For many years we’ve been told that we should be taking fish oil capsules for our overall health and wellbeing. We’re also told that if we take fish oil capsules, we’ll be helping our brain function too.
For that reason, it’s no wonder that many of us have been holding our noses and swallowing those rather unpleasant tasting capsules for many years.
So, with this all in mind, you might be interested to learn about the benefits of krill oil, as an alternative to those rather fishy-tasting capsules!
The advice still stands – fish oil is good for you, and has many benefits for your health. But, krill oil is another alternative product on the block that is not as well known.
You might have heard of krill oil. It is currently being marketed as a popular alternative to the regular type of fish oil. As its name suggests, it is derived from a small type of sea-dwelling creature called krill. Krill is mostly eaten as lunch by penguins and whales, to name just a few predators who love its taste.
Krill are also very sustainable, i.e. there are plenty of them in our oceans, so from an environmental point of view, you’re not doing anything particularly harmful.
- Why Should I Take A Form Of Fish Oil?
- The Benefits of Krill Oil
- 1. Krill Oil is a Good Way of Getting Your Intake of Healthy Fats
- 2. Krill Oil May Help Reduce Inflammation Within The Body
- 3. Krill Oil Helps With Joint Pain
- 4. Krill Oil May Contribute to Better Heart Health
- 5. Krill Oil May be Useful For Women Who Suffer From Severe PMS
- 6. Krill Oil is The Easiest Way to Ensure Omega 3 Enters Into Your Diet
- 7. Krill Oil Contains a Powerful Antioxidant
- 8. Krill Oil Does Not Contain Any Impurities
- Krill Oil May Help With Neurological Development During Pregnancy
- Krill Oil May Aid With Depression Symptoms
- How to Take Krill Oil
Why Should I Take A Form Of Fish Oil?
Not everyone finds it easy to consume the recommended amount of seafood every week. Not everyone even likes seafood, and some people are unfortunately allergic to it.
The thing is, if you don’t eat seafood, you’re missing out on some very important nutrients and vitamins which are naturally occurring in fish and other types of sea-dwelling creatures.
The recommended amount, just for information’s sake, is 8oz per week. If you don’t get that, you can top up your amount by taking a supplement instead, however it is vital to shop around for the right supplement, as not all products are equal in quality.
According to Authority Health, the benefits of krill oil are similar to those of fish oil, because it contains the same ingredients, namely DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). These are both types of omega 3 fats which are fantastic for brain function and overall health.
These are also only found in products which come from the sea. Omega 3 acids are vital to life, and whilst they can be found in small amounts in other types of foods, they are abundant in anything marine-related, and this is without a doubt the quickest way to get your daily amount.
As a side note, if you are allergic to any seafood product, be very careful in terms of the supplement you choose, and speak to your doctor first about any potential interactions.
The Benefits of Krill Oil
You will no doubt find krill oil next to the fish oil supplements in your health store, but for now, let’s talk about ten science-based benefits of krill oil, that might have you reaching for the nearest product yourself.
Remember, more research is ongoing into the exact benefits of krill oil, and to what extent those benefits reach. We’re all individual also, so it could be slightly different for one person to another. On the whole however, these are the main benefits of taking krill oil on a regular basis.
1. Krill Oil is a Good Way of Getting Your Intake of Healthy Fats
We’ve already mentioned that krill oil has omega 3 fats within it, namely EPA and DHA, and these are necessary for health and wellbeing. Despite that, there is some suggestion that the fats found in krill oil are easier for the body to digest than the ones found in regular fish oil.
This means you’re getting your healthy fats in an easier way, because the majority of these fats in krill oil are found in phospholipids and as free fatty acids, which are more easily absorbed than triglycerides, which is where you’ll find regular fish oil healthy fats.
Phospholipids are absorbed easier and quicker, and as a bonus, the capsules are smaller, so you won’t have that feeling that you might have with regular fish oil capsules – they sometimes feel like they’re ‘stuck’, give you indigestion, and make a rather fishy taste repeat back.
2. Krill Oil May Help Reduce Inflammation Within The Body
Overall, omega 3 fatty acids have been found to be fantastic for reducing inflammation in the body, however some studies have shown that krill oil might be even better at this than regular fish oil. Again, this is all down to the healthy fats being easier to digest in krill oil, but also because it contains something called astaxanthin, which also has extra anti-inflammatory effects for the body.
We’re going to talk about astaxanthin again shortly, as another benefit, but for now, the anti-inflammatory properties of krill oil could be fantastic for anyone who has a raised inflammatory marker, due to a health condition. When we have more inflammation in our body than is healthy, we are not at our best.
3. Krill Oil Helps With Joint Pain
We’ve just mentioned about the fact that omega 3 fats help with inflammation within the body, so it makes sense that inflammatory conditions like arthritis, which cause joint pain, could be helped by taking krill oil.
By reducing the body’s inflammatory marker level, stiffness, pain, and swelling could be reduced in joints anywhere in the body.
In addition, studies have shown that those taking krill oil on a regular basis reported improvement in their arthritis symptoms. More studies are currently going into the level of improvement and to really pinpoint the actual benefit this might have.
4. Krill Oil May Contribute to Better Heart Health
Many studies have shown that omega 3 acids are beneficial to overall heart health, and that they may also contribute to lowering cholesterol, when used as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Again, more studies are ongoing into the levels at which using krill oil could help with heart health, and how it lowers bad cholesterol, but for now, the results certainly seem positive.
This does however hinge on the person also looking after their general health and eating a healthy diet, as we just mentioned.
Krill oil alone cannot put right any wrongs which are being consistently undertaken, due to a poor diet and lack of exercise.
When used in conjunction however, it could be a good way to naturally lower cholesterol, for those who are borderline, and don’t necessarily want to take medication. Again, always speak to your doctor about this, as if you are advised about medication, you should heed that advice. The krill oil doesn’t replace the antihypertensive medication if it is needed.
5. Krill Oil May be Useful For Women Who Suffer From Severe PMS
More studies are currently ongoing into this particular benefit of krill oil, but there is a suggestion that taking krill oil regularly could help to reduce period pain and PMS-type symptoms for women. This is partly down to the reduction in inflammation, but it also seems have help reduce pain too, according to some studies.
Whilst more studies are ongoing into the actual degree to which taking krill oil could help with PMS-type symptoms, suggestions certainly show that a reduction in pain, cramping, and irritability are benefits that are within reach.
6. Krill Oil is The Easiest Way to Ensure Omega 3 Enters Into Your Diet
Perhaps not a scientific-based fact, but certainly a fact, because taking a krill oil supplement is by far the easiest way to ensure that you are getting your daily intake of omega 3 acids.
As we mentioned before, not everyone finds it easy to eat seafood, and some may even have an allergy. Therefore one capsule per day (always follow the instructions on the particular product in terms of dosage, as this may vary) is enough to give you what you need.
As we mentioned before, capsules of krill oil are often smaller than regular fish oil, so they are easier to take, without that rather nasty after-taste.
Many people have started taking fish oil capsules and stopped, mainly because of the after-taste, so the smaller krill oil option is a great alternative in that regard.
7. Krill Oil Contains a Powerful Antioxidant
We all know that antioxidants are vital for health and wellbeing, especially for your immune system, and krill oil doesn’t just contain omega 3 acids, but a powerful antioxidant too.
We’ve already mentioned it in passing, but astaxanthin is an antioxidant that is very beneficial and is easily digested.
Antioxidants help to boost your immune system, protect your body’s cells from damage by free radicals, and can also have anti-aging properties too.
8. Krill Oil Does Not Contain Any Impurities
More research is currently going into this claim, and it very much depends on the product, but overall, krill oil is a pure form of omega 3 acids and should not contain any impurities.
Many other fish oils may have a slight amount of mercury within them, because this is found within the oceans and seas, as well as the animals the fish feed upon.
Krill do not feed on anything other than phytoplankton, due to their small size, and phytoplankton don’t contain high levels of mercury.
Therefore there are very little toxins being passed on through taking a krill oil supplement of high quality. For this reason too, you should shop around when choosing your particular product of choice.
Krill Oil May Help With Neurological Development During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, many women are advised to ensure they get their daily amount of omega 3 acids, not only for their health, but also for the health and development of their unborn child. Within this however, there are some concerns about seafood, and whether they should be eaten at all during this time.
Studies have suggested that omega 3 acid could help with the neurological development of a child’s brain and nervous system, so supplements are a good option.
Always speak to your doctor before making any dietary changes, and before taking any supplements during pregnancy however. In addition, make sure the product you do choose (after advice) is suitable for pregnant women.
Krill Oil May Aid With Depression Symptoms
More research is currently going into the effects of krill oil on depression, but some studies have suggested that there may be a link between omega 3 acids and depression symptom relief. This is likely to be due to the fact that omega 3 reduces a hormone called corticotropin.
This then boosts two other neurotransmitters which are vital for mood, called dopamine and serotonin. When these are increased, mood is lifted and it is thought that depression symptoms are reduced.
These are 10 science-based benefits of krill oil, and from that list, you can understand why so many people are choosing to opt for a supplement!
How to Take Krill Oil
A lot more research needs to be done in terms of deciding upon a set dosage of any type of omega 3 oil from a supplement. Currently, there is no set dosage, and it is according to the product you’re taking. For that reason, always read the label and follow instructions.
You should also consult with your doctor before deciding to take any kind of supplement. Whilst there isn’t any solid evidence on side effects, it all depends on the person, e.g. the conditions they might have, medications they’re taking, and their current lifestyle.
Your doctor will be able to advise you and tell you whether a krill oil supplement is a good idea for you, as well as possibly giving you advice on the best product to use.
Before deciding upon a particular product always shop around and read reviews, to find the best one for your needs. There are countless on the market, and there are no real regulations to stop poorly manufactured products from occurring. If you do your homework however, you should be able to avoid this pitfall with ease.
Paula graduated from medical School of the Universidad Central de Venezuela. She is a qualified gynaecologist and human reproductive biologist. She is currently a professor of gynaecology and oncology (Sociedad de Obstetricia y Ginecología) in Venezuela. You can connect with Dr Paula via Linkedin here.