Krill oil is extracted from tiny shrimp-like sea creatures. In Norwegian the word “krill” means “whale food”. Most brands use the Antarctic krill of the Euphausia superba species.
Krill oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like those also found in fish oil. They are defined as superfoods or healthy fats, and deservedly so. Our body cannot produce Omega-3 fatty acids alone and it is essential that we take sufficient quantities of them through our diet.
Types of omega-3 fatty acids
When we speak of Omega-3 fatty acids it is important to note that there are three main types of them. The eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in marine animals. Therefore, we should take krill oil or fish oil to supply our body with them. The third type of Omega-3, α-linolenic acid (ALA), is found in plant foods like flaxseed, chia, hemp, etc.
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for the proper functioning of a number of systems and organs, especially the brain. DHA is important for the nervous system health, has a range of anti-inflammatory benefits and can also improve mood, insulin sensitivity and muscle growth as well help improve sleep. Our body can turn EPA into DHA if the enzyme processes function properly.
Krill oil or other Omega-3 sources?
Krill oil is an excellent source of EPA and DHA because the polyunsaturated fats in it are in the form of phospholipids which the body can use immediately. EPA and DHA, found in fish oil, are in the form of triglycerides and need to undergo additional processing in the body. Krill oil has another advantage as well – it contains astaxanthin, which is a powerful antioxidant and protects the fragile fats from oxidation.
It is also important to say that we can obtain much more Omega-3 from the krill oil than from plant foods which contain only the third type of Omega-3, namely α-linolenic acid (ALA). Only 1-4% of ALA turn into DHA, so if we strive for greater usefulness and efficacy, we need to take Omega-3 of animal origin – krill oil or fish oil.
The cell membranes are composed mainly of phospholipids. This is the main reason for the easier absorption of the phospholipid form of krill oil by the body.
Cardiovascular and cardio health
A number of studies show that the daily intake of 1-1.5 g of krill oil lowers the bad cholesterol and increases the good cholesterol. Higher daily doses of 2-3 g significantly reduce the levels of triglycerides, another type of fats in the blood.
How do Omega-3 fatty acids help the heart?
It has been proven that Omega-3 fatty acids can lower the levels of triglycerides, which are in fact the fats found in the blood. The bigger the quantity of triglycerides in the blood is, the higher the risk of cardiovascular diseases is.
Omega-3 fatty acids lower cholesterol levels and reduce the stickiness of blood platelets. This, in turn, reduces the possibility of clot formation and prevents stroke. Krill oil is also a source of super-antioxidant astaxanthin, which also supports cardiovascular health.
Apart from having a beneficial effect on people who suffer from cardiovascular diseases, krill oil helps in rheumatoid arthritis, enhances bone health and promotes women’s health by eliminating most symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle.
Krill oil (EPA + DHA) can reduce joint pain and the feeling of numbness in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Early studies reveal that daily intake of 300 mg of krill oil reduces pain and numbness in people who suffer from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids and phospholipids are vital for brain health. They are found in big quantities in krill oil. Many studies have already revealed that omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA improve memory, mood and enhance concentration. Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain to function at top capacity and naturally slow down the process of ageing and wear and tear naturally. And this is not accidental at all. 60% of this organ is comprised of fats, with DHA being the largest portion.
Most women experience various physiological symptoms a few days before their menstrual cycle begins. This is due to hormonal changes. The balance between estrogen and progesterone is disturbed resulting in mood swings, bloating, increased breast tenderness etc. Phospholipids in krill oil support hormonal balance and may have a beneficial effect on changes associated with women’s menstrual cycle.