Krill Oil: Health Benefits & Uses
Krill oil is extracted from krill, which are tiny shrimp like sea creatures. The word “krill” actually comes from a Norwegian word that means “whale food,” as many species of whales feed primarily on krill. Humans can reap a variety of health benefits by adding krill to their own diets, especially because krill oil is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Here is a look at some of the greatest health benefits that krill oil has to offer.
Research is still ongoing, but so far research tells us that taking just 1 to 1.5 grams of krill oil once a day can reduce total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Moreover, taking krill oil daily may even increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. This makes krill oil an especially great supplement for those with high cholesterol. Lowering cholesterol can ultimately reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease.
Lower risk of heart related illness
Krill oil can lower your risk of heart related illness in other ways as well. The fatty acids in krill oil, which are similar to those found in fish oil, help make blood platelets less sticky and therefore less likely to accumulate into clots. This takes the cholesterol lowering benefits of krill oil even further, further reducing your risk of stroke, heart attack, and more.
Krill oil can also reduce and prevent inflammation. This is likely because the body converts krill oil’s omega-3 fatty acids into eicosanoids, which are hormones responsible for releasing anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
Improved joint function
In addition to reducing inflammation, krill oil can also improve joint function. In a study published in the American Journal of Nutrition, individuals who took krill oil regularly experienced less joint distress, reduced joint stiffness, and improved overall mobility. This makes krill oil an especially great supplement for those who regularly experience joint pain.
Improved symptoms of depression
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are two omega-3 fatty acids you’ll find in krill oil, and these acids in particular have been linked to significant mental health benefits. These acids have been shown to have antidepressive and mood enhancing effects, as they can boost dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. These acids may also stimulate an increase in corticotropin-releasing hormone levels.
Reduced PMS symptoms
Research has also shown that taking a krill oil supplement may reduce PMS symptoms such as stress, irritability, depression, fluid retention, bloating, and muscle cramping. This is likely because krill oil can help regulate and balance hormones in the body.
Krill oil contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, which helps defend cells against the effects of damaging free radicals. In fact, krill oil has a rating of 43 on the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) scale, which measures the effectiveness of antioxidants at fighting free radicals—very significant when you compare 43 to fish oil’s rating of only 8.