Euphausia Superba or Krill are small crustaceans similar in appearance to shrimp that are found in the colder parts of the ocean and serve primarily as a food source for other animals like seals, whales, squid, penguins and other fish. Krill oil is extracted from the Euphasia Superba species of Antarctic krill and contains important components such as Omega-3 fatty acids and PLPA (phospholipid derived fatty acids), commonly referred to a ‘marine lecithin’.
Krill can be found in the oceans of Canada, Japan and off the Antarctica. Krill harvesting is controversial as there are concerns that commercial harvesting for nutritional supplements may threaten the larger marine species that consume krill for food, including whales, seals, and dolphins.
What Is Krill Oil?
Krill oil is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA that are beneficial in lowering triglyceride and blood lipid levels. It is used in supplement form to help deal with a variety of health problems such as high cholesterol and heart problems. The omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed by the body in phospholipid form and carried to the cells. In combination with exercise and diet, krill oil can help to lower the production of LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides and raise HDL (good cholesterol) lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and coronary artery disease.
Krill oil also contains PLFA and marine lecithin2 which aids absorption. Astaxanthin in krill oil is a carotenoid antioxidant that inhibits oxidation and neutralizes the oxidant effects of free radicals on body tissues that could lead to disease.
What Are Krill Supplements Used For?
Krill oil supplements are used to treat the symptoms of stroke, high blood pressure, depression, PMS, osteoarthritis, and cancer. The beneficial fats in krill oil help to decrease swelling and make blood platelets less sticky and less likely to form blood clots. Krill oil has been found to ease arthritic pain as well as the emotional and physical symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Apparently, only the Antarctic krill species, Euphausia superba, from among 85 identified krill species worldwide, is the source of the most powerful krill oil. According to researchers, the theory is that it is the unique molecular structure of the oil that results in its potent effects on the body.
Certain medications and conditions are contra-indicated with the use of fish oil and patients should be cautious regarding side-effects. Because adequately-sized population studies are lacking it is best to discuss your condition with a doctor before using any fish oil.