What is krill oil?
You’ve probably heard about taking Omega-3 fish oil for heart health – it’s a very common supplement, taken by millions of people every day, but have you heard of krill oil? Boasting the same vibrant Omega-3 fatty acid profile as fish oil, krill oil is significantly more sustainable than fish oil harvesting. In addition, krill oil is substantially less likely to be contaminated by high levels of mercury.
So just what is krill? Well, krill is a type of sea-dwelling, tiny crustacean. They look like tiny shrimp, and they live all over the world, feeding on algae, which packs them full of the healthy omega-3 we need. A major source of food for most whales, krill is likely the largest biomass on the planet.
Because of their massive biomass and their tiny size, they are incredibly sustainable and don’t live long enough to accumulate toxic levels of mercury, like large fish. This makes krill oil supplementation ahead of the pack for omega-3s, sustainability, and overall health, even compared to the best omega 3 fish oil.
Benefits of Krill Oil
Because Omega-3s are necessary for human life, the immediate benefit of ensuring you get enough is obvious. Krill and fish oil are great for an abundance of other health concerns as well. Krill oil is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and so the list of benefits includes:
- Heart health – improves good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol
- Inhibits cancer cell growth – omega-3s have been studied and shown to inhibit some cancer cell growth, and in some cases reverse that growth
- Suppresses autoimmune disorders and bodily inflammation in general
- Likely due to the anti-inflammatory nature of krill oil, it has positive effects on mental health. In addition, the omega-3s boost serotonin and dopamine, which can have a profound effect on anxiety and depression.
- Positively implicated in the slowing of the progression of Alzheimer’s
Krill Oil vs Fish Oil
Though both the best fish and best krill oil supplements provide similar benefits (they’re both omega 3 suppliers of course), there are a few key differences. In addition to the sustainability factor of krill and the lower levels of mercury, the benefits include:
- Krill oil is more bio-available than even the best fish oil, which means it’s better absorbed and used
- A higher density of omega-3s help keep hormones in balance during pre-menstruation, lowering symptoms of PMS
- Krill oil contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, which protects the EPA and DHA (omega-3s) from degrading and losing efficacy
Krill Oil Side Effects
Though regarded as safe, there are some krill oil dangers that it shares with fish oil, the most severe being that it could trigger an allergic reaction in people with a seafood allergy. In addition:
Bleeding – krill and fish oils can slow blood clotting, making surgery and everyday injury potentially more dangerous
Pregnancy – there’s not enough research to say whether it’s safe to take krill oil during pregnancy, so it’s best to avoid it
Diabetes and obesity – it’s possible that krill oil can lower blood sugar too much in someone with diabetes, resulting in hypoglycemia. In addition, it can affect insulin action in obese patients, which can slow weight loss
Less significant side effects include fishy burps, upset stomach, bloating, gas, or general stomach discomfort. In addition, even the best krill oil supplements will need to be taken before their expiration date, as the EPA and DHA can degrade quickly, especially when exposed to light.
Krill Oil Dosage
As of right now, there simply isn’t enough evidence or research on the “correct” dosage for krill or fish oil. Ultimately, it comes down to height, age, and health – a male athlete in great condition, who is tall and muscular will need more oil than a sedentary male who is overweight. With that in mind, however, the best krill oil supplements come around 1000mg to a gel capsule, which can be taken once or twice a day. A smaller amount will require more dosages throughout a 24 hour period.
How Long Does It Take Krill Oil To Work?
The length of time that it takes for krill oil to work depends largely on what effects you’re looking for. The reduction in harmful blood cholesterol might take a month, but the effects are substantial – some people report 10-15% reduction in LDL particles in their blood draws after starting a krill regimen.
For the anti-inflammatory effects, the duration is much shorter. Within a few days, you should see a reduction in inflammation-caused pain, as well as clearer cognition and potentially even some relief from mental health symptoms, like anxiety.
It’s, of course, harder to gauge the effects of krill oil on cancer cell proliferation, or the effect it would have on staving off heart disease, but your doctor could track trends in your labs and give you a better picture after a few months.
Best Krill Oil Supplements Reviews
There’s a lot of competition for your supplement dollars, and going into it with some knowledge of the best krill oil supplements for the money is key to ensuring you get a quality product for a good price. A few of the best krill oil supplements are listed here:
Costco Krill Oil
Most companies that offer pharmaceutical services, like Costco, have a store-brand supplement line, and Costco is no exception. While it’s fairly priced, it’s got a lower concentration of astaxanthin than other brands, and the dosage is peculiar. If you can get past these things, though, it’s a great place to start.
Viva Labs Krill Oil
Viva is a brand that creates a high-quality krill oil supplement. This means that the levels of astaxanthin are nice, around 1.6 mg per dose, and that it’s only going to be 2 doses a day. On the flip side, however, is the price – somewhat higher than other brands. It can be worth it, though – the phospholipid profile is higher in Viva Labs’ brand, and the astaxanthin dose is higher than comparable products.
Krill oil is honestly one of the best omega 3 supplements available. It provides substantial health benefits while being better for the environment and without the toxic mercury that could be present in fish oil. Prices may vary, but as long as you’re looking for responsibly sourced, pure krill oil, you can’t go wrong.