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10 Health Benefits Of Krill Oil: An Alternative To Fish Oil

Health Benefits Of Krill Oil

Krill oil can be a potential alternative to fish oil. The omega-3 fats in krill oil boost metabolism, manage obesity, tackle depression, and ensure heart health. They also show promise in easing conditions like ulcerative colitis, arthritis, glycemia, and even cancer. You may consume 300–1000 mg krill oil every day, but only after consulting a doctor.

If you’ve been getting your omega-3 fats – namely, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – through fish oil, either because you don’t have access to marine fish or because of mercury poisoning in the fish, you may want to give krill oil a try. Krill is a tiny crustacean (other crustaceans include crabs and lobsters) found in all oceans around the world. Some experts claim that krill oil, extracted from a species of the Antarctic krill, is even more helpful than fish oil. They hold that krill is less likely to be contaminated. Supposedly, the omega-3 fats in it are also more bioavailable since they are bound to phospholipids rather than triglycerides as in fish oil. While more research is required to establish this claim conclusively, as a dietary supplement, krill oil shows similar benefits as fish oil, thanks to its omega-3s.

1. Keeps Your Heart Healthy

The omega-3 fats in krill oil have benefits for the heart. Heart disease being the topmost cause of death in the United States, taking a ready source of omega-3, such as krill oil supplements, can help reduce your risk, provided you follow other heart-healthy practices as well.1 Krill oil also  slashes high cholesterol levels and significantly reduces the triglyceride levels.

2. Treats Arthritis And Inflammation

Inflammation is a painful symptom of arthritis, accompanied by pain, stiffness, and difficulty in movement. And krill oil, thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids present in it, can reduce inflammation.2

A group of researchers studied the effects of krill oil on mice with arthritis. Post the supplementation of krill oil, the mice showed less swelling and had fewer inflammatory cells in their joints. The levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation in the body, also came down.3

Another study showed that a daily supplementation of 500 mg krill oil improved the condition of arthritis patients by 20.3–28.9% as measured on the WOMAC scale – a standardized set of questionnaires doctors use to evaluate the symptoms of arthritis.4

Furthermore, as omega-3 fats show promise in the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis as well as acne breakouts, supplementation with krill oil can help.5

3. Improves Brain Health

Omega-3 fats are crucial for the healthy functioning of your brain. DHA, in fact, is responsible for the development of a fetus’ brain. EPA, meanwhile, influences your behavior and mood and reduces your risk of disorders like ADHD, dyspraxia, and dementia.6

4. Eases Premenstrual Syndrome

If you’re close to “that time of the month,” then consider giving krill oil a try to reduce symptoms of PMS. Krill oil can reduce nausea, cramps, and mood swings, which are the most common symptoms of PMS. The EPA and DHA in krill oil change the fatty acid composition of eicosanoids, the inflammatory chemicals responsible for menstrual cramps, and give rise to resolvins which are anti-inflammatory.7

A study shows that women who consumed 2000 mg krill oil for a period of 90 days reported a decrease in PMS symptoms, including breast tenderness, bloating, stress, irritability, depression, and weight gain.8

Since krill oil has beneficial effects against eicosanoids which are also involved in dysmenorrhea (painful period), endometriosis, and menstrual migraine, krill oil supplementation may help in these conditions as well.9

5. Helps Manage Obesity

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, krill oil is known to tackle obesity. EPA and DHA are commercially used in the treatment and prevention of obesity caused by excessive food intake. Studies suggest that these work by reducing the feeling of “reward” that is associated with food, thus curbing your food intake and appetite.10

6. Fights Depression

Along with enhancing brain function, krill oil could also reduce depression. A study that examined the effects of krill oil supplementation in rats observed that the oil could work as an antidepressant. EPA in krill oil is found to be responsible for this mood-elevating function.11

7. Boosts Metabolism

Again, thanks to the presence of omega-3 fats, krill oil can boost metabolism. And a high metabolic function can reduce fat buildup in the liver (hepatic steatosis), manage the high concentration of sugar in the blood (glycemia), and lower the cholesterol level in blood (hypercholesterolemia).12

8. May Treat Cancer

Krill oil could be helpful in the treatment of colorectal cancer, according to latest studies. It is touted to be a safer alternative or a more effective supplement to treatments like chemotherapy or radiation. The free fatty acid content in krill oil is believed to have anti-cancer properties as it causes apoptosis or programmed death of cancer cells.13

9. Treats Colon Ulcer

Krill oil has antioxidants that reduce inflammation. So supplementing with krill oil minimizes oxidative stress in the intestine and protects the colon from conditions like ulcerative colitis. By preventing inflammatory colon and bowel ailments, krill oil can also reduce your risk of colon cancer.14

10. Protects The Skin

Krill oil can protect the skin from damage and keep it healthy. By scavenging free radicals, it reduces oxidative damage to your skin cells. Its antioxidative nature also helps slow down aging while reducing wrinkles. It’s also effective in removing sun tans and moisturizing dry skin.

It’s safe to consume between 300 and 1000 mg krill oil every day, but not without asking your doctor first. The supplement is believed to work best when taken in the morning.

Krill oil is a surprisingly under-rated supplement. And with all the benefits that it has to offer, it deserves a place in your diet. However, don’t begin to consume it without consulting a doctor. Ideally, you must not consume over 1000 mg krill oil, unless prescribed by your doctor. If you overdose on the supplement, you may experience side effects like thinning of blood, heartburn, and diarrhea. If you notice any side effects like nausea or diarrhea, get immediate help. Needless to say, avoid krill oil if you’re allergic to seafood.

References   [ + ]

1. Backes, James, and Patricia Howard. “Krill oil for cardiovascular risk prevention: is it for real?.” Hospital pharmacy 49, no. 10 (2014): 907-912.
2. Goldstein Mark A.; Goldstein Myrna Chandler. Healthy Oils: Fact versus Fiction. ABC-CLIO, 2014.
3, 4. Ierna, Michelle, Alison Kerr, Hannah Scales, Kjetil Berge, and Mikko Griinari. “Supplementation of diet with krill oil protects against experimental rheumatoid arthritis.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders 11, no. 1 (2010): 136.
5. Millsop, Jillian W., Bhavnit K. Bhatia, Maya Debbaneh, John Koo, and Wilson Liao. “Diet and psoriasis, part III: role of nutritional supplements.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 71, no. 3 (2014): 561-569.
6. Kidd, Parris M. “Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids.” Alternative medicine review 12, no. 3 (2007): 207.
7. Calder, Philip C. “Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes.” Nutrients 2, no. 3 (2010): 355-374.
8. Sampalis, Fotini, Roxandra Bunea, Marie France Pelland, Odile Kowalski, Natalie Duguet, and Sébastien Dupuis. “Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil™ on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea.” Alternative medicine review 8, no. 2 (2003): 171-179.
9. Benedetto, C. “Eicosanoids in primary dysmenorrhea, endometriosis and menstrual migraine.” Gynecological endocrinology 3, no. 1 (1989): 71-94.
10. Golub, N., D. Geba, S. A. Mousa, G. Williams, and R. C. Block. “Greasing the wheels of managing overweight and obesity with omega-3 fatty acids.” Medical hypotheses 77, no. 6 (2011): 1114-1120.
11. Wibrand, Karin, Kjetil Berge, Michaël Messaoudi, Anaïs Duffaud, Debabrata Panja, Clive R. Bramham, and Lena Burri. “Enhanced cognitive function and antidepressant-like effects after krill oil supplementation in rats.” Lipids in health and disease 12, no. 1 (2013): 6.
12. Tandy, Sally, Rosanna WS Chung, Elaine Wat, Alvin Kamili, Kjetil Berge, Mikko Griinari, and Jeffrey S. Cohn. “Dietary krill oil supplementation reduces hepatic steatosis, glycemia, and hypercholesterolemia in high-fat-fed mice.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 57, no. 19 (2009): 9339-9345.
13. Jayathilake, Abilasha Gayani, Paul Vincent Senior, and Xiao Qun Su. “Krill oil extract suppresses cell growth and induces apoptosis of human colorectal cancer cells.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 16, no. 1 (2016): 328.
14. Grimstad, Tore, Bodil Bjørndal, Daniel Cacabelos, Ole Gunnar Aasprong, Emiel AM Janssen, Roald Omdal, Asbjørn Svardal et al. “Dietary supplementation of krill oil attenuates inflammation and oxidative stress in experimental ulcerative colitis in rats.” Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology 47, no. 1 (2012): 49-58.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.