The use of krill oil supplements has gained considerable importance in recent years. The following article highlights the benefits of the same.
Krill oil is obtained from krill, which is a tiny shrimp like crustacean. Its biological name is Euphausia superba. It can grow up to 6 cm in length, and is found mainly in the Antarctic ocean. Hence, it is also known as Antarctic krill. It feeds on phytoplanktons which are rich in antioxidants. Krill are eaten by whales and other marine animals like seals, penguins, and squids. In Japan, they are considered to be a delicacy called okami. The oil extracted from krill is sold as a nutritional supplement in the form of capsules.
This oil has a great nutritional value, as it is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, an antioxidant known as astaxanthin, and small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The oil contains omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These acids are present in phospholipids which provide easy absorption of nutrients in the cell, and are very essential during pregnancy. Studies have shown that DHA helps in the development of the brain and the eye of the fetus. It controls the cholesterol level, thereby minimizing the risk of heart attacks, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases. It also helps lower blood sugar levels. DHA can help ease the inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis. The fatty acid EPA, seems more influential on behavior and mood. DHA and EPA have also proved beneficial in certain brain and mental disorders like autism, dyslexia, and other cognition problems.
Astaxanthin present in krill is 100% esterified (bound to fat) and hence is readily absorbed in the digestive system. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and protects the brain and central nervous system from free radical damage. It protects the eyes and skin from the harmful UV radiation. It also helps in regulating the hormones and proves beneficial in reducing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
The oil supplements contain vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E in small quantities. These vitamins are fat soluble and therefore are easily absorbed in the body.
- Cures skin problems like eczema and helps keep the skin healthy
- Increases concentration and improves memory
- Enhances mood
- Promotes liver health
- Strengthens the immune system
Krill Oil Vs. Fish Oil
- The former is readily absorbed in the body and hence there is no aftertaste or ‘fish burp’ experience.
- The fish oil doesn’t contain phospholipids.
- The former has a better antioxidant potency and a longer shelf life than the latter.
- The EPA content in krill oil is higher, which aids in healthy function of the brain.
As krill oil has high fatty acid content, the common side effects include loose stools, diarrhea, or indigestion. People allergic to shellfish can experience severe pain in the abdomen, swelling of the face and neck, irritation in the throat or tongue, fainting, or dizziness. They are also found to interfere with medications used for decreasing the thickness of the blood. Since these supplements have not been in the market for long, they are not time tested. More research is required to determine their benefits. Hence, it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking these supplements.
People should consume only those supplements that do not include any artificial dyes and colors. They need to be taken for a long time in order to see the desired effects; however, the results may vary from person to person.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.