V. Vijayarahavan, V. Alamelu, R. Rajeshkannan, S. Vimaladevi and S. Balasundari
Krill oil, a super source of omega-3 fatty acids is obtained from krill (Euphausia superba), which is a crustacean similar to shrimp. It offers the same health benefits that you get from fish oil.
Krills may be small creatures found in world ocean but play important role in the ecosystem. They are near bottom of food pyramid, feed on phytoplankton and zooplankton. Antarctic krill are keystone species found in Antarctic Ocean. Today commercial fishing of krill is done in Southern ocean. Most krills caught are used as fish feed in aquaculture or as bait in fishing. They are used by pharma industry. Krills or okiami are eaten in Japan and parts of Russia. Krill tastes similar to shrimp, though more salty and stronger. Their exoskeleton has concentrated form of fluoride which is removed before human consumption. Antarctic krill benefits are more known and Antarctic pure krill oil is considered to popular.
The main advantage of krill oil is that the omega-3 fatty acids in it are easier to be absorbed by your body. This is because the omega-3 fats are in the form of triglycerides in fish oil, while it is form in a double-chain phospholipid form in krill oil.
Health benefits of Krill oil
The two simple ways to have a healthy body are to increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids and also to increase the levels of antioxidants in your body. Krill oil is an excellent source of both these components and hence is found to show immense health benefits to human beings.Anti-inflammatory effects
Inflammation is considered to be a defense mechanism of your body against microbes, diseases and injury. Omega-3 fatty acids are a well-known for their natural anti-inflammatory power. Krill oil is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Studies reveal that krill oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help in inhibiting inflammatory symptoms in people suffering from chronic inflammation. It has been found that krill oil produces protectins and resolvins, which are compounds that help in suppressing inflammation before your tissues are damaged. The anti-inflammatory effects of krill oil make it very effective in treating inflammation related disorders like arthritis.
According to studies, krill oil helps in managing the lipid levels in people having hyperlipidemia, a condition characterized by increased levels of triglycerides or both. Krill oil was found to reduce the levels of triglycerides, bad cholesterol or LDL and total cholesterol, to a considerable amount. At the same time it helped in increasing the good cholesterol or HDL levels.
It has been found that omega-3 fats have a protective effect on your heart. One of the main contributors of heart diseases is high cholesterol. The omega-3 fats in krill oil helps in reducing cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. In addition to controlling cholesterol levels, omega-3 fats also helps in preventing heart diseases by preventing cardiac arrhythmia, preventing deposition of fat in your arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing inflammation.
Lowers blood pressure
According to The American Heart Association, omega-3 fatty acids are effective in reducing high blood pressure. Since krill oil is rich in omega-3s, consuming it regularly is helpful in preventing hypertension. However, before using krill oil as a remedy for high blood pressure, it is important to seek the advice of your doctor.
Krill has been found to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels and in improving insulin resistance. According to a study issued in Diabetes Research, the regular intake of omega-3 supplements helped in improving insulin sensitivity in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Krill oil helps in improving liver health in diabetic people, which in turn ensures the proper breaking down of fats, sugars, and proteins so that they do not cause blockage in your bloodstream.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
It is common for most women to experience many kinds of emotional and physical discomforts during menstruation. Dysmenorrhea or severe uterine pain is one of the many symptoms of PMS that can affect the daily activities and needs medication. Studies reveal that krill oil is effective in relieving dysmenorea and in reducing the other symptoms of Premenstrual syndrome.
A study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, revealed that the consumption of krill oil supplements had a major impact on appetite and the accumulation of fat. The study was conduction on rats and the results showed that krill oil has the power to ease metabolic problems that are associated with obesity. Omega-3 fats are found to be beneficial in helping you lose weight. Krill oil, being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids can therefore aid in weight loss.
The deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids is considered to be a main factor that leads to many psychological and neurological problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative disorders. Studies show that the intake of essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA helps in improving memory, cognitive skills and rate of learning to a great extent. When it comes to omega-3 fats, krill oil is considered to be the best option available. Krill oil is also considered good over depression and anxiety.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Krill oil is considered promising over relieving attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Fatty acid profile of krill oil is different from that of fish oil and considered better for ADHD over fish oil. Omega 3 composition of krill oil is beneficial for ADHD. Scientific research on krill oil and ADHD is still not conclusive.
Studies show that the increased intake of omega-3 fats, especially DHA is helpful in increasing bone mass and in strengthening bones. Krill oil, which is a good source of DHA and EPA, can help in preventing osteoporosis, a condition that causes the thinning and weakening of bones, making them prone to fractures. EPA is found to increase the levels of calcium in your body, which in turn helps in making your bones strong and healthy.
Boosting immune system
Krill oil has been found to help in boosting the immune system because of the presence of high concentrations of DHA and EPA in it. This oil is beneficial in reducing inflammation and in fighting off infections and pathogens that cause various diseases. Moreover, the antioxidants in krill oil, like astaxanthin also contribute to a strong immune system and better disease fighting capability.
Krill oil also offers several benefits to your skin as well. The high levels of the antioxidant Astaxanthin helps in fighting free radicals and in eliminating the oxidative damage caused by these free radicals to your body. Oxidative stress to your cells caused by free radical can lead to premature aging. Antioxidants found in krill oil can help in preventing the signs of early aging such as wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots and leave your skin looking soft, smooth and young. Krill oil also helps reduce and cure acnes.
In addition to offering various kinds of health benefits, krill oil is also helpful in keeping your hair healthy and lustrous. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly essential for maintaining healthy growth of hair. The omega-3 fats in krill oil are found to be effective in making your hair follicles strong and in moisturizing your scalp, thus preventing dry scalp. Since these essential fatty acids contribute to the re-growth of cells, they are very useful in preventing damage of hair and hair loss.
Side effects, risks and interactions of krill oil
- Krill oil has been associated with only a few side effects. People who are allergic to shell fish may develop allergic reactions while consuming krill oil.
- Some of these reactions include shortness of breath, bloating, difficulty swallowing, and skin rash. Acid reflux, heartburn, gas, diarrhea or bloating may also be experienced by some people.
- People having bleeding disorders should talk to their doctor before using krill oil. It is recommended to stop the usage of krill oil two weeks prior to surgery, as it can cause slow clotting of blood.
- Pregnant or nursing women should also consult their doctor before krill oil dangers.
- Those who are on regular medications should talk to their doctors before taking krill oil supplements. Krill oil increases the risks of bleeding and may interact with anti-coagulant and anti-platelet medications. So if you are on blood thinning or anti-coagulant medications make sure to be very cautious when you are taking krill oil supplements.
(The authors are working at Dr. MGR Fisheries College and Research Institute, TNJFU, Thalainayeru, Nagapattinam. Views expressed are their own.)