According to a study from Florida, krill oil supplementation can be used as an alternative to fish oil in terms of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) offers.
But how do they differ?
In this article, we will discuss the differences between fish oil and krill oils, the health benefits and side effects of krill oil, how to use it, what to consider before buying one, and the best brands you can consider.
Krill vs Fish Oil
Krill oil and fish oil are both known to support cardiovascular health because of their omega-3 fatty acids content.
These omega 3s are the EPA and DHA.
However, there are some differences when it comes to these two.
Krill oil is sourced from Antarctic krill while fish oil is sourced from fatty fish and oily fish. Usually, these are mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon.
Additionally, fish oil has a higher concentration of EPA and DHA.
However, these omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids incorporated in krill supplements make them more absorbable by the body because the omega-3 fatty acids of krill come in phospholipid form.
In one study from Japan, participants were given fish oil for 12 weeks.
The results show that fish oil can improve cognition. But, at lower doses krill can also provide the same effects.
Although it is safe to say that krill is more convenient, more research is needed to prove these findings.
Furthermore, in terms of taste and smell, krill oil is much preferred over fish oil.
Health Benefits of Taking Krill Oil
Antarctic krill oil supplements offer many health benefits.
According to a study from China, krill contains diverse lipid classes with bioactive components.
According to the journal of Mol Nutr Food Res, these dietary components are astaxanthin, sterols, tocopherols, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamin A.
These components are responsible for providing the health benefits of krill oil.
1) Improved cognition
The nutritional value of Antarctic krill oil improves your brain health by sharpening your cognition.
The phospholipids of krill act as chemical messengers in the brain to also support neuro-regeneration.
Based on randomized controlled trials, the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids of krill can also support proper brain development and function, especially during the teenage years.
Even at low doses, krill oil can already provide these benefits.
In another study from Korea, krill oil appears to improve memory and reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.
In the same study, it was also found that krill oil can be used to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
2) Reduce inflammation
Rheumatoid arthritis and other arthritis symptoms are indeed discomforting.
But, did you know that krill oil can help you manage these pain conditions?
According to a study from Switzerland, krill oil protects human health against experimental rheumatoid arthritis.
To understand better, experimental rheumatoid arthritis occurs due to permanent joint tissue destruction.
Some of the arthritic symptoms krill can also help address include chronic inflammation of joints, joint pain, stiffness of joints, mild knee pain, and swelling.
According to a study published in the Journal of Biotechnology Reports, the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids of krill can significantly reduce the cytokine levels of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Understand that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have high cytokine levels which induce inflammation and other arthritic symptoms.
Aside from rheumatoid arthritis, krill oil is also effective in healing sports injuries.
3) Prevent heart disease
According to the American Heart Association, a lot of people suffer from heart disease.
Furthermore, according to the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition, heart disease can cause strokes and heart attacks, due to the following cardiovascular risk factors:
- High blood pressure and irregular BP
- High levels of triglycerides (blood fats)
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, another risk factor for blood clots
- Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels
Fortunately, the omega-3 contents of krill oil can support heart health.
According to the Alternative Medicine Review, aside from reducing LDL cholesterol levels, krill oil can also reduce blood sugar levels.
Apart from the report from the Alternative Medicine Review, scientific evidence shows that krill oil protects human health by controlling blood sugar, especially for patients with diabetes.
If you wonder how blood sugar is related to cardiovascular health, remember that high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves that control your heart.
4) Increase lipid metabolism
Lipid metabolism is the breakdown of fats in the body and, according to a study published in the journal of Lipids Health Dis, the omega-3 contents of krill can promote proper lipid metabolism.
Also from the Lipids Health Dis study, it was found that krill can support fat burning and weight loss.
Thus, for obese or overweight individuals, taking krill as your supplement would be a great choice.
The omega-3 fatty acids of krill are strong antioxidants.
According to a study from China, these omega-3 fatty acids can prevent cancer by reducing oxidative stress.
Generally, the components absorb oxygen radicals and kill them before they can even harm the body.
According to a study from West Virginia, comparing the benefits of krill oil in terms of its antioxidant effects with fish, krill contains higher antioxidants, suggesting better benefits against oxidative damage.
6) Manage premenstrual syndrome
It is common for women to experience premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Generally, PMS symptoms are more painful than you can imagine.
Fortunately, these painful symptoms can be managed by using krill.
According to a study from Iran, the omega-3 fatty acids content of krill can also reduce PMS depression, nervousness, anxiety, bloating, headache, and breast tenderness.
The Side Effects
Aside from the benefits of krill, there are also some side effects.
Some of these will be discussed in this section.
1) Allergic reactions
Always keep in mind that krill oil is sourced from crustacean krill.
These are shrimp-like marine animals that may cause a seafood allergy.
In case you have taken krill and experienced this seafood allergy, seek medical consultation as soon as possible to avoid complications.
2) Drug interactions
Individuals who wish to take krill oil are advised to watch out for drug interactions. Some of these interactions can occur in patients taking blood thinners.
When you take blood thinners with krill oil, excessive bleeding and low blood pressure can happen as both of them come with blood-thinning effects.
3) Gastrointestinal upset
Although krill oil is safe for human consumption, just like other drugs and supplements, it can also cause gastrointestinal upset.
Other side effects of krill include reduced appetite, heartburn, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.
How to Use Krill Oil
- So, what is the proper way to use krill oil?
- Can anyone take it any time of the day?
According to the World Health Organization, the recommended dosage for krill oil is 250-500 mg per day.
However, this does not mean that this is the only thing you should consider.
For example, if you will be taking krill from food sources, these foods may provide higher or different dosages per serving.
In the case of supplements, you should take a look at the nutritional label as some krill oil soft gels offer unequal amounts of EPA, DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids.
According to a study from Boston, although the recommended dose is 250-500 mg per day, some individuals may need around 4 grams per day.
Thus, it is highly recommended to speak to your medical doctor before taking any krill oil products.
If you wish to take a krill oil supplement, take it with a meal or snack that contains dietary fat.
According to a study from Illinois, this can promote better absorption of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and decrease the risk of experiencing gastrointestinal upset.
What to Consider Before Buying Krill Oil: Buying Guide
Before buying krill oil products, you should consider some factors.
Aside from the benefits you wish to get not just from krill oil but also from all omega-3 supplements, other factors are:
- The fatty acids dosage of the krill oil
- Your current medications in case of possible drug interactions
- The freshness of the supplement, such as whether it comes with rancid or fishy smells
- Purity, it the supplement contains any other ingredients
- Bioavailability and sustainability
Sometimes, the cost of the supplement is also considered.
However, always choose quality over price when buying products, such as krill oil, which can affect overall health.
Best Krill Oil Brands
There are many krill oil brands in the market.
Although manufacturers of these supplements claim that their brands are more effective, you should know which brands to choose.
Some of the best krill oil supplements will be discussed in this section.
1) Neptune Krill Oil
Neptune Krill Oil is one of the best brands you can consider.
It is manufactured by Neptune Technologies & Bioressources, Inc.
Additionally, Neptune Krill Oil is processed and manufactured sustainably.
2) Kirkland Krill Oil
You can also consider the brand Kirkland.
This brand offers high-quality omega-3 content. As we all know, this brand is very accessible.
3) California Gold Nutrition Antarctic Krill
This brand offers a healthy content of krill protein concentrate.
To understand better, krill protein concentrate offers prevention of renal injury.
If you wonder how it can offer this benefit, keep in mind that krill can prevent diabetes.
Generally, diabetes is a risk factor for kidney disease.
Indeed, krill oil, an alternative to fish oils, offers many health benefits.
Some of these are for brain health, inflammation, heart problems, lipid metabolism, anticancer, and PMS syndrome.
However, there are also some side effects when taking these supplements. These side effects are allergic reactions, possible drug interactions, and gastrointestinal upset.
To achieve the benefits and prevent the side effects, everyone who wishes to use them is advised to consume proper dosages.
When taking one, it is better to take it with meals to increase the absorption of the supplement.