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Krill Oil or Fish Oil!

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Krill Oil or Fish Oil

From: Marilyn Walter
Fremont, California

          Krill Oil or Fish Oil 

Krill oil and fish oil have both become among the most nutritious supplements humans could benefit from. In essence, both these oils share almost the same characteristics in terms of what they’re composed of and their capabilities of improving several body systems, but many experts debated on which one serves superior to the other.

Fish oil is an excellent source of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are omega 3 fatty acids that are known to give various benefits to one’s overall health, especially in the cardiovascular system. 

Fish oil has been carried out to consumers as part of lots of supplements and processed foods, as well as being a supplement of its own, with omega 3 as its main benefit, as according to the American Heart Association (AHA), World Health Organization (WHO), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this type of oil significantly reduces the risks of certain cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart attacks and strokes. 

Krill oil also contains the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA as in fish oil. However, these are hooked up in a two-chain phospholipid form, unlike in fish oil, where omega 3 fatty acids are in the triglyceride form. The EPA leg of the phospholipid is attached with an astaxanthin molecule.

Astaxanthin is a very potent antioxidant. Being in phospholipid form means that omega 3 fatty acids in krill oil is more absorbed by the body than in triglyceride form. The bioavailability of essential fatty acids in krill oil is about 95 to 98 percent, as compared to fish oil, which is only around 61 to 65 percent. In essence, if both have the same amount of omega 3 fatty acids, the body will have more of them utilized in krill oil than in fish oil. 

Also found in krill oil are canthaxanthin, another potent antioxidant, as well as vitamins A, E, and D. the antioxidant property of krill oil is a lot more potent than that of fish oil in terms of oxygen radical absorptance capacity (ORAC), which is about 48 times stronger.

The benefits of fish oil may include reducing pain and inflammation, as the omega 3 fatty acid EPA may aid in regulating the body’s inflammation cycle, improving conditions such as arthritis, cystitis, and prostatitis; lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels; reducing blood pressure; improving brain function, particularly for nursing mothers, treating depression; improving ADHD and conditions such as dyslexia, compulsive disorders, and dyspraxia; and reducing the risks of colon, prostate, and breast cancer. 


Similar benefits were also observed with krill oil supplementation, but several studies showed its superior effectiveness to fish oil. A group of experts in Mayo Clinic have concluded after a number of studies that fish oil significantly decreases blood triglyceride levels, and that the higher its dosage, the greater its effects, although they’ve also reported of omega 3 in fish oil causing increases of about 1 to 3 percent in HDL (good cholesterol), while also increasing LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by about 5 to 10 percent. 

A 90-day double-blind, randomized study, which was published in a 2004 issue of Alternative Medicine Review, was conducted by medical professionals affiliated with the University of Montreal and McGill University to test krill oil and fish oil. 

120 patients with mild to moderate hyperlipidemia were tested randomly and assigned to one of four groups, with Group A and B doses that are based on the patient’s BMI (body mass index). 

Group A were given 1 or 1.5 grams of krill oil daily, which contained 90mg DHA and 150mg EPA; 

Group B were given 2 or 3 grams of krill oil daily; 

Group C were given 3 grams of fish oil that contained 120mg of DHA and 180mg EPA; and 

Group D were given a placebo. 65 of the subjects were already under a 10mg per day statin regimen at least 6 months and continued the treatment through the study. 

The study showed krill oil’s effect on cholesterol levels being superior to that of fish oil. The reduction of total cholesterol with 3 grams of krill oil was around 17.9 percent, while fish showed a reduction of only 5.88 percent. 

An HDL increase of 4.22 percent and 59.64 percent were observed under fish oil and krill oil treatment, respectively; and reductions of 4.56 percent and 3.15 percent on LDL and triglyceride levels, respectively, were seen with fish oil, while reductions of 39.15 percent and 26.51 percent on LDL and triglyceride levels, respectively, were observed under krill oil treatment.

The effects on patients who took 3g of fish oil were also compared with the effects on patients who took 1g of krill oil, and surprisingly, the 1g krill oil supplementation still held superior, with 13.44 percent decrease in total cholesterol, 32.03 percent decrease in LDL, 43.92 percent increase in HDL, and 11.03 percent decrease in triglyceride levels. 

Patients who took 1g and 1.5g krill oil continued the treatment but with a lower dose of 0.5g every day for another 90 days, and achieved similar results. 

Although further studies are necessary to establish concrete results, these changes show that the omega 3 fatty acids found in krill oil could help more in reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis than those in fish oil. 

Pre-menstrual Syndrome 

Fish oil supplements have become one of the best alternatives to prescription drugs for relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms because of their omega-3 content, but some experts believe that krill oil possesses greater capabilities for PMS relief. 

A 90-day double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study was conducted to determine the efficiency of krill oil and fish oil in relieving PMS symptoms. The result is krill oil was more effective than fish oil in giving relief from joint pain and breast tenderness, as well as in helping in managing emotional symptoms such as depression, stress, feeling overwhelmed, and irritability. 

Furthermore, patients who took krill oil required less pain relievers. Prior to the clinical trial, similar amounts of analgesic were given to patients that took fish oil and krill oil. The group that took krill oil required lesser amounts of painkillers than the group who took fish oil, showing a reduction of 50 percent in analgesics on the 90th day. 

Prostate Health 

A clinical trial was published in a 2006 issue of the British Journal of Cancer, where omega 3 fatty acids were found to aid in preventing the spread of prostate cancer, which was further explained with its ability to block omega 6 fatty acids. 

A statement from the principal investigator mentioned that certain tumors progress in a slow manner with no sign of any symptoms, but when symptoms suddenly show, this may mean that the cancer has spread, and a diet containing a good balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids could prevent prostate cancer cells from spreading. 

The study showed that omega 6 existent in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils increase the spread of cancer cells to the bone marrow, and omega 3 could block their invasion through the body part. 

Since fish oil is known to have omega 3 fatty acids, this could serve as a good source for preventing cancer cells spreading. However, oftentimes, fish oils have a lot more omega 6 content than the recommended amount. Most fish oils have an omega 3/omega 6 ratio of 2:1, while krill oil is found to have a ratio of 15:1, making it a better option for this condition. 

In addition, this type of oil could be rancid, and their bioavailability, which is at 65 percent, is less than krill oil’s, which is around 95 to 98 percent. Furthermore, krill oil contains astanxanthin, which is known to be a very powerful antioxidant. 

Side Effects 

The side effects that one could experience from fish oils could vary depending on the brand and the dosage, as well as the user’s physical condition. Among the common side effects of fish oils are heartburn, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and because of its nature, fish breathe and aftertaste may occur. However, gastroinstestinal upsets maybe reduced when they’re kept refrigerated. 

Unusual side effects from fish oils may include an elevated LDL level, high blood sugar level for diabetics, bleeding, and allergic reactions such as rashes, hives, breathing difficulties, itching, and difficulty swallowing. In addition, fish oils may require the body more vitamin E, so it’s best to look out for those with the said vitamin. 

Fish oils are known to fight inflammation, but because they also contain high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids, this may be reversed. Omega 6 is known to aggravate inflammation, which contributes to PMS, joint pain, and inflammatory bowel. 

On the other hand, there have been no reported side effects such as reflux from the use of krill oil. Mice studies show that long-term use of krill oil, which lasted for 6 months (equal to 27 years for humans) have no adverse effect on the brain, heart, stomach, pancreas, intestines, prostate/uterus, lungs, and kidneys. However, people who are allergic to seafoods should take precaution to avoid reactions such as rashes, itching, difficulty swallowing, and hives. 

There are more studies that showed the greater potential of krill oil than fish oil in conditions such as ADHD in both adults and children, eye health, and depression, and as a supplement for nursing mothers. 

However, further studies may be required to prove which one works best in certain conditions. But judging on the content of both oils, one could truly benefit more from krill oil than in fish oil when taken in similar amounts because of the difference in bioavailability, and with the ration of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids, one could determine that krill oil may have more benefits than adverse effects than fish oils. With lots of medical professionals constantly debating on whether krill oil or fish oil is better than the other, it’s hard to come up with a concrete decision on which one to take.

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