Archive for November, 2011

The great Krill oil Versus fish oil debate. Who wins?

There has been much noise made lately about the benefits of Krill oil, and many people have started taking Krill oil capsules as a result. It is said that Krill oil contains more beneficial components, and as a result there has been a bit of a Krill oil versus fish oil debate. So should you be taking Krill oil or fish oil?

Perhaps we should begin by discussing exactly what Krill oil is. Krill are tiny shrimplike creatures that live in the colder areas of our oceans. Whales eat them by the ton, and they also make up a part of the diet of humans, mainly the Japanese and Russians.

Lets say at the start that the important Omega 3 essential fatty acids are DHA and EPA. Both Krill and fish oil are a source of these important Omega-3 fats.

So if both oils contain both EPA and DHA how do you choose one or the other?

1. Compare The Cost Of The DHA That You Are Getting.

It is generally considered that DHA is more important to your health than EPA, though EPA is certainly important as well. Around 60% of your brain is fat, and DHA is the most prevalent, and adding DHA and EPA to your diet promotes a range of health benefits including benefits to your mental function as well as reducing the risk of death from heart disease, helping your cholesterol levels and helping you reduce weight, and much more.

When you’re buying quality Omega 3 oil supplements you are primarily buying DHA. So one of the most important parts of comparing the different oil capsules is to assess the cost of the DHA that you’re buying. This is simply a matter of making a mathematical calculation of the amount of DHA in each capsule as a proportion of the price.Krill Oil Vs Fish Oil

If you make a comparison of Krill oil compared to fish oil capsules you’ll find that the DHA that you’re buying in Krill oil softgels is significantly more expensive than the DHA you are buying in fish oil supplements. In fact it is over 5 times more expensive to buy DHA in Krill oil form that it is as fish oil.

Krill oil is very low in DHA, the most important of the Omega 3 fats.

2. The Level Of Toxic Contamination In Each.

One of the perceived differences between fish oil and Krill oil is that the latter is less contaminated than the former. This however is not necessarily the case.

Airborne contamination can affect all parts of the globe. Scientists have found man-made pollution even in the North Atlantic and the Antarctic, including in creatures which inhabit the Antarctic such as penguins. Airborne pollution is found everywhere.

Establishing the cleanliness of the supplements that you buy is essential. Nowadays, sad to say, all forms of Omega 3 oils are likely to demonstrate some degree of contamination. The days are gone when it is possible to source marine oils high in DHA and EPA that are completely contamination free. This includes Krill oil.

However it’s quite possible to buy completely clean fish oil supplements. This is not because they are totally clean to begin with but it is because they have undergone rigorous decontamination processes, and the results have been checked by independent laboratory analysis. Before buying any Omega 3 supplements you should always check the certificate of analysis of the oil, which should always be made available to the public on the website.

Many people are unaware that Krill oil undergoes no decontamination process. It is therefore untrue to say that Krill oil is free from contamination.

3. Scientific Evidence Showing The Effectiveness Of The Supplements.

There have been literally thousands of studies which have demonstrated the effectiveness of the DHA and EPA Omega 3 fats in improving your health. However although there are claims by the manufacturers that Krill oil is tremendously effective in improving your health there are very few, if any, independent scientific studies that show that Krill oil is any better to your health compared to fish oil. The benefits of the Omega 3 fats in one will be the same benefits as found in the same quantity of Omega3 fats in the other.

Most of the studies that do exist are in fact financed by people with a financial interest in selling Krill oil. One Canadian company owns the patent on Krill oil and finances the studies, of which there are very few.

4. The Presence Of Astaxanthin In Krill Oil.

It is said that Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with significant health benefits, and that Astaxanthin is found in Krill. Whilst this is true it is also true that some high quality fish oil supplements contain Astaxanthin at a significantly higher proportion that is found in Krill oil.

The anti-oxidant potency of Krill oil is in fact lower than that of the best fish oil supplements.

5. The DHA And EPA Are Attached To Phospholipids.

This is one more reason why it is claimed that Krill oil is more potent than fish oil. Without going into all of the scientific mumbo-jumbo about what this means, the bottom line is that there is no scientific evidence that this does anything at all, and there is no more evidence that the phospholipid structure in Krill oil offers any health benefits.

Ultimately Krill oil is about marketing. The health benefits of Omega 3 supplementation are established by many many scientific studies, and the benefit of fish oil to your health is recognized by such eminent authorities as the American Heart Association.

However, whilst Krill oil supplements are cleverly marketed, there is no independent scientific evidence to suggest that they are any more beneficial to your health than high quality Omega 3 fish oil supplements, they are dramatically more expensive for the same amount of active ingredient, and because they are not subject to any decontamination process the contamination level of Krill oil supplements may be extremely high. Nobody knows.

So if you’re convinced of the health benefits of DHA and EPA supplementation, and if you’ve been wondering about fish oil vs Krill oil debate, then rest assured that buying fish oil supplements will be cheaper, safer, and better for your health.

NOTE: More recently we have noticed an issue crop up with krill oil capsules that we had never thought of before.

There are some suggestions that krill can contain very small amounts of shellfish. This may be because they eat it, we have no idea. However we have read the suggestion that this may be an issue for people who have a shellfish allergy. To read a little more about krill allergens, albeit in scientific language, click here.

We haven’t seen any solid evidence in support of this suggestion, but thought we’d mention it anyway. Perhaps it’s being studied somewhere, we don’t know. To find clean quality fish oil supplements click here.

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A new study is showing significant benefits to Omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy

There is some debate about the possible benefits and the possible risks of taking Omega 3 supplements during pregnancy. Not all medical authorities agree that you either should or shouldn’t supplement with Omega 3 fish oil when you are pregnant.

Of course the first answer to this question is always to consult your doctor. Every woman who is considering any form of supplementation during pregnancy should always have the issue checked out by their doctor, because there are so many individual personal medical circumstances to consider.

However there is a growing body of evidence that the Omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA are beneficial to both the mother and to the growing baby during pregnancy. Whilst studies have been mixed a new Australian study has now suggested that there are in fact significant benefits to Omega 3 supplementation in pregnancy.
Omega 3 during pregnancy
In the past we have talked about some of the benefits of Omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy to the fetus, and growing baby as effects both mental and visual development. There is significant evidence that the Omega 3 essential fatty acids have an important role in mental development and the development of vision in young children.

However this new 5 year Australian study has now suggested another area where there may be benefits to the mother and to the baby from Omega 3 supplementation through pregnancy.

The results of this trial has suggested that Omega 3 supplementation may well also lead to a reduction in the risk of premature birth.

In this study 2400 pregnant women were given Omega 3 supplements, or a placebo. Supplementation began at 19 weeks and continued through until the birth of the baby.

The results of the study showed a significant reduction in risk of premature birth, in fact so significant that they found a 50 percent reduction in the risk of early delivery.

And on top of that they also found a 35 percent drop in the birth weight of babies born to mothers who were supplementing. As well there was a drop in serious health problems in those children and a reduction in infants deaths of 66%, a very significant finding.

As mentioned, we have previously talked about the role of Omega 3 fatty acids in the development of mental ability in children. In this new Australian study it was also observed that the babies and infants of mothers who were supplemented with the Omega 3 fatty acids had a reduced risk of suffering slow cognitive development and slow development of language skills.

We have also discussed previously the role of Omega 3 supplementation in mental disorders such as depression, including postnatal depression.

And the researchers in this study, on top of the conclusions previously referred to, also noted that women who took the Omega 3 supplements during pregnancy were less at risk of postnatal depression.

This result accords with others finding that there is evidence that the Omega 3 essential fatty acids can help improve some mental disorders such as depression.

As we said at the start, whether you’re considering taking Omega 3 supplements during pregnancy, or any other form of supplement during pregnancy, talk to your doctor first.

However it does seem clear that there is a growing body of evidence supporting the conclusion that there are significant health benefits to supplementation during pregnancy, and developing studies seem to be supporting the conclusion.

But as always more work is being done and it’s difficult to say when there is sufficient evidence to safe for sure.



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Then again maybe not, it all depends

We have written a number of articles about Omega 3 and depression. There is a body of evidence which suggests that people suffering from depression may well benefit from increasing the amount of Omega 3 in their diet. The evidence is suggesting that this includes other forms of depressive illness such as bipolar disorder.

Unfortunately as is often the case there are no clear and definite answers linking an increase in Omega 3 consumption to a reduction in symptoms of depression. Like many of these things there are a range of studies, some of which support the conclusion and some of which do not.

And of course whilst increasing the intake of Omega 3 in the diet may well help some forms of depression it may well not help others. For instance it may help depression in younger people, or older people, or women, or men. We’re not saying that it does, just demonstrating the difficulties of trying to determine exactly where increasing your Omega 3 intake may benefit you.Does Omega 3 help depression

A new study published only recently, however, has again supported the conclusion that the increasing the amount of Omega 3 essential fatty acids in the diet can have a positive impact on people who are suffering from symptoms of depression.

However it also noted that these results, namely that increases in Omega 3 intake may help improve some depressive symptoms, were found specifically in people who had diagnosed depressive symptoms and who were prescribed antidepressant medications, and that people who were simply more prone to the likelihood of depression, because they had suffered from a heart attack, would not benefit.

As you can see it’s not as simple as trying to demonstrate that increasing your intake of Omega 3 does or does not improve symptoms of depression. It’s much more complicated than that, and unfortunately it’s very difficult to prove one way or the other.

And so our suggestion, in cases like this, is always the same. If you suffer from depression then it is always worth trying Omega 3 supplementation (after consulting your doctor) to see if it works for you. It may or may not work for you, it may or may not work for others, however this is really the only way of finding out.

And even then it’s not a complete answer, because you may well find that after taking Omega 3 supplements for while your depressive symptoms are reduced, but is this due to the Omega 3 fats, or some other factor?

That’s the way medical science advances. One step forward, 2 steps back and eventually we get there, sometimes.


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