Krill Oil – Health Benefits and Nutritional Properties
Krill Oil: An Introduction
This oil gets extracted from Euphrasia Superba, a small crustacean in the Antarctic ocean. The visible external gills and luminous organs help in distinguishing it from shrimp. It usually lives in colder regions of the sea.
Krill is the largest biomass of zooplanktons found in the ocean. It makes up 50% of the zooplankton in the ocean food chain. It serves as a feed for marine animals such as whales, seals, squids, fishes, seabirds, and humans.
They have a pinkish and reddish hue due to the plankton they eat. People of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have been harvesting krill as a human food source since the 19th century.
The Healthy Me Note:
Krill is the most abundant type of zooplankton in the ocean. It generally serves as a feed for marine animals. Because of the plankton they consume, krill have a pinkish and reddish color. This oil contains fat-soluble vitamins A and E, minerals, omega-3 PUFAs, phospholipids, and active components like astaxanthin and flavonoids.
- It contains a perfect amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Both EPA and DHA naturally exist in krill oil as phospholipids. Phospholipids prevent the accumulation of fats in the river.
- This oil also contains astaxanthin, a fat-soluble carotenoid that possesses antioxidant properties. Astaxanthin usually has a dark reddish-orange color. It contributes to a pinkish hue in the native krill.
- It contains alpha-tocopherol, known as vitamin E. Alpha-tocopherol exhibits excellent antioxidant properties.
- During the extraction of krill oil, folate and vitamin B12 get lost.
- This oil shows metabolic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and chemo preventive activities.
Health Benefits of Krill Oil
Helps Lower Blood Lipid Profiles
Krill oil contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids such as DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosatetraenoic acid). These fatty acids effectively reduce triglyceride levels and inflammatory symptoms associated with heart disorders.
In a study of 129 subjects, researchers administered krill oil and fish oil for 7-weeks to investigate their effects on the plasma levels of EPA and DHA, serum lipids, biomarkers of inflammation, oxidation stress, and hemostasis.
The subjects were healthy volunteers with normal or slightly elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. At the end of this study, plasma levels of DHA, EPA, and DPA increased in the subject group supplemented with fish oil and krill oil.
No significant changes in lipid profile were there for those who had fish oil. Still, there was a notable increase in HDL cholesterol(good cholesterol) and reduced triglyceride levels in the krill oil group.
A 3-month randomized study conducted to assess krill oil’s effects on cholesterol found that it reduced the total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides levels while improving HDL levels.
The results demonstrated that krill oil is an effective oil treatment for hyperlipidemia management. At equal or low doses, krill oil was more effective than fish oil in reducing glucose, triglycerides, and LDL levels.
The effects of omega-3 fatty acids in cardiovascular diseases are evident. It is cardioprotective and has preventive effects against cardiovascular diseases. It lowers blood pressure and triglyceride levels, the two major risk factors in cardiovascular diseases.
In a randomized controlled trial, researchers evaluated the effect of krill oil on cardiovascular disease risk factors and blood glucose control in type-2 diabetes patients.
The results of this trial show that krill oil may increase HDL levels and lead to moderate improvement of cardiovascular risks and type-2 diabetes.
A study assessing krill oil’s effects on vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis had positive results. Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease leading to stroke, heart attack, and peripheral arterial disease.
Krill oil inhibits vascular inflammation. It stops plaque formation in the carotid artery by preventing the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in the artery walls.
In a study, researchers advised that one should take an adequate amount of the essential fatty acids from dietary sources rather than supplements.
Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Krill oil contains a high amount of vitamin E and has potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage by neutralizing the effect of free radicals.
It contains astaxanthin, a natural antioxidant, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids, which show anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. Krill oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of DHA and EPA.
A study suggests that consuming krill oil and diet supplementation notably reduced arthritic scores and hind paw swelling in animals. Krill oil also reduced the symptoms of inflammatory arthritis.
Studies have proven that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants in marine foods prevent the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Studies show that astaxanthin present in krill oil can directly cross the blood-brain barrier.
Astaxanthin, along with omega 3, improves the cognitive benefits and alleviates inflammation. It reduces the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and prevents cognitive loss.
The Healthy Me Note:
Krill oil regulates lipid metabolism, inflammation, and oxidative stress. The presence of high levels of vitamin A, alpha-tocopherol, and astaxanthin in krill oil makes it superior to fish oil in terms of biological effects. These components in krill oil make it stable and resistant to oxidation.