In essence, the experimental evidence suggests that krill oil is a more potent and beneficial source of omega-3 oils than regular fish oil. It carries substantial benefits for heart and brain health, and slows down the ageing process, because it contains an amazing antioxidant called astaxanthin.
In short, here is why krill oil is so amazingly good for you:
1) It's good for your heart and keeps arteries clean, making heart attacks less likely. Krill oil keeps cholesterol at healthy levels.
2) It's good for your brain: it improves cognitive function (it makes you smarter) and your memory.
3) It improves your mood and helps depression.
4) It slows down the ageing process and has anti-cancer effects (due to its antioxidant activity).
What is krill oil?
Krill are shrimp-like crustaceans that account for the world's largest single-species animal biomass. A Canadian company, Neptune Technologies, has the patent for the extraction of oil from krill. Like fish oil, krill oil is a rich source of omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), but there is a major difference between fish oil and krill oil: in fish oil, DHA and EPA are present in triglycerides, whereas in krill oil they are present in phospholipids.
So what? Well, the fact is that phospholipids are what cell membranes are made of. This means that the super-beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are more easily absorbed - VERY easily absorbed, in fact: some research has shown that krill oil supplements can have positive effects on the brain within TWO HOURS of being taken!
Krill oil: health benefits, supplements and research
Krill oil has several health benefits. Ingesting EPA and DHA in phospholipids instead of triglycerides allows the body to absorb them more efficiently and easily. So supplementing your diet with krill oil results in the more efficient uptake of DHA and EPA.
Krill oil also reduces the risk of heart attacks: it keeps cholesterol at healthy levels, reduces bad cholesterol, and has anti-inflammatory properties that are very beneficial for your cardiovascular system.
Another benefit of krill oil is that it is extremely rich in antioxidants - chemicals that mop up free radicals. (Free radicals damage DNA and other biological molecules in cells. They cause ageing, cancer and other problems.) Specifically, the EPA part of the phospholipids in krill oil has an antioxidant known as astaxanthin attached to it. All in all, the antioxidant properties of krill oil are over 40 times as powerful as those of fish oil. Astaxanthin protects your skin against the harmful effects of UV rays, among other things.
A number of research studies have shown krill oil to have even greater beneficial effects than fish oil on depression and other mood and personality disorders. In some cases, in experiments comparing fish oil and krill oil, only krill oil had beneficial effects on brain function and depression. Scientists* think this might be due to one or both of the following factors:
(1) krill oil contains a greater proportion of EPA than fish oil, and EPA seems to be the crucial omega-3 fatty acid in brain health - more so than DHA;
(2) as mentioned above, in krill oil, DHA and EPA occur in phospholipids, not triglycerides, and this makes it much easier for the body to incorporate them into cell membranes.
Other studies have shown krill oil to have benefits on adult ADHD, pre-menstrual tension (PMS) and dysmenorrhea.
Krill oil vs Fish oil
1. Krill oil supplies omega-3-unsaturated fatty acids that are much more bioavailable than those in fish oil. This means that krill oil has much bigger benefits on depression, OCD and other brain disorders.
2. Krill oil contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin. Fish oil does not.
3. Fish oil easily goes rancid. Krill oil does not.
4. Krill oil contains proportionately more EPA (eicosapentaeneoic acid) than fish oil - this is why it has a stronger effect on depression and other mood disorders.
5. Krill oil is a little more expensive that fish oil, but unquestionably worth it.
Krill oil helps to burn fat and lose weight
The omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids in krill oil favor a phenomenon known as fuel partitioning.
This is a good one: reasearch has shown that omega-3 fatty acids stimulate the storage of glucose as glycogen in muscle, while simultaneously diverting fatty acids away from fat synthesis and into oxidative pathways.
In other words, omega-3 fatty acids stimulate the use of fatty acids as fuel instead of in fat deposition.