Krill Oil supplement health benefit, side effects, review, dosage and comparison to fish oils and flax seed oil, review of research studies
Neptune NKO, pure Antarctic, capsules of omega-3 products
March 1 2017
Krill, or more precisely, Antarctic krill, are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans rich in an oil that contains omega-3 fatty acids as well as antioxidant pigments such as Astaxanthin and small amounts of vitamin E. There are several companies who make this supplement, including Aker BioMarine, Cyvex, Enzymotec, Neptune and many others with their own patented form of extraction.
Krill oil supplement has potential benefit for lowering cholesterol, lowering inflammation in the body, and for PMS symptoms. Krill oil has similar benefits to fish oil supplements including benefit for mental health, cardiovascular health, and overall improvement in physiological functions since omega-3 oils improve the lining of cell membranes throughout the body. There is a debate among scientists as to which of the two is a healthier choice. For now it is a good idea to take a little of both.
Products over the counter
There are several different krill oil products on the market, the most common is Neptune Krill Oil. The company that makes this product has spent a great deal of time and money conduction research studies with this supplement.
Purchase Antarctic Krill Oil, 500 mg pills
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Krill Oil is an extremely high quality, solvent free extract from Antarctic krill that thrive wild in the pristine seas of Antarctica. This krill oil product is of benefit to men and women.
Supplement Facts per 2 pills:
Antarctic Krill Oil (Euphasia pacifica) – 1000 mg Yielding:
Total Omega3 Fatty Acids 130 mg
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) 50 mg
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) 20 mg
Total Omega6 Fatty Acids 20 mg
Astaxanthin 2.7 mg
And vitamins A and D
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Various krill oil products on the market
KriaXanthin is a krill oil supplement from the Antarctic ocean and made by Cyvex.
Neptune Krill Oil or NKO. This company, Neptune Technologies, has spent a great deal of time and effort in funding studies and should be commended for their efforts.
Superba Krill Oil from the Antarctic ocean. It has greater than 40 percent phospholipids, greater than 20 percent of EPA and DHA fatty acids, and 110 mg per kilogram of astaxanthin. It may contain traces of crustacean proteins. The appearance is dark red colored viscous oil, extracted from Euphausia superba. The oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids most of which are attached to phospholipids. Suberba is made by Akar Biomarina ASA based in Oslo, Norway.
Krill oil versus Fish oil supplements
Overall, we prefer fish oils due to lower cost and higher amount of EPA and DHA found in fish oils. The advantage of krill oil is the presence of astaxanthin antioxidant and phospholipids.
Human Studies with krill oil supplements
Cholesterol and blood lipids
Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia.
Altern Med Rev. 2004; Bunea R, El Farrah K. Department of Internal Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
A study followed by a three-month, controlled follow-up of patients treated with 1 gram and 1.5 g krill oil daily. A sample size of 120 patients (30 patients per group) was randomly assigned to one of four groups. Group A received krill oil at a body mass index (BMI)-dependent daily dosage of 2-3 g daily. Patients in Group B were given 1-1.5 g krill oil daily, and Group C was given fish oil containing 180 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 120 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per gram of oil at a dose of 3 g daily. Group D was given a placebo containing microcrystalline cellulose. The krill oil used in this study was Neptune Krill Oil, provided by Neptune Technologies and Bioresources, Laval, Quebec, Canada. Primary parameters tested (baseline and 90-day visit) were total blood cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL, and glucose. Krill oil 1-3 g per day was found to be effective for the reduction of glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and HDL, compared to both fish oil and placebo. The results of the present study demonstrate within high levels of confidence that krill oil is effective for the management of hyperlipidemia by significantly reducing total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, and increasing HDL levels. At lower and equal doses, krill oil was significantly more effective than fish oil for the reduction of glucose, triglycerides, and LDL levels.
CRP levels and inflammation
Evaluation of the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2007.
Ninety patients were recruited with confirmed diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and/or rheumatoid arthritis and/or osteoarthritis and with increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) (>1.0 mg/dl) upon three consecutive weekly blood analysis. Group A received NKO (300 mg daily) and Group B received a placebo. After 7 days of treatment NKO reduced CRP by 19% compared to an increase by 15% observed in the placebo group. After 14 and 30 days of treatment NKO further decreased CRP by 29% and 30% respectively. The CRP levels of the placebo group increased to 32% after 14 days and then decreased to 25% at day 30. NKO showed a significant reduction in all three WOMAC scores. After 7 days of treatment, NKO reduced pain scores by 28, reduced stiffness by 20% and reduced functional impairment by 22%. The results of the present study clearly indicate that NKO at a daily dose of 300 mg significantly inhibits inflammation and reduces arthritic symptoms within a short treatment period of 7 and 14 days.
Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea.
Altern Med Rev. 2003; Sampalis F, Pelland MF, Kowalski O. Department of Experimental Surgery, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Seventy patients of reproductive age diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, Revised (DSM-III-R). Treatment period of three months with either NKO or omega-3 fish oil. In 70 patients with complete data, a statistically significant improvement was demonstrated among baseline, interim, and final evaluations in the self assessment questionnaire within the NKO group as well as between-group comparison to fish oil, after three cycles or 45 and 90 days of treatment. Data analysis showed a significant reduction of the number of analgesics used for dysmenorrhea within the NKO group (comparing baseline vs. 45- vs. 90-day visit). The between-groups analysis illustrated that women taking NKO consumed significantly fewer analgesics during the 10-day treatment period than women receiving omega-3 fish oil. Neptune Krill Oil can significantly reduce dysmenorrhea and the emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and is shown to be significantly more effective for the complete management of premenstrual symptoms compared to omega-3 fish oil.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and krill oil
My son has a problem known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Would you please inform me about the affects of krill oil supplement on this disease, negative or positive.
We are not aware of any studies that have evaluated krill oil supplements as a treatment for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Questions from readers
I would like to get your opinion on spirulina, chlorella, and astaxanthin in krill oil. In terms of astaxanthin; this is a carotene and many people take astaxanthin to help them tan. So if I take 4 gm of krill oil a day will my skin tan even while using sun screen. I know the astaxanthin goes into the blood stream and I don’t want my skin to get darker. I just want to take the krill oil for the omega 3 benefits. Also does omega 3 help your bowels move more frequently? My bowels aren’t moving as frequently as they should and I read that some people took omega 3 for this problem and it helped them.
We are not aware of astaxanthin turning the skin a different color. Omega-3s may have a minor effect on bowels but fiber and prune juice are much more effective.
May I ask if you have had anyone complain of continual tummy ache and bouts of wind (odourless) when taking 1 soft gel per day?
Thus far we have not, although it is possible that others have experienced it and not written to us.
Different companies selling this product
Competition among krill companies includes patent infringement lawsuits to injunctions. The krill market is growing in importance as a source of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. The major companies have invested in research studies. in June 2009, Bayer and Neptune announced a partnership to develop pharma-grade krill product. This agreement could bring widespread acceptance from the medical community, just as the prescription Omacor / Lovaza has done for fish oil. Since its introduction to the market in 2005, Lovaza sales have outpaced sales of all omega-3 supplements combined. In September 2009 Schiff changed suppliers from Neptune to Aker for the company’s Mega-Red brand. Aker has the product Superba. Neptune filed a patent infringement suit against Schiff for $1 million. Neptune Technologies was first to market krill oil products. From 1998 to 2007 Neptune Technologies virtually owned the krill market both from a supply and a clinical research perspective. Neptune invested heavily in clinical research, three human clinical trials involving premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhoea (DM), glucose and blood-lipid parameters and arthritic symptoms and inflammation. All three human studies showed a positive response specifically for Neptune’s NKO branded ingredient, which helped position the company as the only krill company in the pond. That changed in 2007, when two companies began marketing this supplement — Enzymotec and Aker BioMarine — and Neptune was forced to share the space with new comers.