Why take krill oil?

Krill are tiny marine crustaceans that form an important part of the marine ecosystem. Krill oil is the best source of vital omega-3 fatty acids, which cannot be produced by the body.

The history

Krill oil is processed from tiny ocean-dwelling crustaceans. Their Antarctic habitat is protected from exploitation by international treaty. Unlike most commercial fishing, only a few licensed producers are permitted to harvest krill, and their vessels are monitored to ensure this is done on a sustainable basis.

The treaties regulating the Antarctic also ensure that the Antarctic Ocean is not polluted, which keeps the krill free from contamination.

The Science

For hundreds of years, people have taken cod liver oil as a supplement for joint stiffness. Today we know that krill oil is a more nourishing alternative. It is a concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).

It also contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that neutralises free radicals (oxygen molecules that damage DNA and lipid membranes); choline, which is important for liver function; and naturally occurring phospholipids.

Omega-3 consists of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which play a vital role in numerous processes in the body. They:

  • form part of our cell membranes and affect what they can interact with
  • influence hormone production
  • positively affect eye health, brain function and liver function
  • contribute to heart health, good blood pressure, and normal blood clotting
  • reduce inflammation and support joint health
  • are good for the skin.

These fatty acids must be obtained from our diet. Research suggests that healthier people have higher levels of omega-3 in their bloodstream.

Omega-3 fatty acids are only useful if they can be absorbed by the body. Phospholipids, which are present in krill oil but not cod liver oil, increase the elasticity of the body’s cells. They make the process of absorption easier, speed the delivery of omega-3 to the organs, and ensure that the omega-3 can be incorporated directly into cell membranes. The fatty acids in krill oil are also more easily absorbed than those in vegetable-based sources (ALA), which have a different chemical structure.