Munson Health
Krill Oil

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Other Proposed Uses

Krill are tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans that flourish in the Antarctic Ocean and provide food for numerous aquatic animals. Oil made from krill has come on the market as an alternative to fish oil . Like fish oil, krill oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Krill also contains omega-6 fatty acids , an antioxidant in the carotenoid family called astaxanthin , and substances called phospholipids.

Therapeutic Uses

A few studies have evaluated krill oil specifically. In one double-blind , placebo-controlled study, 120 people with high cholesterol were given krill oil, fish oil, or placebo. 1 The results over 3 months showed that krill oil (taken at a dose ranging from 1-3 g daily depending on body mass and which group the participants were assigned to) improved all aspects of cholesterol profile as compared to placebo, and it was more effective than fish oil (taken at the fixed dose of 3 g daily). Krill oil also reduced blood sugar levels. However, in a subsequent trial involving 113 subjects with normal or slightly elevated cholesterol levels, there was no difference in cholesterol changes between the groups receiving 3 g daily of krill oil and 1.8 g daily of fish oil for 7 weeks. A possible explanation for these differing results is that krill and fish oils are only effective in reducing cholesterol levels when the levels are significantly elevated. 5
Another double-blind study compared krill oil against fish oil for treatment of symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmennorhea (menstrual cramps) . 2 This study suffered from many problems in design and reporting, but appeared to show that krill oil was more effective than fish oil for treating both of these conditions.
A badly designed study hints that krill oil might be helpful for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis . 4


Bunea R, El Farrah K, Deutsch L, et al. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. Altern Med Rev . 2005;9:420-428.

Sampalis F, Bunea R, Pelland MF, et al. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea. Altern Med Rev . 2003;8:171-179.

Buckley MS, Goff AD, Knapp WE, et al. Fish oil interaction with warfarin. Ann Pharmacother . 2004;38:50-52.

Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effect of neptune krill oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. J Am Coll Nutr . 2007;26:39-48.

Ulven S, Kirkhus B, Lamglait A, et al. Metabolic effects of krill oil are essentially similar to those of fish oil but at lower dose of EPA and DHA, in healthy volunteers. Lipids . 2011;46:37-46.


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