Krill oil, like fish oil, contains omega-3 fats such as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). However, in fish oil, these omega-3 fats are found in the triglyceride form. In krill oil, they are found in a double-chain phospholipid structure. The fats in human cell walls are in the phospholipid form.
The phospholipid structure of the EPA and DHA in krill oil makes them much more absorbable. Krill oil also contains vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D, and canthaxanthin, which is a potent antioxidant.
The antioxidant potency of krill oil is, in terms of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorptance Capacity) values, 48 times more potent than fish oil.
The astaxanthin found in krill oil provides also excellent protection against ultraviolet light and UV-induced skin damage.
Tim Ferriss is the author of the blockbuster New York Times best seller the Four Hour Workweek,1 which was one of the best books I read last year. I subscribe to his blog and was surprised to find the above article. It was written by Dr. Michael Eades, who wrote another great book Protein Power,2 which provides some solid insights on how to improve your health.
I was delighted to learn that Dr. Eades is also in agreement with my own conclusion regarding recommendations for omega-3 supplementation.
Although I still recommend both fish oil and cod liver oil in some cases, I believe krill oil is an EVEN BETTER option for most people, for several reasons. Personally, I take krill oil every day. I particularly appreciate the fact that the omega-3 is attached to phospholipids that dramatically increase its absorption, especially into brain tissue.
Its only drawback is that it does not contain more than a trace of vitamin D, which is nearly as important as omega-3 fats. You can remedy this however, by making sure you’re getting plenty of appropriate sun exposure as that is your best source of vitamin D anyway.
Why I Recommend Krill Oil to All New Patients
As you may know, I’m not a major fan of too many supplements as I believe your best source for optimal nutrition is through whole foods. Krill oil, however, is one of my exceptions as most Americans consume far too few omega-3 fats, and way too many omega-6s.
Your ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1. Today, however, most people’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 averages from 20:1 to a staggering 50:1.
Those kinds of ratios spell serious danger to your health. So serious, in fact, that even the mainstream health media now reports that lack of omega-3 is one of the most serious health issues plaguing contemporary society.
As far as supplements are concerned, two of the best yet simple ways to improve your overall health include:
- Increasing your intake of antioxidants
- Increasing your intake of omega-3 oils
And krill oil accomplishes both of those missions.
I used to recommend that you take fish oil to enhance your intake of omega-3 fats. And high-quality fish oils are certainly great products with many important health benefits. However, fish oil is weak in antioxidant content, whereas krill oil contains potent antioxidants.
This is a major drawback for fish oil, because as you increase your intake of omega-3 fats by consuming fish oil, you actually increase your need for even more antioxidant protection.
This happens because fish oil is quite perishable, and oxidation leads to the formation of those unhealthy free radicals. Therefore, antioxidants are required to ensure that the fish oil doesn't oxidize and become rancid inside your body. So, you need to consume additional antioxidants both for your health in general, AND for your increased need for antioxidants when using fish oil.
The Antioxidant Potency of Krill Oil Is 48 Times Higher Than Fish Oil
Scientific evidence has repeatedly demonstrated that antioxidants are a cornerstone in the promotion of heart health, boosting your immune system, and memory support. They also appear to play a role in helping to slow your signs of aging.
Although many foods contain antioxidants, today's poor-quality diets are nearly always insufficient in the full range of these beneficial free radical scavengers.
So when you consider that the antioxidant potency of krill oil is 48 times more potent than fish oil, well… choosing between the two is easy.
If you’re still not convinced of the antioxidant powers to krill oil, independent ORAC evaluations have also established that genuine krill oil contains:
- Over 300 times the antioxidant power of vitamin A and vitamin E
- Over 47 times the antioxidant power of lutein
- Over 34 times the antioxidant power of coenzyme Q-10
Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?
To top it all off, krill oil also contains astaxanthin – a unique marine-source flavonoid – that creates a special bond with the EPA and DHA, which allows direct metabolism of the antioxidants, making them more bioavailable.
Why You Need Omega-3 from Krill Oil
In a perfect world, you would be able to get all the omega-3s you need by eating fish. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our fish supply is now so heavily contaminated with industrial pollutants and toxins like mercury, PCBs, heavy metals, and radioactive poisons that I just can’t recommend it any longer.
Even the slow-to-react FDA and EPA have put out health advisories warning against certain fish and shellfish consumption for young children, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, and nursing mothers.
I believe krill oil is the perfect substitute for fish consumption as krill is not plagued with the problem of heavy contamination. Being at the bottom of the food chain, krill simply do not have enough time to accumulate dangerous levels of toxins like other marine sources.
Krill has been shown to be beneficial for a really wide range of health issues, including:
- Support for concentration, memory, and learning
- Blood sugar health
- Healthy joints, with an increase in joint comfort
- Fighting signs of aging
- Protection for cell membranes
- Cholesterol and other blood lipid health
- Healthy liver function
- Relief of normal PMS symptoms
- Bolstering your immune system
- Healthy mood support
- Optimal skin health
Krill Oil Is a Potent Treatment for Inflammation and Arthritis Symptoms
Several studies have been published on the remarkable effectiveness of krill oil, including a 2007 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition,3 which evaluated the effect of krill oil on patients with chronic inflammation and arthritis.
After just seven days of treatment, krill oil reduced inflammation by more than 19 percent, while the placebo group had an increase of inflammatory C-reactive protein of nearly 16 percent! It also significantly reduced pain scores, stiffness, and functional impairment.
After 14 days of treatment, krill oil further decreased inflammation by almost 30 percent, while the inflammation levels of the placebo group increased more than 32 percent.
The study concluded that krill oil at a daily dose of 300 mg significantly inhibits inflammation and reduces arthritic symptoms in as little as seven to 14 days!
Krill Oil Can Boost Your Brain Function and Ameliorate Mental Problems
According to another study published in the Alternative Medicine Review4 last year, double-blind, randomized, controlled trials have found that DHA and EPA in krill oil benefits a variety of brain and mental disorders, including:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Aggressive behavior
- Cognitive impairment and dementia
- Huntington disease (a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal body movements)
Meta-analyses also confirm krill’s benefits in major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, and show promising results in the treatment of schizophrenia.
A Final Note on Quality
Quality is of the essence when selecting any supplement and krill oil is no exception. The only kind of krill oil I recommend is genuine processed krill.
Krill is collected in pristine deep-water seas far from industrial areas, and is harvested in compliance with international conservation standards. It’s also processed through a cold extraction method that preserves the biological benefits of the krill, and creates an oil that is free of heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins, and other contaminants.
So avoid any brand that only has "krill" oil and look for one that you are certain contains krill oil.