Chances are you’ve heard of krill oil. If this is true, then you’ve likely heard of fish oil as well. What are the differences between these two types of fats? Is one better than the other?
We will answer these questions and more. We will also go over krill oil benefits, backed with scientific research.
What is krill oil?
Antarctic krill oil is a product extracted from small, red crustaceans called Antarctic krill. It is often supplemented in either capsule or liquid form.
It is an alternative type of long-chain omega 3 fatty acid.
Krill oil contains two different types of omega 3 fatty acids: Docosahexaenoic acid (called DHA for short) and eicosapentaenoic acid (called EPA for short).
Pure krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which is known for its benefits on vision and eye health.
10 health benefits of krill oil
1) Lowers cholesterol
Research has shown that krill oil can help with hyperlipidemia, commonly known as high cholesterol.
One study looked at the effect of krill oil supplements on concentrations of cholesterol in the blood. This was assessed by a systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis of available randomized controlled trials.
The studies looked at were randomized controlled trials that investigated the impact of a minimum of two weeks of krill oil supplementation on total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL cholesterol. There had to be both a control group and a group that was given krill oil supplements to take. A total of 7 trials involving 662 subjects were analyzed.
The results showed that krill oil supplementation significantly reduced blood concentrations of low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides.
They also found that there was a significant elevation in blood concentrations of high-density lipoprotein, which is not an easy feat.
2) Increases protein content in muscle
Did you know that krill oil supplements can help increase the amount of protein in your muscles? One study on crabs showed that those who were fed krill oil had significantly higher levels of protein, indispensable amino acids, docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid in their muscles.
3) Increases choline levels
Choline is required for several biological processes. Some of these are neurotransmitter synthesis, providing structural integrity to cells, and assisting in the functioning of cells.
One study found that peak choline concentration was achieved after consuming krill oil as compared to other oils. They also found that levels of the biologically essential metabolites betaine and dimethylglycine (called DMG for short) were higher after krill oil supplementation.
Levels of trimethylamine N oxide, a marker of inflammation, were significantly lower after supplementation with krill oil.
4) Slows the growth of cancer cells
Yes, it’s true. Krill oil products may even help to suppress the proliferation of cancerous cells.
A study was conducted, comparing the anti-growth abilities of krill oil to Oxaliplatin, a commonly used drug in chemotherapy. This study examined the underlying mechanisms that allow krill oil to suppress the growth of cancer cells.
Researchers focused on what’s called the intrinsic mitochondrial death pathway. This means that krill oil was able to help kill the mitochondria (the powerhouses) of cancer cells.
In this study, three human colorectal cancer cell lines and one mouse line were treated with krill oil. They were then treated with Oxaliplatin. Researchers looked at the effects of both krill oil and the chemotherapy drug on cell proliferation, the mitochondria, and reactive oxygen species (which are free radicals related to cancer growth).
They also analyzed certain enzymes and DNA damage. Their findings revealed that krill oil significantly inhibits cell proliferation in all four cell lines. Krill oil achieved anti-proliferative effects that were comparable to the chemotherapy drug.
Overall, what the researchers found was that the krill oil could activate certain enzymes that gave it anti-proliferative properties on colorectal cancer cells.
5) May help prevent seizures
Krill oil may help prevent seizures, specifically those induced by a fever. One study looked at the effect of krill oil supplementation on seizures in animals. Rats were separated into groups, where they were given either water, palm oil, or krill oil.
The electrical activity in the brains of these rats was monitored with an electroencephalogram (EEG). Researchers found that krill oil increased the number of astrocytes and the number of nerve cells compared to the water group.
Interestingly, researchers also found that krill oil has an anticonvulsant role. The researchers in this study concluded that krill oil could be used as adjunctive therapy with traditional anticonvulsant drug therapies.
6) Enhances bone formation
Krill oil can significantly increase the formation of bone. Not only does krill oil prevent the loss of bone, but it also increases the formation of new bone. It even decreases the formation of adipose, or fat cells!
Researchers have found that krill oil increases the expression of bone formation related genes and decreases the expression of fat formation related genes. All that being said, krill oil can help to improve osteoporosis.
7) Decreases pain
The anti-inflammatory effects of krill oil have been confirmed by researchers time and time again in clinical trials. Krill oil can lower levels of inflammatory cytokines in the blood.
One study, in particular, found that not only could krill oil reduce severe chronic inflammation and pain of arthritis as effectively as pain medications, but it was found to be more effective.
8) Improves mood
Eicosapentaenoic acid, one of the key compounds found in krill oil, is influential in the mood. Several meta-analysis research studies have confirmed the benefits of krill oil in major depressive disorder, as well as in bipolar disorder.
Researchers have also found promising results in relation to the use of krill oil for schizophrenia. They have even found initial benefit from the use of krill oil for borderline personality disorder.
9) Improves behavior
Not only does eicosapentaenoic acid influence mood, but it also influences behavior. Research has shown krill oil’s role in benefitting autism, dyslexia, aggression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (called ADHD for short).
10) Enhances Brain Health
Most conditions that involve degeneration of the nervous system demonstrate either pre-existing or ongoing inflammation. This includes conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Krill oil is an anti-inflammatory, acting both centrally and systemically. Krill oil is effective at counteracting potentially detrimental inflammation in the brain. This could help to alter neurological diseases related to aging, in both their onset and their progression.
Krill oil has been shown to improve spatial memory and learning, offset memory loss, minimize overall inflammation, and decrease symptoms of depression.
Both EPA and DHA are essential for basic brain functions. The powerful antioxidant astaxanthin can also be found in krill oil. It helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.
Krill oil can also help to slow the aging of your brain. One study found that krill oil treatment decreased the expression of dopamine-regulated proteins. This led to higher concentrations of dopamine in the blood as well as in the brain.
This is because krill oil led to enhanced expression of two different enzymes: tyrosine-3-monooxygenase and aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase. Not only that, but krill oil also helped with dysbiosis in the gut (improper balance of good and bad gut bacteria).
Krill oil was able to decrease the abundance of bacteria that consume tyrosine (which is a precursor to the ever-important dopamine). Krill oil also increased the amount of Lactobacillus, good bacteria in the gut.
Krill oil vs. Fish oil
Krill oil is often seen as an alternative to fish oil. So what is the difference? They both contain the same omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid.
However, the fatty acid composition of krill oil and fish liver oil are technically different from each other. The fatty acids in fish oil are attached to triacylglycerols, whereas the fats in krill oil are bound to phospholipids by ethyl esters.
This improves the bioavailability of fatty acids in krill oil, meaning that they are absorbed more easily. This is why many people believe krill oil to be a superior supplement to fish oil.
One study looked at the effects of krill oil as compared to fish oil when it came to the incorporation of EPA and DHA into the membrane of red blood cells. This study looked at both human and animal studies.
The researchers also compared krill oil and fish oil findings related to health effects, specifically looking at fats, inflammatory markers, cardiovascular disease risk (blood pressure), and biological functions.
14 original papers were analyzes for this review. What researchers found was that the bioavailability of EPA and DHA from krill oil appears to be higher than that from fish oil.
Interestingly, gene expression data showed that fish oil upregulated the cholesterol pathways. Krill oil, on the other hand, had the opposite effect – it downregulated cholesterol pathways.
Krill oil also played a role in far more metabolic pathways than fish oil did. This insinuates that krill oil and fish oil may have different biological effects in the body. Krill oil may be the better choice for cardiovascular health.
Another study was performed to compare krill oil and fish oil in patients going in for colorectal surgery. What researchers found was that the krill oil group had significantly better inflammatory cell infiltration, fibroblast activity, the formation of new arteries, and deposition of collagen.
Although both krill oil and fish oil supplementation in the patients before surgery reduced the risk of leakage, researchers concluded that krill oil might be a better alternative, as well as an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Side Effects and Precautions of Krill Oil
Overall, krill oil is well tolerated in healthy subjects. If you have a seafood allergy, you should not take krill oil supplements. Possible side effects are mild and include halitosis (bad breath), heartburn, a fishy taste in the mouth, indigestion, nausea, and loose stools.
Krill oil may slow the clotting of blood, and therefore should not be used for two weeks before surgery. Also, since krill oil can lower blood sugar, taking krill oil with diabetes medications can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
If you have diabetes and are thinking of taking krill oil, please speak to your health care provider first.
You may need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medicine. Some of these medications include:
- Glimepiride (Amaryl)
- Glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase)
- Pioglitazone (Actos)
- Rosiglitazone (Avandia)
- Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
- Glipizide (Glucotrol)
- Tolbutamide (Orinase)
Medications that slow the clotting of blood may also interact with krill oil. This is because krill oil also slows blood clotting, and taking it in combination with medications that perform this same action may lead to increased chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some of these medications include:
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn)
- Dalteparin (Fragmin)
- Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
Food sources and supplementation
As you can see, krill oil can have a significant impact on your health. Although we have listed ten benefits here, there are many more, including the improvement of PMS symptoms.
Researchers are finding more and more uses for krill oil every day. When we compare fish oil to krill oil, it looks like krill oil comes out on top. This is based on its bioavailability and absorption.
Krill oil is an excellent supplement option for those who would like to treat certain health conditions and prevent them, as well. Talk to your primary health care provider to see if you should buy krill oil today.
When it comes to taking a supplement, it is essential to do your homework. Finding a supplement you can trust can be difficult, and as evident from the points discussed in this article, many will make false claims about the actual nutritional content you are receiving.
However, finding a potent and effectively absorbed source of omega 3 is an integral part of your daily supplement routine.
You can find a reliable, high quality, pure and 100% natural Krill Oil at www.bensnaturalhealth.com.
Ben’s Wild Antarctic Krill Oil is sourced from the clean, pure and unpolluted waters of the Antarctic, and is more easily absorbed, more productive, and requires a much lower dose than fish oil to have the same effect.
Taking a high quality, 100% natural and krill oil supplement have the potential to relieve you of joint pain, improve your mobility, improve your memory and focus, and help improve your overall quality of life.
It will also help reduce inflammation and protect you against some of the biggest killers of men and women over 50, including heart disease, stroke, and dementia.