The cold ocean waters surrounding Antarctica yield up a bounty of krill, tiny crustaceans whose oil may provide many benefits for human health. Although species of krill are found in every ocean in the world, these southern seas offer the largest supply of Euphausia superba. This species is the source of krill oil, used in many health supplements. These krill swim in dense groups, numbering as many as 60,000 in every cubic meter of ocean water, where they live off even smaller phytoplankton and zooplankton. The oil they yield provides the richest, most concentrated source of marine oils, which include the important omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaeonic acid) and DHA (docasahexaeonic acid).
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These are the same omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. There is some preliminary research that has shown the omega-3 fatty acids found in krill oil may be more efficiently absorbed and utilized by the body than fish oil.
Studies have shown that many Western diets are too low in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold water fish, such as herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon, swordfish, tuna and cod. Even diets rich in fish may have an unbalanced ratio of the types of omega-3s – ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA and DHA. Krill provides a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Although krill have been a food source in some cultures for thousands of years, it was not until the 1990s that krill oil began to be widely used as a health supplement. A wide range of medical studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA like those found in fish oil help reduce triglyceride levels and may increase LDL cholesterol levels. Although krill oil is not as studied as thoroughly as fish oil, because it contains omega-3 fatty acids it is thought by some to have the same positive effects. However, more research is still needed to support these claims. There are possible indications that krill oil may stimulate blood circulation and may help to break down fibrin (a compound involved in clot formation), the effects of which range from reduction of blood pressure to improvement in heart tissue damaged by heart disease and varicose veins. There is also some evidence that krill oil may have anti-inflammatory effects and may act as an effective antioxidant. A few randomized, double-blind, controlled human studies have also shown that krill oil has been shown to reduce the stiffness, functional impairment and pain associated with arthritis.
If you are considering adding krill oil to your dietary regimen, it is important to consult with your physician first. Since krill are crustaceans, krill oil may trigger a seafood allergy. The oil may also have adverse interactions with blood thinners, since omega-3 fatty acids can interfere with the blood’s ability to clot. Talk with your doctor about your medications and diet to see what krill oil supplements offered here at drugstore.com will work best with your health needs.
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