Similar in some ways to ultra-popular fish oil, krill oil is beginning to find its way into the health regimen of an ever-increasing number of people.
But what exactly is krill oil?
Where does it come from?
Let’s take a dive deep for answers to those and other questions about krill.
Found in all of the world’s oceans, krill, translated from Norwegian as “small fry of fish”, is one of the planet’s largest biomasses helping to sustain a diverse array of species in the natural world. Krill exist near the bottom of the food chain, feeding on phytoplankton and zooplankton. The krill convert these food sources into energy and in turn become the main diet for an incredible amount of sea life, including baleen whales, seals, penguins, squid, and fish.
One species in particular, the Southern Ocean’s Antarctic krill is especially abundant, with an estimated biomass of 500 million metric tons—making it a super source of energy for other living organisms. And it is this species in particular that finds its way into krill oil nutritional supplements.
Krill oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While the metabolic effects of krill oil are similar to those of fish oil, unlike fish oil, krill oil also provides antioxidants and phospholipids, which enhances its stability and bioavailability. Along with EPA and DHA, krill oil contains other fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, B12, and folate, and because krill feed on marine phytoplankton, krill oil also contains astaxanthin, a super-antioxidant.
The health benefits of krill oil are many. They overlap with those of standard fish oil, in that they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids. But they also stand apart in a number of ways. Here are the top three science-based benefits of krill oil: