplement
Most people aren’t able to dine on seafood every day. And for some, fresh seafood might be difficult to find depending on their location. But as omega-3 becomes more popular, so too does supplementation. Although there are so many supplements on the market today, not all can be considered high quality. Patients should be sure to consult their physician before purchasing omega-3 supplements.
People with allergies should also consult doctors before taking any supplements. The recommended dose of krill oil is 1-3 grams daily. Always use products as directed in case of any side-effects. Those who have specialised cases may require a higher dose than normal, but this should again be directed by a health professional.
Omega-3, like all other medications and supplements, may entail side-effects and dangers when taken without medical guidance. Make sure you are aware of the possible side effects.
The Future of Krill Oil
Krill certainly is facing a bright future in terms of helping manage many diseases. It has come a long way since it first became popular a few years ago. The thousands of studies conducted are proof of what it can do, although it is still good to maintain a little scepticism and always consult a doctor for advice.