The Health benefits of Krill Oil


What are Krill?

Krill are tiny transparent zooplankton, invertebrates resembling shrimp that float in gigantic swarms in the oceans around the planet. Their average, fully grown size reaches about two inches in length and yet they make up the greatest animal biomass in the world. A large variety of marine animals such as fish, whales, penguins and squid use krill as their main source of food and without them most of the life forms in Antarctic waters would cease to exist. Krill in turn, feed on the single-celled, microscopic phytoplankton drifting near the surface of the ocean that uses carbon dioxide and energy from the sun to grow and reproduce.

Krill oil is extracted from krill. Krill oil contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA).  It also contains two very potent anti-oxidants in astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. These sought after nutrients in krill oil are in a form that is easy for the human body to absorb. While these same fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are what made fish oil so famous, they are not as readily available to the body from the fish oil. The  EPA and DHA in krill oil is also the source of choline, a potent, stress lowering, phospholipid not available in fish oil. Krill oil also contains vitamins A, E and D and its anti-oxidant potency is found to be 48 times greater than that of fish oil.

Benefits of Krill Oil for Health

Scientifically backed studies show that Krill oil offers benefits for several health issues.  Most of the research is centred around four main areas that include heart and cardio health, joint wellbeing, women’s fitness, and brain health. In cardio health, consumption of krill oil improves HDL (good cholesterol), while reducing LDL (bad cholesterol), and triglycerides.

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One clinical study lasted over three months and involved 120 individuals with elevated cholesterol levels. The participants were given a dose of krill oil supplement ranging from one to three grams daily depending on their body mass, while a second group receive placebo and a third group was given fish oil. It was found that the group receiving krill oil was successful in lowering total cholesterol by thirteen per cent. It lowered triglycerides by 11%, and LDL by 32% while elevating HDL cholesterol by 44%. This result was significantly better than the group receiving placebo and moderately better than the group getting fish oil.1

Arthritis is another ailment that is caused by inflammation. The fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 are necessary for good joint health. When there is an abundance of omega-6 but not sufficient amount of omega-3 in the body, it leads to inflammation which in turn brings on joint pain.  In a 2007 study, Canadian scientists gave 90 patients with chronic inflammation and arthritis, 300mg of krill oil for just seven to fourteen days. Using a standard established by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities called the WOMAC scale; patients were evaluated for pain, stiffness and functional impairment.  Patients reported almost 29% reduction in pain, 20% stiffness reduction and 23% functional impairment reduction.2

Omega-3s found in krill oil slow down the body’s manufacture of inflammation-producing compounds and manufacture bio-chemicals that actually keep inflammation in check. New studies indicate that eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA) the two main constituents of omega-3 fatty acids actually promote the production of resolvins and protectins, components which aid in lowering inflammation. The protectins found in DHA actually offer more protection against inflammation.3 Lastly, omega-3s are associated with cutting down the amount of two cytokines that cause inflammation in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.4

Latest research indicates that fatty acids like EPA and DHA, which are better absorbed by the body from krill oil, are effective in averting Alzheimer’s disease. In one study involving 45 elderly patients, near-infrared spectroscopy and electroencephalography was used to research the effect of krill oil ingestion on cognitive function. Cerebral cortex changes in phosphatidylcholine were measured during memory as well as calculation tasks. The study found clear evidence that the omega 3 fatty acids in krill oil were most effective in activating cognitive function in the elderly.5

Another important study that started in 1948 and ended in 2005 called the Framingham Heart Study, followed two-thirds of the population of a town by the same name in Massachusetts, U.S.A. One of the findings of this study was that consumption of 180 milligrams of DHA daily reduced dementia by fifty per cent.6

It has been observed that countries having higher fish consumption registered fewer cases of depression. Later a link was established between omega-3 and depression, when it was discovered that individuals with lower levels of omega-3s in their bodies had higher chances of becoming depressed and develop other psychological problems. It is believed that this happens because cell membranes are partially made up of omega-3s and more omega-3s in the body allows for easier passage of messages between brain cells. While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, it is known that the omega-3s do impact the functioning of brain cells. One study involving 432 individuals to determine the efficiency of omega-3s was started in 2005 and ended in 2009. In this double-blind study half of the participants received omega-3 supplements while the other half got a placebo. It was found that participants receiving omega-3s showed improvement in depression symptoms. The study also included patients who were resistant to antidepressant therapy.7

Krill oil is also beneficial for treating the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmennorhea (menstrual cramps). One 1995 study with Danish women found that minimal intake of omega-3s led to greater PMS pain compared to those who had greater intake of omega-3s from fish or other sources. In a different study treating adolescents with 2 grams of omega-3 from fish oil every day for two months cut down on PMS mood swings. In one krill oil specific study 70 participants were given 2 grams of krill oil for one month, and compared to women with PMS who were given 2 grams of fish oil. It was found that krill oil reduced irritability, stress and depression in addition to physical symptoms of PMS after 45 days while fish oil reduced only some of the symptoms.

A number of studies associate krill oil supplements with diabetic benefits. Elevated glucose and triglyceride levels are factors that lead to development of diabetes. It has been found by a study published in Diabetes Research that supplementing a diabetic friendly diet with omega-3s like the ones found in krill oil, can improve insulin sensitivity in patients not dependent on insulin. The same study also found that triglyceride levels can be lowered by taking omega-3s. Diabetics frequently have elevated fatty acid content in the blood due to the inability of the liver to split up macronutrients. Krill oil promotes liver health, so the diabetic liver can properly break apart large nutrients like proteins, fats and sugars so they do not harm the arteries. One study available in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) journal found that krill oil supplements reduced the liver fat in rats by 60%. Another study divided participants into three groups and one group was given a placebo, the second group low dose of krill oil and the third a high dose of krill. The results revealed that the group receiving high dose of krill oil had a 30% drop in triglycerides.9

The human brain is made up of roughly sixty per cent fat. A report in “Indian Journal of Paediatrics” states that at birth the brain is only about 70% of the weight it attains in adulthood. Fifteen per cent of the remaining growth takes place during infancy, and remainder is completed by the age of six years. DHA, one of the main constituents of omega-3s in krill oil, forms roughly 80% of the brain’s cerebral cortex, the part controlling impulse and attention. Since omega-3s are imperative for the development of the brain, scientists have been studying them for ADHD benefits. According to the findings of one privately funded study the results of which were released to the press in January of 2007, twenty five ADHD patients were given a 500 milligram dose of krill oil daily for a period of six months. The participants showed significant improvement in concentration, planning abilities and social skills.

krill oil

Another major benefit of krill oil is that it contains astaxanthin. This is a powerful antioxidant similar to lycopene in tomatoes and beta-carotene in carrots. It is responsible for slowing the process of oxidation in the body by neutralizing free radicals. While oxidation is a natural part of all living systems, left unchecked it can damage our DNA, lead to age-related macular degeneration, speed aging and cause carcinogenesis (convert normal cells into cancerous cells). Recent research shows that astaxanthin is better than beta-carotene and vitamin E for eye protection against UV radiation. It is more effective at scavenging the free radicals that cross the blood-brain barrier and collect in the cones of retina leading to age related macular degradation. Furthermore, in a strictly controlled Japanese clinical study, it was found that astaxanthin elevates the level of good cholesterol and the vital protein hormone adiponectin, which plays a critical role in many metabolic processes.10 A separate human clinical study using 30 middle-aged and older participants found that astaxanthin may avert dementia.11

The Krill Miracle supplements contains the following:

krill ingredients

 

Find out more about The Krill Miracle dietary supplement.

Sources:

  1. Bunea R, Farrah KE, Deutsch L. (2004). Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. Altern Med Rev, 9(4):420-428.
  2. Deutsch L; Evaluation of the Effect of Neptune Krill Oil on Chronic Inflammation and Arthritic Symptoms; Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 26, No. 1, 39-48 (2007 Apr).
  3. Serhan CN, Gotlinger K, Hong S, et al. Anti-inflammatory actions of neuroprotectin D1/protectin D1 and its natural stereoisomers: assignments of dihydroxy-containing docosatrienes. J Immunol. 2006 Feb 1;176(3):1848-59.
  4. James MJ, Gibson RA, Cleland LG. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory mediator production. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan;71(1 Suppl):343S-8S.
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3789637/
  6. Johnson EJ, Schaefer EJ. Potential role of dietary n-3 fatty acids in the prevention of dementia and macular degeneration. Am J Clin Nutr 2006 Jun;83(6 Suppl):1494S-1948S.
  7. François Lespérance, Nancy Frasure-Smith, Elise St-André, Gustavo Turecki, Paul Lespérance, Stephen R. Wisniewski. The Efficacy of Omega-3 Supplementation for Major Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial.Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2010; DOI: 10.4088/JCP.10m05966blu
  8. Sampalis F, Bunea R, Pelland MF, et al. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea. Altern Med Rev. 2003;8:171-179.
  9. Altern Med Rev 2004;9(4):420-428
  10. Yoshida H, Yanai H, Ito K, Tomono Y, Koikeda T, Tsukahara H, Tada N. Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis. 2010 Apr;209(2):520-3. Epub 2009 Oct 14.
  11. Kiyotaka Nakagawa, et al. Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes, British Journal of Nutrition (2011)

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About Andy Williams

In a processed food culture, simply eating may not be enough. Andy Williams, B.SC., Ph.D. is a scientist with a strong interest in Juicing and how it can supply the body with the nutrients it needs to thrive in modern society. You can subscribe to his free daily paper called Juicing The Rainbow and follow him on Facebook orTwitter. You can also follow me on Google +

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