Whilst fish oil has been the champion in essential fatty acids and omega-3 intake for decades, a new contender on the scene has been fished right out of the ocean and served in medicine cabinets everywhere. Krill oil is now the latest supplement of choice to grease our internal wheels.
Following recent extensive research into the tiny crustaceans that resemble the more popular shrimps, it has been reported that krill oil is responsible for decreasing the lipid levels- thus cholesterol, swelling, and arthritic pain. It helps in making the blood platelets less sticky so the odds of clots forming are lower.
In a comparison test to fish oil, krill oil ticks the omega 3 fatty acids off the list. In general, you might want to cut back on fat, but not this kind of fat. The EPA and DHA are essential acids for our overall health. However, our body is not capable of manufacturing them naturally. We either ingest them in the form of fish – tuna and salmon, or algae, nut oils and krill oil. The latter carries the omega 3 acids in the form of phospholipids in order to encourage smooth absorption into our system.
The results should be noticeable within seven to ten days from the first capsule. However, ever since science decreed krill oil a miracle natural remedy, the market has become oversaturated with products ranging in quality from the lowest and most ineffective to the highest and most trusted. Search Amazon for krill oil and you’ll have to sift through 24 pages and more than 1,500 brands to make your decision.
No one wants to settle for an inferior product. However, how would you know when the item you’re purchasing is the best value for your money? How can you make sure the krill oil supplement is not rancid or expired? Are the ingredients listed on the label the same as those actually used in the manufacturing recipe? Or is it a case of misleading marketing?
In the following article, we’ll be looking for: (1) the fatty acids behind krill oil and what fish oil is missing, (2) the criteria to help us find the most reliable krill oil supplement on the market, and (3) our top three choice products that maintain a proper quality-cost balance.
Krill Oil – The Small, Bug-Eyed Crustaceans as the Most Lucrative Omega-3 Dietary Supplements
What Is the Fuss All About? Answer: Essential Fatty Acids
Fish oil was once a miracle supplement. Users reported outstanding results. Skin conditions healed overnight, swelling decreased, and cognitive health improved. When krill oil came on the scene, it made an even bigger splash.
First, krill oil is an extract from Euphasia superba, a species of small crustaceans tootling around in the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. They are the size of a finger, with slightly various lengths from one to six centimeters. Whales, seabirds, and other small fish feed on them, while phytoplankton is a dietary staple for krill. Krill oil is also beneficial for the health of your hair.
As diminutive as they are, krill move about in great swarms. Just this one species from the Antarctic adds up to an approximate biomass of over 500,000,000 tons. To give you an idea of what that means, let’s say it’s twice the mass of all humans living on earth.
We've discussed the health benefits of a krill oil diet on another occasion, here. However, this article will deconstruct the matter to further depths.
Krill oil carries two of the indispensable fatty acids our body needs in order to keep healthy – omega-3 and phospholipid-derived fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, derive from linolenic and oleic acids. We rely on our diet to get them into our system. The three types of EFAs are:
- Omega-3, or the alpha-linolenic acid – Found in fish oil, krill oil, flaxseed, chia, and hemp, the omega 3 acid ranks among the most important essential nutrients today. A deficiency in the omega 3 levels is a factor in premature deaths, heart attacks, cognitive decline, and cancer.
- Omega-6, or linoleic acid – This fatty acid helps in reducing the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, high blood pressure, and nerve pain.
- Omega-9, or oleic acid – Often found in canola oil, olive oil, nut oils and almonds, omega-9 is the one essential fat that our body can produce on its own once it’s supplied with enough reserves of omega-3 and omega-6.
EFA Health Benefits
The inclusion of EFAs into your diet is a much undervalued step in the direction of a good health. The benefits of fatty acids are manifold. More than that, your body could not withstand a critical deficiency in omega-3 or dwindling reserves of omega-6. The following processes occur within the territory of our fatty acids:
- Production of healthy cell membrane.
- Production of hormones.
- Development of our cognitive capabilities and nervous system.
- Blood pressure and blood clotting regulation – While omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.
- Immune and inflammatory function.
- Regulation of cholesterol.
- Maintenance of healthy skin and hair.
Overdosing on Omega-6, Underscoring in Omega-3
While too much omega-6 can make us sick, not enough omega-3 can affect us in equal part. A distorted balance of these polyunsaturated fatty acids is a staple in the Western diet. Researchers suggest that human beings evolved on an optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of somewhere between 2:1 and 4:1.
These ratios are a rare sight nowadays, and almost impossible to trace among the industrial populations of the modern world who maintain a diet from Tesco and McDonalds. Hunter-gatherers of more isolated regions and the Inuit are the closest communities to achieve an ideal omega-3 and omega-6 score.
The typical American diet registers an imbalance of 10:1 and 30:1, which translates to a worrying deficiency in omega-3 and oversaturation of omega-6. Since the latter is to be processed from all the cheapest sunflower, corn and soybean oils, people are overdosing on omega-6.
Astaxanthin in Krill Oil – The Red King of Carotenoids
In order to restore the EFA balance, supplementation with krill oil becomes a must. But there’s more to the tiny crustaceans if you cast a second glance at their molecular structure. Krill also contains the much sought-after antioxidant astaxanthin. This naturally-occurring carotenoid is the melanin of krill and other crustaceans such as crabs, prawn and lobsters. In other words, astaxanthin gives that reddish pink color we instantly associate with a crustacean or fish.
Dubbed the ‘king of the carotenoids’, astaxanthin comes in the highest concentration in the muscles of salmon. A theory surmises it may actually provide the fuel and energy release for these fish to make the incredible journey upstream every season.
Krill oil may contain the valuable carotenoid, but only in small traces. It makes up about 0.2% of the content by weight. One downside of the krill oil in comparison to fish oil lies in the manufacturing process.
Fish Oil versus Krill Oil
Since fish oil is made out of anchovies and sardines and contains 75% more fat compared to krill, it has a significantly longer lifespan before decomposition occurs. That means up to 72 more hours to be processed. Whereas krill requires special water tanks in which to be kept alive or frozen until turned into the precious oil. The hassle translates to higher manufacturing costs and, ultimately, a more inflated price tag. Adding small doses of vitamin E and rosemary extract might help in maintaining the freshness of the oil.
Users have also reported that taking krill oil capsules eliminates the fish-burps and nasty aftertaste associated with the traditional fish oil supplementation. Some people can’t stand the smell and the greasiness of the old fish oil tablets.
Three Criteria by which to Choose the Most Reliable Krill Oil on the Market
Finally, what other features should you look for when deciding to become an advocate of krill oil?
- Omega-3 Potency – The main reason you’re choosing krill oil is to supplement your omega-3 content. It doesn’t make sense then to choose a product that doesn’t give you the expected fatty acid boost. Buy a krill oil brand with around 300 mg of the DHA + EPA mix. This should amount to 60% concentration per gram. Otherwise, you’re dealing with a diluted product.
- Astaxanthin and Phospholipids – Look for a product with high levels of both. Not only is astaxanthin beneficial for your body, but it also prevents rapid oxidation of the krill oil. Also, the quantity of phospholipids should register at least 40%.
- Sustainable Harvesting – Take your krill oil supplement with a clean conscience. Overfishing is still a worrying trend in oceans around the world. Also, the Antarctic fauna is under threat from global warming and unsustainable harvesting. Fortunately, despite being at the height of a krill rush and a growing dietary supplement market, the annual krill harvest is still well within the limits set by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
Krill Oil Rankings – Top 3 Choices for Your Daily Dietary Supplement
100% Natural Organic Krill Oil 1000mg Supplement from Nutrifect Nutrition
The Krill Oil easy to take soft gel capsules are a good choice for anyone battling high levels of cholesterol or heart problems. Or both, for that matter. High in Omega-3 content, these supplements help women who experience painful PMS, relieve emotional stress, increase cognitive development, and support a healthy complexion.
For a taste with no fishy aftertaste, check this product out on Amazon.
Antarctic Krill Oil 1000mg with Astaxanthin from Sports Research
This product contains one of the highest concentration of astaxanthin, phospholipids, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid. We’ve already exposed the health benefits of all these fatty acids and pigments.
Moreover, user ratings focused on the product’s fast acting liquid soft gel. You get 1000 mg in one fast-absorbing gel. The company has been improving on its krill oil recipe for 30 years now. Dedication and a constantly good feedback from consumers are the first signs of a reliable brand.
Highest Potency Krill Oil from Viva Labs
As compared to other krill oil dietary supplements, the brand might feature the closest to the ideal potency of EPA, DHA, phospholipids and astaxanthin per serving.
These active ingredients will help in promoting blood functions, integrity of the joints, and healthy cholesterol levels. Plus, the company is using an extraction technique without the help of hexanes or bleaching agents. It signs off the manufacturing process by flushing the capsules with nitrogen. This method ensures oxygen is not going to affect the service life and quality of the product. You can test that theory yourself here, on Amazon.
Let's Grease These Wheels to the Finish Line
Most consumers don’t really know how to examine krill oil products or how to differentiate the legitimate ones from the phony items on sale. We randomly select our supplements, crossing our fingers and hoping for the winning ticket. The best policy is to fish around on what works best for you, based on content, dosage, and price tag.