We have long been told that fish oil is something we should be taking on a daily basis. For many years, those who didn’t love to eat fish took supplements of fish oil, which were rather unpleasant to say the least. Whilst the taste left something to be desired, the benefits of that small capsule were far-reaching.
As research has gone on, various different forms of supplements have come to the fore, but one which has created a lot of excitement is something called krill oil. The reason the excitement has come about is not only because it has a number of unique benefits for health, but also because it is much easier to take on a daily basis. Put simply, krill oil supplements don’t taste of fish at all.
- What is Krill Oil?
- Why Consume Omega 3’s?
- How much should you consume?
- The Top Five Krill Oil Benefits
What is Krill Oil?
Krill oil is an omega 3 supplement which is derived from krill, but it has a few differences compared to the regular types of supplements you might be aware of.
We won’t go too far into benefits right now, as we’re going to list five of the best reasons to choose krill oil over regular fish oil supplements shortly.
For now, you simply need to know that krill oil is a form of omega 3 fish oil and it contains both of the necessary omega 3s for good health, namely DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
Why Consume Omega 3’s?
For anyone who doesn’t regularly consume fish, e.g. weekly, a fish oil supplement is the single best way to get a good amount of omega 3 acids into their diet. Even those who do eat fish can struggle to get two servings in per week. Fish isn’t the cheapest food to purchase, and as a result, supplements can help many different people.
Both of these nutrients (DHA and EPA) are vital for overall health and wellbeing. If you don’t get enough omega 3s in your diet, either via a natural source (fish) or via a supplement, you are going to find yourself in poor health. This might not be become evident straightaway, but you are putting yourself at risk of some serious health concerns in the future. The major benefits of omega 3 acids include:
Helping to reduce blood pressure:
when taken as part of a healthy diet, and in conjunction with any prescribed blood pressure medication (always speak to your doctor if you do have high blood pressure, before starting any supplements)
Helps to reduce triglycerides:
Can help to reduce and drastically slow down the development of arterial plaque, thus helping reduce the chances of heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks
Helps improve heart health:
Reduces the likelihood of developing an abnormal heart beat/rhythm, which can result in cardiac issues
Helps with brain development in babies:
May help to enhance neurological and brain development in newborn babies. Whilst there haven’t been a huge number of studies into whether krill oil is safe in pregnancy or not, some studies have shown that neurological development in very young children and newborns could be increased. Further studies are ongoing
Helps with overall mental health:
May help to reduce the symptoms of depression, as DHA and EPA are believed to help improve mood, when used in conjunction with other self-help measures, and perhaps with antidepressant medication, if prescribed by your doctor. As before, speak to your doctor before using a supplement for this reason
Helps digestive health:
May help with gastric conditions and stomach health overall. This is down to a reduction in inflammation in the gut, which may relieve unpleasant symptoms and bloating over time
As you can see, those are pretty important benefits to obtain, and just one capsule can help you achieve them. Of course, the natural methods are aways better, but not everyone enjoys fish, or finds it easy to eat it on a regular basis.
How much should you consume?
If you are trying to up your omega 3 intake via your diet alone, then it is recommended for you to consume a serving twice per week, spread out over the days. The best types of fish to eat are salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, and lake trout.
These are the types of fish which are highest in omega 3 acids. It is best to avoid tinned fish if you can, and go for fresh, as this means the nutrients will have been retained much better.
Of course, before taking any type of supplement, it is important to speak to your doctor first. Whilst krill oil isn’t known to have any hugely detrimental side effects, further studies are ongoing.
This video shows in a more visual way, the benefits of both krill oil and fish oil.
The Top Five Krill Oil Benefits
Krill oil maintains all the benefits of omega 3 acids we mentioned above. In addition to those benefits, there are certain other plus points which makes krill oil stand out above regular fish oil supplements and capsules. The top five are discussed below.
1. No Unpleasant Aftertaste
Krill oil has very similar benefits to regular fish oil capsules, but there are some other plus points which stand in their camp. For instance, we mentioned a more tolerable taste, and this is a big benefit for most people. Regular fish capsules are larger and quite hard to swallow. As a result, they tend to give people indigestion, and cause burps and reflux. The taste of this can be distinctly fishy, and not at all pleasant, whether you like fish or not.
Krill oil has no aftertaste at all, and the capsules are also much smaller, therefore easier to swallow. This is probably the number one reason why people choose krill oil over regular fish oil capsules. The downside is that krill oil is a relative newcomer on the block, and as a result the price of these capsules can be a little higher in comparison. It isn’t always easy to find krill oil in regular health stores, whereas regular fish oil capsules are very easy to find. For that reason, most people choose to buy their krill oil capsules online, with good offers on larger orders.
2. Omega 3 Benefits Are Absorbed Quicker
Another benefit of choosing krill oil is that the omega 3 oils are absorbed faster than in regular fish oil. This is because of the composition within the oil. Regular fish oil is derived from triglycerides, which can be slower to absorb. On the other hand, krill oil is derived from a phospholipid, which is faster to absorb into the blood stream, and therefore the benefits arrive faster. Higher doses of the DHA and EPA omega 3s are also absorbed, which gives you a better chance of receiving the major benefits overall.
Many studies have looked into the absorption rate and have decided upon a very favourable result in the camp of krill oil overall. For those who want to get the most out of their daily supplement, especially those who don’t eat fish, or struggle to consume the recommended amount, this is a very advantageous point.
3. Krill Oil Contains a Natural Antioxidant
Krill oil contains something called astaxanthin naturally. This is a very powerful antioxidant which can help to boost the immune system, supporting cell growth and regeneration, overall organ health and function, as well as protecting the body’s tissues from free radical damage. Astaxanthin also helps to keep the krill oil supplements fresher, as it automatically stops them from spoiling or ageing whilst they’re in the cupboard. This means you can easily buy a larger pack of krill oil supplements for a lower price, and you have the knowledge that they won’t become unusable very quickly.
We are all aware of how important antioxidants are in our diets, and we are encouraged to eat foods which are high in immune system-boosting antioxidants on a regular basis. The fact that you are getting a free dose of antioxidant within your omega 3 supplement is a major, and very welcome, side effect.
4. Krill Oil Doesn’t Contain Any Detectable Levels of Mercury
Fish and regular fish oil capsules may contain a small, detectable level of mercury or other types of toxins which are found in the world’s oceans. Krill oil doesn’t contain detectable levels of any toxin, mercury included. The reason is because krill is a tiny sea-dwelling creature which is actually at the very bottom of the oceanic food chain. It doesn’t feed on other fish or animals, and instead it enjoys its meals via phytoplankton. This means that an accumulation of mercury from eating other fish doesn’t occur. Phytoplankton (the food krill eats) is completely pure.
Krill is also found in the Antarctic Ocean, which is an extremely clean body of water, and therefore krill is clean and pure. This takes away any potential health concerns about detectable levels of toxins and mercury in supplements or fish products, which is quite important to many people.
5. Krill Oil is a Sustainable Source of Omega 3
We’re not likely to run out of krill any time soon! Krill is considered the world’s largest biomass, and there are currently around 500 million tonnes in the Antarctic. We just mentioned that this is the cleanest ocean in the world, and over a year, only around 1% of krill is harvested from the ocean. This means that krill oil is a sustainable source of omega 3 oils for many years to come. Krill harvesting is also strictly monitored, to ensure that over-harvesting doesn’t occur.
Krill is actually the food of choice of some of the ocean’s largest mammals, such as whales, as well as penguins and seals. The huge amount dwelling in the ocean, and its fast multiplication rate, means we are likely to be using krill oil for a very long time to come.
Krill Oil Versus Regular Fish Oil
Krill oil certainly has some major benefits over regular fish oil capsules, but some people do choose to stick with what they know. This is perfectly acceptable and understandable, as regular fish oil capsules still give a huge amount of omega 3 benefit to the user. The fact remains that krill oil is a newcomer on the supplement block, and it often takes time for users to build up a certain amount of trust in new healthcare products.
A large number of studies have shown that krill oil has benefits over regular fish oil however, and as it becomes more accessible, e.g. available in regular health care stores, we may see uptake of krill oil supplements begins to accelerate quite rapidly.
The lack of a fishy aftertaste is a major plus point for most people who have taken regular fish oil capsules in the past. Regular capsules are quite large and can be quite hard to swallow. Of course, we know that capsules should never be chewed, and so having to swallow them whole can be difficult for some people. This leads to reflux, and that rather nasty aftertaste which these supplements are so famous for. The fact that krill oil doesn’t give this aftertaste, and comes in small, easier to swallow capsules, is also a big plus point.
Price-wise, krill oil is more expensive than fish oil at the moment. Fish oil is easier to find in regular stores, whereas krill oil might only be available in large cities and towns. As we mentioned before, it often the case that krill oil is bought online, in large batch orders. The astaxanthin contained within krill oil stops it from spoiling in the cupboard, so it is safe to keep for longer, compared to regular fish oil supplements.
Further studies will continue into how effective krill oil is compared to regular fish oil capsules and whether there are any other benefits we have yet to become aware of. For now however, it is certainly a great choice for those who want to up their omega 3 intake, and increase their overall health and wellbeing as a result.
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