Krill oil is an up and coming supplement that competes with fish oil as a source of natural omega-3 essential fatty acids. If you have never heard of krill or krill oil and how it compares to fish oil, here are five things you need to know.
- Krill oil is made from krill, tiny shrimp that live in ice-cold waters.
Krill are shrimp that prefer to live around and under ocean ice. The largest numbers of krill are harvested in the Aleutian Sea west of Alaska and northeast of Japan, and in the waters off Antarctica.
The krill migrate several thousand feet every day, their migration cycle timed to defecation. As the krill's colon gets more and more full, it sinks. After it defecates, it floats. Squid and deep sea fish eat the deep water krill, while whales, penguins, and seals feast on surface-layer krill.
Tens of thousands of these tiny creatures band together to minimize their risk of being caught; a single cubic meter of ocean water can contain up to 100,000 krill. Ocean going animals eat nearly 500,000,000 tons of krill each year, while only about 200,000 are caught for use as food or conversion to krill oil.
- In its natural form, krill is not a health food.
Like the larger shrimp to which they are related, the krill's skeleton is on the outside of its body, in a shell. The krill shell is high in toxic fluorides that can damage bones and nerve tissue. Krill have to be shelled in giant machines before they can be converted to okiami paste or boiled down for oil.
Because they are lower on the food chain, krill do not concentrate as much mercury or polychorinated biphenyl compounds as ocean-going fish. They are not, however, completely free of ocean-borne pollutants and krill oil also has to be treated through a decontamination process to be free of heavy metals and other kinds of contamination.
- Krill oil does not contain the same amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids as fish oil.
Compared to fish oil, krill oil contains less decosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA, than fish oil. DHA is the essential fatty acid you need for brain health and regulating heart beat. The omega-3 essential fatty acids are naturally bound to phospholipids, so they are more easily absorbed by your body, but this quality does not completely offset the fact that there is simply less DHA to absorb.
- Krill oil is much more expensive than fish oil.
It takes special skills to navigate a fishing boat right up to an iceberg, cast a net down deep below the ice, down as far as these tiny shrimp will go, and reel in a net filled with krill. (Much of the fecal content of krill caught in this way is removed by processing.) On average, krill oil is five times as expensive as fish oil. But does scientific research show that krill oil is healthier for you?
- There have been thousands of clinical studies proving the health benefits of fish oil. There have been two clinical studies suggesting there are health benefits for krill oil.
These two studies were funded by the company that owns the patent on making krill oil. And there is one other thing to think about when you are deciding between krill oil and a reliable brand of fish oil, such as Omega-3 DHA, Omega-3 Premium, or Omega-3 QH/Ultra.
Fish oil isn't all about omega-3 essential fatty acids. Fish oil contains an vital antioxidant known as astaxanthin. Krill oil contains only trace amounts. Fish oil is an excellent source of other oil-soluble antioxidants such as lycopene. Krill oil isn't. Fish oil mixes well with heart-healthy ubiquinone, also known coenzyme-Q10. Krill oil isn't.
Fish oil is far less expensive and far better known than krill oil. Fish oil is combined with other nutrients to add even more value to the supplement, saving you from having to buy Co-Q10 or lycopene separately.
Buy fish oil. The penguins will appreciate you for leaving them their food. And your body will enjoy far more benefits at far less cost.