Krill oil is made from the oil of tiny crustaceans called krill. Like oily fish, krill is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Krill oil is considered a fish oil alternative. Some studies suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are more available to the body than those in fish oil because of the way DHA and EPA are “packaged”.
In fish oil, the majority of DHA and EPA are bound to fats called triglycerides. On the other hand, most of the DHA and EPA in krill oil are bound to fats called phospholipids. This can make krill oil easier for your body to absorb.
However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.
Krill oil has several potential benefits, including effects on your cardiovascular health and inflammation.
High cholesterol and triglyceride levels can increase your risk of heart disease. Research has shown that taking omega-3-rich krill oil supplements can support heart health.
For example, a 2004 study showed that people who took between 1 and 3 grams of krill oil per day had increases in heart-protecting HDL (good) cholesterol.
Another study looked at 300 people with high levels of triglycerides. The researchers found that those who took up to 4 grams of krill oil a day had more normal levels of triglycerides compared to a placebo.
Some research has also suggested that krill oil may aid cognitive function. In addition, according to human and animal research, krill oil can help regulate the body’s inflammatory response.
Keep in mind that there is currently limited research into the health effects of krill oil. More high quality studies are needed before meaningful conclusions can be drawn.
As with fish oil, the recommended dosage of krill oil is based on the amount of DHA and EPA that are in the supplement.
Some guidelines recommend a combined daily intake of DHA and EPA between 250 and 500 milligrams (mg). However, studies have shown that some people may require much higher doses of DHA and EPA, up to 4 grams per day. It is important to speak to your doctor before taking a higher than recommended dose of any dietary supplement.
The amount of DHA and EPA in krill oil supplements varies widely. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about dosage.
Kori Pure Antarctic Krill Oil provides 250 mg of omega-3 DHA and EPA per daily serving. It also contains the nutrient choline and the antioxidant astaxanthin.
Krill oil is considered a relatively safe supplement.
Ingesting krill oil, especially in high doses, can affect blood clotting. However, studies have shown that supplementing with fish and krill oil does not cause side effects in those taking blood-thinning medications. It also doesn’t seem to have any effect on people undergoing surgery.
Still, people taking blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin) or having surgery should speak to their doctor before taking krill oil to be sure.
Some people who take krill oil may also experience digestive symptoms such as belching, loose stools, or nausea.
The health benefits of omega-3 supplementation depend on long-term use. They are not immediate. You must regularly take omega-3-rich supplements like krill oil to reap the potential health benefits.
Take your krill oil supplement with a meal or snack that contains dietary fat. This can increase your intake of DHA and EPA. It can also reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.