The Benefits Of Krill Oil

December 9, 2014

You may have been taking vitamin supplements for some time and if so, you will be well aware of the established benefits of fish oils.

The benefits of krill oil offers many of the same advantages of fish oil, but goes above and beyond what other types of fish oil can provide, making it a vastly superior choice.

Safe, natural and pure, krill oil delivers significant health benefits designed to protect you both now and in the future.

Krill oil isn’t as well-known as many of the other supplements but is widely considered to be safer and a very potent source of omega-3 and antioxidants.

Here’s a guide to the basics of krill oil, and the many ways it can deliver powerful benefits to your health.

What Is Krill Oil?

A fish that few people will be familiar with; krill lives in deep cold waters and is a tiny crustacean which is a popular food source for other ocean-dwellers, such as whales, penguins, seals and large fish.

Because they lie at the very bottom of the food chain, krill are particularly pure and untainted by mercury or other types of poisoning which can affect larger fish such as tuna. They are packed full of omega-3 as a result of their plankton diet.

Krill normally live in the seas off Antarctica, Russia, Vancouver, Ukraine and Japan and are a pinky-red colour because of their diet.

Astaxanthin sourced from krill

Krill oil is starting to gain a reputation as being far superior to fish oil, with all the benefits but not the drawbacks.

Just like fish oil, krill oil contains the all-important Omega-3 fatty acids, but in a slightly different form which is more accessible for the human body. Omega-3s are helpful in cutting the risk of heart disease and stroke1) by lowering the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in epidemiological and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of CVD. Large-scale epidemiological studies suggest that individuals at risk for CHD benefit from the consumption of plant- and marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids, although the ideal intakes presently are unclear. Evidence from prospective secondary prevention studies suggests that EPA+DHA supplementation ranging from 0.5 to 1.8 g/d (either as fatty fish or supplements) significantly reduces subsequent cardiac and all-cause mortality. For α-linolenic acid, total intakes of ≈1.5 to 3 g/d seem to be beneficial.

Another powerful ingredient in krill oil is astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant which has been linked with a large number of health benefits, and is believed to significantly reduce the risk of certain diseases such as cancer.

Astaxanthin is what turns the krill the bright red/pink colour and is one of the most effective antioxidants, protecting the entire body from the damage of free radicals.

Pure And Untainted

Typically harvested from the waters around the Antarctic, the krill are particularly pure compared to fish oil which is harvested from sea life higher up on the food chain.

The Food and Drug Administration in the US has warned that some types of fish such as tuna, marlin and swordfish, may contain particularly hefty amounts of toxins including methyl mercury, and as a result consumption of these should be limited in pregnant women and young children.

The presence of these toxins has led to reluctance by an increasing number of people to eat these types of fish, despite their indisputable health benefits. Supplements made from fish oil have the same problem, with the possible presence of toxins including methyl mercury.

The manufacturers of krill oil say that the product is far purer and safer than fish oil, without exposure to the toxins and methyl mercury which cause such controversy and consternation.


Fish are one of the most at-risk food sources in the world, with quotas and restrictions in place to limit the dangers that they will die out from human harvesting.

Krill has the largest biomass of any animal on the land or ocean; the amount of krill in the ocean is quite simply overwhelming. If you weighed the entire population of each animal – all the whales, all the elephants, all the birds, and even all the humans – krill would weigh the most of all.

Despite the fact that there is such an abundance of krill, there are still strict quotas in place which ensure the stock of the fish is managed properly. Bodies such as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources oversee the management of these quotas.

There are currently estimated to be around 4000 times more krill in the ocean than that which is being taken, so it’s not a resource which is in any danger, nor likely to become so as a result, unlike other fish which are harvested and used in fish oil.

Powerful Antioxidant

Krill oil has the advantage of containing high levels of astaxanthin, one of the strongest antioxidants available.

Antioxidants are essential to prevent the damage caused by free radicals, and can protect the cells against harm, death and even mutations such as cancer.

Astaxanthin has a very profound protective effect on the body and is one of the very few antioxidants which isn’t broken down and converted into Vitamin A after ingestion. In addition, it has the ability to deal with multiple types of free radicals at the same time; most antioxidants can only deal with single types of free radicals.

There’s no way to eliminate the presence of free radicals in the body; these are created all the time as a result of the oxidations process.

Astaxanthin also has the ability to cross the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers which means total protection for every part of the body.

Eases PMS

For women who suffer during their monthly cycle, PMS can be an utter misery with little relief available from the diverse range of symptoms. Estimates suggest that as many as three quarters of women suffer from PMS regularly at some point in their life.

pms symptoms

Current treatments include taking pharmaceutical painkillers and hormonal adjustments such as the contraceptive pill, an approach which more and more woman find carries too many adverse side effects to be considered an option.

Krill oil is a natural alternative and preliminary studies are suggesting that taking the oil on a regular basis could deliver significant benefits.

The Alternative Medicine Review reported a study 2) which showed that PMS symptoms including anxiety, sleep disturbances, bloating, water retention, sore breasts, muscular pains, food cravings, low mood and lack of interest could all be effectively treated with the use of krill oil.

Another Irish study 3) found that krill oil had the following reduction in symptoms:

• breast tenderness – 81% less
• forgetfulness – 77% less
• anxiety – 70% less
• headaches – 70% less
• bloating – 69% less
• skin outbreaks – 69% less
• insomnia – 62% less
• fatigue – 60% less
• food cravings – 59% less

Further clinical trials are now being planned in order to attempt these results as part of a larger study.

All of the scientific evidence, plus the subjective reports from women who have tried krill oil suggest that it is far more effective than other types of supplement and can deliver an effect solution from the misery of PMS and also weight loss.

Relieving Arthritis

Bringing inflammation and pain, arthritis is a condition which can be disabling and crippling, leaving individuals with severely restricted mobility which makes a real impact on quality of life.

Krill oil has been shown in numerous studies to deliver a reduction in the symptoms of stiffness, pain and loss of function with clinical trials still ongoing.4)

One reason for this is the presence of hyaluronic acid, found in krill; a substance which is known to block the destruction of cartilage. What is particularly beneficial about krill is the simultaneous presence of phospholipids, as these have been found to enhance the absorption rates of the hyaluronic acid. This allows far more of the effective compound to reach the damaged muscle tissues, healing and helping to protect against the ravaging effects of arthritis.

The extract is further boosted by the presence of astaxanthin, the antioxidant which is known to naturally help to protect cells against damage. The cell death which can be the underpinning feature of many inflammatory conditions is hugely reduced when antioxidants are introduced, having the effect of prolonging cell life and health.

Treating Cardiovascular Disease

One of the most widespread problems in the western world, cardiovascular disease is treated in a number of different ways.

Krill oil has been shown to have an impact on many of the conditions which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Blood pressure is known to be a major factor in the development of heart disease. There are many traditional medications to help keep blood pressure under control and these should never be stopped without consultation with a doctor.

However, krill oil has been shown to be able to quickly and effectively bring blood pressure under control; this is a direct result of two of the Omega 3 oils present in the preparation: EPA and DHA. The results of one of these studies confirming the effect of krill oil on blood pressure was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology while another was also published in the Journal of Food Science, two very respected sources. 5)

Cholesterol problems often go hand in hand with blood pressure and it’s never too soon to start protecting yourself against the dangers of raised cholesterol.

Cholesterol is made up of three primary substances: HDL, LDL and triglycerides. As a generalisation, HDL is considered ‘good’ cholesterol whilst LDL and triglycerides are considered to be ‘bad’. It is therefore desirable to reduce the latter two and increase the former.

One study published by the Alternative Medicine Review showed that krill oil helped to increase HDL levels by as much as 4.2%. At the same time, LDL – ‘bad cholesterol’ – was reduced by 34%. A dose of 1-3 g of krill oil per day was needed to achieve these results. 6)

The results of the present study demonstrate within high levels of confidence that krill oil is effective for the management of hyperlipidemia by significantly reducing total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, and increasing HDL levels. At lower and equal doses, krill oil was significantly more effective than fish oil for the reduction of glucose, triglycerides, and LDL levels.

A separate study reported in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry also found that triglycerides and total cholesterol levels were reduced as a result of taking krill oil.7)


Some individuals only suffer occasional migraines, preferring to lie down during an attack and taking painkillers till the symptoms subside whilst other suffer regular and disabling occurrences which require prescription medication.

Krill oil has been shown to also be effective in the treatment of migraines, banishing symptoms and bringing relief.

Brown University conducted some research which confirmed that omega-3, such as those found in krill oil, could be helpful in treating recurrent migraines. 8)

Mood regulator

The possible mood-altering effects of krill oil for those suffering with PMS has already been mentioned, but the fish extract has been shown to also have a beneficial effect on those suffering from other types of low mood and depression.

The Journal of Nutrition published a study which showed the effects of omega-3 oils on depression and mood disorders. Krill oil, and other omega-3 containing substances, could deliver an antidepressant effect, as well as stabilising mood. 9)

Separate research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry echoed these results but also found that patients who did not respond to standard antidepressant treatment were able to achieve a good result with the use of omega-3s instead. 10)


An all-rounder

Krill oil is an all-natural supplement which delivers effects more than 48 times more powerful than other fish oils and won’t expose the individual to nasty toxins or heavy metal poisoning. Pure and safe, the full extent of protection from krill oil is still being discovered but there’s potentially no end to the improvements it can deliver to an individual’s health.

With antioxidants to boost cell health and protect against further damage, plus the valuable omega-3s, krill oil should be considered as an essential supplement for any individual, either to maintain wellbeing or to improve health. Take them at any time of the day, preferably with food to prevent any gastrointestinal irritation.

Make sure you always purchase your krill oil supplements from a reputable supplier to ensure the contents are pure and of a therapeutic level. Don’t stop taking any existing medications without the permission of your doctor, and if you are taking any other treatments, it’s a good idea to get advice from either your pharmacist or your doctor before beginning to start taking krill oil supplements.

The benefits of krill oil have been shown to have advantages for children and babies, but advice should always be sought before adding any kind of supplement or medication to your child’s diet.

Image Credits: feature image, wikimediawowmuseum, Cardiovascular, 

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