Extensive research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, helping to prevent inflammatory diseases like heart disease and arthritis. In addition to warding off inflammation, omega-3s are also essential to the brain, impacting behavior and cognitive function, and are especially important during fetal development.
There are three types of fatty acids that are collectively referred to as omega-3s: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). They are all extremely important to your health. Omega-3s are considered “essential” fatty acids, because they are necessary for health and must be included in your diet. Unfortunately, the human body cannot manufacture omega 3s, so it is up to us to supplement our diets with good sources of omega 3s. Some foods such as flaxseed, canola oil and salmon are rich in omega 3s, but the best thing you can do is take an omega-3 supplement.
Both fish oil pills and krill oil supplements supply essential omega-3 fatty acids. But there are distinct differences. Krill oil comes from small crustaceans, not fatty fish and typically contains more EPA. Unlike conventional fish oil pills, krill oil’s omega-3s are linked to an antioxidant and other potentially beneficial substances called, phospholipids.
There have been a number of recent clinical studies comparing the potential health benefits of krill oil supplements with fish oil. According to a study in the January 2011 issue of the journal, Lipids, researchers demonstrated that it’s possible to attain the same heart healthy levels of omega-3s from krill oil as from fish oil. A clinical trial published in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that krill oil helped people with arthritis by reducing pain, stiffness, loss of function, and inflammation as measured by serum C-reactive protein (CRP), which is linked to chronic inflammation. CRP levels fell a significant 31 percent among those taking krill oil.
A 2004 study published in Alternative Medicine Review concluded that those taking krill oil significantly lowered their LDL cholesterol levels. During the 12-week study involving 120 men and women ages 25 to 75, Canadian researchers tested the effects of krill oil versus fish oil on elevated blood lipid levels and found that it outperformed fish oil in reducing total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels — while, at the same time, increasing amounts of “good” HDL cholesterol.
Based on these studies and many more, it is clear that krill oil offers more health benefits than fish oil. What’s more? Krill oil is not accompanied by that unpleasant, fishy “burp-back” associated with fish oil pills.