So lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz regarding Krill Oil.
It is an alternative for Omega-3 with some touted benefits over Fish Oils, such as, better bioavailability, rich in Astaxanthins, doesn’t have the fishy aftertaste when you belch and has high sustainability (as it is at the bottom of the food chain).
So what is Krill?
Krill are shrimp-like crustaceans that looks like a tiny prawn, and lives at the ocean bed, and feeds mainly on phytoplankton . They’re near the bottom of the food chain and are eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish. Apparently, it is safe to take even for folks who have allergies to crustaceans.
Commercial fishing of krill occurs primarily in the Southern Ocean, northern Pacific Ocean, Antartica, and along the coasts of Canada and Japan. Krill that are caught are used for aquaculture and aquarium feeds, sport fishing bait or they are eaten as food. In Japan, krill that’s caught for food is called okiami.
Recent studies now demonstrate that while Fish oils’ EPA and DHA are mainly occurring as triglycerides, Krill’s EPA and DHA occurs in a phospholipid form. Studies show that this phospholipid form is responsible for significantly greater bioavailability. Imagine taking the Omega-3 capsules, and arriving in the watery environment of the stomach. The Krill phospholipids will do much better and form and emulsion with the contents of the stomach, as opposed to the triglycerides that will separate back into their oil and water layer.
This means that equivalent increases in plasma DHA and EPA are achieved at a much lower dose of Omega-3 phospholipid (krill oil) than Omega-3 triglyceride (fish oil). Another significant difference is the presence of astaxanthin, a beta-carotene with high anti-oxidant properties. Astaxanthin gives krill its distinctive red color and acts as a natural preservative, protecting the oil and providing greater stability as compared to fish oil. Finally, again, phospholipids are soluble in water, which means that krill oil disperses in stomach contents rather than floating on top, eliminating the fishy burp common with fish oil.
Concentration wise, Krill seems to have less EPA and DHA mg for mg vs. fish oils. But the labels claim that this is fine, due to better bioavailability. Well, there’s only one way to find out – I will be the guinea pig and test it out for myself. Will let you know if I see added benefits!