Krill Oil Health Benefits
The biggest benefit is on blood cholesterol, where multiple studies have shown that it raises HDL (the 'good' cholesterol) significantly while lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol) for a slight reduction in total cholesterol. It also appears to lower blood triglycerides, for an overall beneficial impact on heart disease.
Krill oil also appears to provide a notable reduction in C-reactive proteins in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, which helps with overall pain and inflammation. Studies done so far show a 30 per cent reduction in CRP within 30 days of beginning to take krill oil. One additional study shows that there is also a substantial reduction in overall symptoms of arthritis, but that study has not been repeated yet.
In addition to well-supported effects on cardiovascular health and arthritis, krill oil also seems to have some benefits for PMS symptoms, particularly in reducing irritability and easing overall blood flow.
How Krill Oil Works in the Body
Most people have heard plenty about the need to include omega-3 fatty acids in their diet for both heart and brain health, and the recommendation is usually to take them in the form of fish oil. What many people have not heard, though, is that there's a relatively new kid on the block that works even better. It's called krill oil.
Much like fish oil is made by separating out the fatty acids from the tissues of oily fish, krill oil is made using krill, which is a group of extremely small crustaceans. Krill have a similar fatty acid content to fish, with about the same levels of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and slightly more EPA (eicosapentanoic acid). Where krill gets its advantage, though, is in the specific form of the fatty acids.
Krill oil vs fish oil
Fish oil holds its fatty acids primarily in the form of triglycerides. The fatty acids in krill oil, on the other hand, are bound mostly as phospholipids. What does this mean on a practical level? It means that the fatty acids in krill oil have a much higher bioavailability than the ones in fish oil. Simply put, your body can use a whole lot more of what's in krill oil.
In addition to the fatty acids, krill oil contains various other compounds. The primary ones are vitamin E, which is beneficial to blood flow and metabolism, and astaxanthin, which is a carotenoid that helps with eye health and inflammation. It is still unknown whether krill oil contains these compounds in high enough percentages to make an impact, but research will surely continue.
How to Use Krill Oil
Since krill oil is still a relatively new product, there are a lot of differing views on the effective dose. Studies have used doses ranging from 300 milligrams per day to treat arthritis to 1 gram per day for cholesterol and all the way up to 2 grams per day to treat PMS (although the jury is still out on how effective it is for PMS). A good daily dose is generally considered to be around 1-1.5 grams per day in a soft gel form.
Krill Oil Warnings
Krill oil is a very safe supplement, but it should be avoided by people with seafood allergies, since it can trigger a reaction. In addition, there is some evidence that krill oil has a mild blood thinning effect, so you should speak to your doctor before using it along with blood thinning medications such as heparin, since using them together will increase your chances of bruising or bleeding from minor injuries. The blood thinning effect also means that you should discontinue use before undergoing any surgeries.
Since krill oil is composed entirely of fat, you should also be careful when using it with fat-blocking weight loss drugs such as Alli. Since those will inhibit the absorption of your krill oil, take them at least two hours apart to give the oil a chance to work.