- The antioxidant astaxanthin protects against free radicals during oxidation
- Phospholipids aid in cell-to-cell communication in cell membranes.
- Supports healthy blood pressure already within the normal range.
One of the major benefits of krill oil that distinguishes it from fish oil is that krill oil contains the caratenoid astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is considered by many to be one of the strongest antioxidants available. Antioxidants ensure that our cells are not bombarded with harmful free radicals given off during the process of oxidation (oxidation is a naturally occurring by-product of the body using energy or being exposed to toxins).
Astaxanthin can also cross the blood-brain barrier which helps to inhibit the formation of free radicals in the eye, brain, and central nervous system. Krill's primary diet is algae which contain astaxanthin (which gives the krill their pink color). The strong presence of astaxanthin in krill, and the fact that they are a prime source of this antioxidant for other creatures, makes krill a prime source of health and nutrition for humans, too.
In addition to astaxanthin, krill oil contains phospholipids. Phospholipids in your cell membranes aid in cell-to-cell communication. Phospholipids are also not dependent on bile for digestion, thus they can spontaneously form micelles and be conveyed in an aqueous environment. In addition, phospholipids are able to be absorbed without digestion in their intact form, or as lysophosphatidylcholine after digestion by enzymes in the small intestine. This simpler digestion process in the small intestine prior to absorption is one of the primary factors suggesting that omega-3 phospholipids offer greater bioavailability in the human body than omega-3 triglycerides.
Like fish oil, krill oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA). And, as mentioned above, in krill oil these fatty acids are found in phospholipids, resulting in the absorption and distribution of a higher proportion of EPA and DHA when compared to fish oil where EPA and DHA are found in triglycerides. EPA and DHA are often found in higher actual potency in krill oil and, because krill oil is derived from a shrimp-like crustacean, it can be taken without the fishy smell or flavor.
- Krill are a shrimp-like crustacean. Therefore, people who have shrimp or shellfish allergies should be very cautious about testing krill oil for the first time and may be well-advised to avoid it all together.
- People who are on blood thinners such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumarin, Heparin, Plavix) or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) should seek a doctor’s advice before taking krill oil.
- Taking krill oil with some herb supplement such as ginkgo biloba and garlic may increase the risk of bleeding.