benefits of krill oil

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Benefits of Krill Oils

From: Marilyn Walter
Fremont, California

          Benefits of Krill Oils 

Krill or euphausiids (euphasia superba) is a type of shrimp-like crustaceans that are commonly found in vast numbers in every ocean in the world. Krill fall at almost the bottom of the food chain, as they feed on several types of planktons. 

Japan and Soviet Union harvests krill as a food source and have been domesticating them since the 19th century. Because of their large number, krill as a food source is very sustainable, and krill oils have been known to contain many benefits to human health. 

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Primary Nutrients Found in Krill Oils: Astaxanthin, Omega 3, and Choline 

One of the primary nutrients that could be found in krill oils is astaxanthin. This is known to be a very potent antioxidant. The algae that krill eats contain astaxanthin, which make it a good source of the nutrient. This substance gives krill their pinkish color. 

Antioxidants are bound to fight free radicals, which are known to cause damage to healthy cells. Many supplements carrying this substance are aimed at improving immune function, cardiovascular health, fighting inflammation, and slowing down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. 

Omega fatty acids are also found in krill oils. These are known to combat inflammation and infections that could cause certain diseases. Many experts often compare krill oils to fish oils, both of which contain the omega 3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (decosahexaenoic acid). These are present in the phospholipids of krill oils, which lead to a higher ratio of DHA and EPA distribution and absorption. 

This makes it a little more superior than fish oils, which have these substances in triglycerides. In addition, the flavor and smell of krill oil is quite better than fish oil. Choline, which is a phospholipid, may also be found in krill oils. 

Choline is an essential nutrient for improving the function of the brain. This is especially beneficial for pregnant women, as it would help in their unborn child’s brain development. 

           Health Benefits of Krill Oils 

Combating Inflammation and Joint Pain 

A clinical study published in a Journal of the American College of Nutrition issue in 2007 have shown that krill, when taken in a certain dosage every day, could reduce inflammation, pain, functional impairment, and stiffness connected with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis after a week. 

A randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study was conducted to test krill oil’s effect on chronic inflammation. The subjects composed of 90 people with cardiovascular disease and/or osteoarthritis and/or rheumatoid arthritis, along with high CRP (C-reactive protein) levels, which is known to be an excellent marker of inflammation. 

The first group took a daily dose of 300mg of krill oil, while the second group took the placebo. CRP and WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities) osteoarthritis scores were measured at baseline and at after 7, 14, and 30 days. The result was quite remarkable, which included reduction in pain scores by 28.9 percent; reduction in stiffness by 20.3 percent; and reduction in functional impairment by 22.8 percent. Krill oil reduced CRP by about 19.3 percent after 7 days, 29.7 percent after 14 days, and 30.9 after 30 days. 

Although further studies are required to establish krill oil’s full effectiveness on reducing inflammation, these trials showed its potential in preventing inflammation through the reduction of CRP, which could aid in alleviating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in a short span of one to two weeks. 

Lowering Cholesterol Levels 

Among the major risk factors for heart diseases are having high LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and triglycerides while having low HDL (good cholesterol) levels. A clinical study determining the effect of krill oil on cholesterol tested 120 individuals, who were given with fish oil, krill oil, and a placebo. After 90 days of continuous daily dose (1g krill oil, 3g fish oil).

The result on krill oil is 34 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol and an increase of 43.5 percent in HDL cholesterol, which was quite superior to the result from fish oil, which had a reduction in LDL cholesterol of 4.6 percent and an increase in HDL cholesterol by about 4.2 percent only, clearly suggesting the superiority of krill oil’s cholesterol lowering effects than that of fish oil. 

After 90 days, those who’ve taken krill oil continued taking it for another 90 days but with half the dosage as maintenance. The result is about as equally effective as the 90 days with a dosage of 1g. 

Improving Prostate Health 

Krill oils contain omega 3, which, aside from being known as a heart nutrient, could also benefit the prostate. A 2006 issue of the British Journal of Cancer published a small study that determined omega 3’s ability to prevent the spread of cancer cells in the prostate, which is through blocking omega 6 activity. 

Omega 6 is an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce by itself but can be obtained from food. However, this is also known to cause inflammation, and may serve as an energy source of tumors such as those that grow as prostate cancer cells. 

The right balance of omega 3 and omega 6 should be taken to prevent prostate cancer. Fish oils contain both these fatty acids, but most often than not, their omega 6 content is very high, and the bioavailability of omega 3 appears to fall at about 65 percent. Krill oil contains omega 3 in phospholipids. In this form, 100 percent of omega 3 in krill oil is absorbed by the body. 

Treating Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Symptoms 

A huge majority of women experience at varying degrees of severity certain social, mental, and physical distresses every month because of PMS. Normally, prescription drugs could be the first aid for these symptoms. However, with their known side effects, one would rather resort into natural remedies such as krill oil. 

Several studies suggest of krill oil as an effective treatment for the symptoms of PMS. One of the PMS symptoms that krill oil could treat is the cravings for sweets. A clinical study tested 70 women and the principal results were measured by a PMS self-assessment survey as based from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The study suggested that inflammation is a major cause of PMS symptoms, which rooted from their metabolism of fat while on this condition. 

The result was a significant reduction in intake of pain relievers, particularly anti-inflammatory drugs, for those who took krill oil daily in a period of 90 days. Other symptoms, such as breast tenderness, nausea, cramping, headaches, and bloating, were also reduced. 

The emotional symptoms of PMS, which included overwhelm, depression, irritability, and stress, were also reduced in women who took krill oil. This was claimed as the effect of DHA existent in krill oil, which substance helps in improving brain function. 

Improving Eye Health

Eye diseases concerning the retina could be caused by having a diet with high amounts of omega 6 and low amounts of omega 3, as based on a study published in a 2007 issue of Nature Medicine. 

The study focused on testing the benefit of omega 3 and damaging effect of omega 6 fatty acids, both of which are naturally found in fish oil, on a mice’s retina with oxygen-induced retinopathy. The study was conducted by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University of Goteborg (Sweden), 2 organizations of NIH (National Institute of Health): NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and Children’s Hospital Boston. 

The researchers found out that an increase in omega 3 and decrease in omega 6 through diet reduced the area of vessels loss that causes the progression of blindness and abnormal vessels. Omega 6 greatly contributes to the progression of abnormal vessels in the retina. 

To determine this discovery, they compared mice that were given higher omega 3 than omega 6, and mice with lesser amounts of omega 3. The result is the mice with an increased amount of omega 3 had a 50 percent reduction in retinopathy, which shows that omega 3, when taken in higher amounts, could suppress the inflammatory effect of omega 6. The dominance of omega 3 to omega 6 in krill oil is 15:1, which is far greater than fish oil, which only have about 2:1 or 3:1.

Improving ADHD 

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is experienced by about 6 percent of adults and 12 percent of children in North America alone. Ritalin has been the most common treatment for this condition, but a Canadian team of researchers disbelieved of its ability and observed no effect from the medication when used after 4 weeks in 62 trials. On the other hand, studies regarding the effectiveness of the omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA from fish oil were very promising, and these substances were at a much higher concentration in krill oil.

A clinical study initiated by the International Organization of ADHD, which was conducted by Barry University, along with Canadian naturopath clinics, tested krill oil’s effect in adults. Positive results were seen when krill oil was used on adults. These results were measured by Barkley’s Executive Function score of daily functional capacity, social behavior, and behavior inhibition. 30 healthy adults took 500mg of krill oil every day, which lasted for six months. While 5 of them didn’t reach completion, there were no adverse effects from krill oil’s use. 

The remaining 25 that completed using krill oil every day for 6 months showed excellent scores. These included a 60.2 percent improvement in working capacity and concentration; 39 percent improvement in the ability to focus; 50 percent improvement in planning skill; 34.2 percent improvement in the ability to manage money; 48.8 percent improvement in social skills; and 34.5 percent improvement in road safety skills and driving capacity.












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