The Highly Recommended Supplement That is Krill Oil
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, no doubt, you have heard of the many “cures all” benefits of high grade fish oil. Yes the benefits are more than plentiful when used correctly. It absolutely should be at the staple of any serious supplement program. Regardless of age, body weight, fitness levels, goals, etc. Fish oil is a must!
But, hold the phone. There appears to be a new kid on the block. He goes by the name Krill Oil. Krill Oil comes from cold water areas deep in the ocean. These areas appear to be more pure and a cleaner source of water than other harvest areas of various fish oil suppliers. What does this mean? That the oil is less contaminated than other water sources.
But if fish oil is so great and a “cure all” why would we need this Krill Oil (for fat loss)? Well, a number of reasons. For starters, Krill Oil not only has the added benefits of fish oil (EPA and DHA). But Krill also brings additional qualities to help us in our quest for optimal health and performance.
It is an extremely valuable source of a potent antioxidant, Astaxanthin. As well as omega three fatty acids it also provides omega six and omega nine. Another benefit of Krill compared to fish oil is that you only need to ingest half as much to meet your optimal daily fish oil requirement. For example, six grams of krill would be equal to 15 grams of fish oil. And without question the most valuable asset of krill oil are the natural sources of phospholipids.
One such valuable lipid is phosphocholine, which is essential component of all cell membranes for every one of our 30 trillion cells in our bodies. It is also what is known as a methyl donor in energy metabolisms. Basically, in the brain, choline forms part of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, which is intimately involved in as Dr. Michael Colgan puts’ it, your “Anabolic Drive.” One job of acetylcholine, is to reduce production of another brain hormone called somatostatin, a hormone that inhibits release of growth hormones.
1 - Also, vital to memory and retention large doses of Phosphatidylcholine are used with moderate success to improve memory in the elderly.
2 - And as you will come to see Phosphatidylcholine and krill oil have a plethora of exquisite possibilities when it comes to improving not just our physical health, but mental health as well.
In a study published in the Journal of Alternative Medicine in May of 2003. Associates at the Department of Experimental Surgery, University of Montreal performed a study to evaluate the effectiveness of Neptune Krill Oil, for the management of PMS and Dysmenorrhea. The objective was to compare the effectiveness of Krill oil for the managing of PMS and Dysmenorrhea with that of regular omega three fish oil. Over the 3-month study, a statistically significant improvement was demonstrated within the Neptune Krill oil group. Data analysis showed a significant reduction in the number of analgesics used for Dysmenorrhea (severely painful cramps) within the krill oil group, whereas those who were consuming regular fish oil showed far less improvement.
My apology for all of you guys that may have been bored just now. Or perhaps thought the previous study lacked relevance, you must be single, or never have had any sisters, ha, ha. Because any man that’s ever had to succumb to that “terrifying time of the month,” via a significant other, should be thanking me. Run out and buy some A.S.A.P.
So what else can Krill do for us, you might ask? Well, how about being a potent manager of hyperlipidemia as well as one of the most formidable combatants in the cholesterol war. Research has proven the positive effects Krill oil has on blood lipids, specific total cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and LDL (low density lipoprotein) vs. HDL (high density lipoprotein).
In a recent study, groups were divided up and given different levels of krill oil, fish oil, and placebo. Group (A) received a krill oil dose at a body mass index (BMI) dependant level of 2-3g daily. Group (B) received krill oil at 1-1.5g per day. And Group C was given fish oil, 3g per day. Krill Oil at a dose of 1-3g daily was found to be effective for reduction of total glucose, total cholesterol, reduced triglyceride levels, and improvement in low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). This was compared to both fish oil and a placebo. The results of this study firmly demonstrated with a high level of confidence that krill oil is significantly more effective than fish oil in the management of glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. What does this mean, you ask? Basically in laymen’s terms, this means krill oil can be a big boost in our “battle of the bulge” by manipulating triglycerides (fat) and raising our good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering the bad (LDL), as well as helping to maintain stable blood sugar (Glucose).
On a personal note, I have seen this happen in dramatic fashion, in incredible time. Within just a few weeks of being administered Krill oil for fat loss purposes primarily, at a dose of 3-6g per day, a client of mine who has had chronic high cholesterol for years amazed her Doctor when she went in for her routine check up and her cholesterol scores had dramatically improved. The Doctor was, to say the least, intrigued. He asked what she had done differently. She replied that her personal trainer had put her on this “stuff” called krill oil. The Doctor, with all his ultimate wisdom, had never heard of such a thing. The sad truth is most Doctor’s in today’s western society don’t think outside of the box, or look for better more alternative methods. Most get their M.D., get trained to treat with nothing but drugs, often doing more harm than good. Personally, I am opposed to most BP medications, especially Statins. They tend to bring more side effects with them than spending a fearful and loathing filled weekend in Vegas with Hunter S. Thompson. All kidding aside, Statins are bad news.
Sadly, most M.D.’s learning tends to hit a wall shortly after graduation. Few pursue further education by keeping constantly updated with new and upcoming studies. The Journals are easily accessible by all the medical community. I respect the few that actually keep up to date and are open to alternative medicine. I am happy to report that my client is now off her blood pressure medication and feeling better than ever. I cannot advise anyone in similar circumstances to just pick up a bottle of Krill and do away with whatever RX’s you may be on. That is something that has to be worked out between you and your own personal physician. But this I will advise, talk to him or her about it, show them the studies, and go from there.
An important side note, Krill oil will thin your blood. So make sure to fully screen all medications or supplements you or your client may currently be on before implementing Krill. Aspirin is something you typically will want to avoid while on krill. However, I have another client of mine with a nasty history of heart disease. He has been on aspirin for years, since his heart attack at the age of 51. I was weary of how this may affect his BP, by possibly overly thinning his blood and dropping his BP too low. He happens to be in the medical field himself and is very thorough on checking his vitals and BP daily. Amazingly, he reports that since the first time he can remember. His BP is once again within optimal range. So I have seen the combination work, but be advised to keep tabs on your BP if you choose such a route. Of other interest is the supplement Gingko Biloba which has also been shown to act as a blood thinner. And warnings are out to be wary of combining it with Aspirin therapy. Again it’s all individual and something to be worked out between you and your doctor. You must work as a team!
By now I hope I have you quite convinced that Krill oil appears to be a necessity for a great majority of us pursuing proper health. What if I were to tell you there’s more to the story. Can Krill benefit us in other ways? You bet! In a study performed by Sciopsis Inc. in Ontario, Canada. Researchers set out to evaluate the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on C-Reactive Proteins (CRP) on patients with chronic inflammation. Recent research suggests that patients with elevated basal levels of CRP are at an increased risk for diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. They also looked at the effectiveness of krill oil on Arthritic symptoms. After just seven days of treatment, krill oil reduced CRP’s by 19.3%. After 14 and 30 days krill oil further decreased CRP by a whopping 29.7%! As far as the Arthritic Conditions, after seven days, krill reduced pain scores by an impressive 28.9% and reduced stiffness by an astounding 20.3%! 4
Other very interesting and important attributes of krill oil beyond fat loss, are that of its effect on mental attributes. In a very recent study performed at The University of California Berkeley. Researchers set out to study omega 3's (EPA and DHA) combined with phospholipids, i.e., krill oil. The goal was to see what effects it may have on cognition, behaviour and mood. DHA has proven essential to pre and post natal brain development, whereas the EPA seems more influential on behaviour and mood. Both DHA and EPA generate neuroprotective metabolites. In double blind, randomized, controlled trials (the truest form of effective study) DHA and EPA combinations have shown a number of positive benefits in attention deficit disorder, Autism, Dyslexia, Dysplaxia, and aggression. Meta-analysis confirms benefits in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder, with promising results in Schizophrenia and showing initial benefit for borderline personality disorder. An interesting note; accelerated cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment correlate with low tissue levels of DHA and EPA. 5 Researchers go on to say that utilizing DHA and EPA together with phopholipids (krill oil) and membrane antioxidants, such as Astaxanthin, “will achieve a triple cell membrane synergy leading to an extremely wide range of clinical applications.”
By now I’m sure you’re either temporarily bored by my “ranting.” Or greatly intrigued and strongly convinced of the omni benefits of marine oil’s, especially those of krill oil. The studies I have referenced have without a doubt displayed substantial and significant results. I feel one of the more interesting qualities of fish and Neptune Krill Oil (NKO), is the apparent significant impact it has on the health and mental well-being of individuals.
I am often brought personal training clients with “special needs.” Recently on just such an occasion I had the opportunity to work with a client who was brought to me in near death condition. A long time sufferer of the horrid disease of Bulimia and Anorexia, it had left her in the most sadly frail of conditions. Needless to say, this particular client has a long history of mental illness dating back to early childhood. This client is a close friend of the family, so I was asked if I could possibly help her in any way. I attempted to perform an analysis on her, and quite honestly, with her current condition I had a hard time even looking at her, let alone perform a procedure of skin fold site exams. I’m trying to draw a picture here for you folks. Think “Night of the living Dead,” plainly speaking, her body was shot! I knew I could not possibly overload her with too many neutraceuticals all at once, even though she was obviously in desperate need of serious a serious nutrition and supplement protocol. I choose to put her on krill oil right away, because neither her body nor her brain had seen a proper ounce of fat in who knows how long. I started her on the minimal effective dosage of 3g daily.
She sees a doctor, a nutritionist, and a therapist on a weekly basis. In my opinion either they’re uneducated simpletons or she simply just does not heed their advice. Anyway on her previous visit to the doctor, before I saw her, her physician had told her that her liver was 2/3 of the way gone! And the vital enzyme factors and blood level results were nothing short of pathetic. Keeping in mind this girl had kept fat at bay for such a long time she was more terrified of it and food than she was walking through the streets of Iraq wearing an American Flag singing our national anthem. A bad joke, I know. In all seriousness, food and fat of any kind was a pure mystery to this girl. After just two weeks of working with me, and taking Neptune Krill Oil, she again went in for her weekly physician review. Much to her M.D.’s amazement and confusion, her critical levels had more than tripled!
Now information like that can and will be useful to a number of people, hopefully save some lives. But, what about all you Muscle Heads out there asking what in the hell will it do for my biceps? Good question! Krill oil has been shown to posses the ability to increase one’s motivation. One possible avenue of this is the level of Phosphatidylcholine. What does that mean for you and your biceps? Well, more motivation means more drive not only to get to the gym, but more energy to stay there and put in a proper workout. More motivation can also translate into a deeper desire to stick to your diet. Put away those, as I believe you English call them, Bangers and Mash for something of more nutritional value. And no just because you ate something of healthier value doesn’t give you the “cheat” points to wash it all down with a pint of Carling.
In addition Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have some anabolic properties on their own. The natural anti-inflammatory properties of EPA will help any athlete or individual recuperate and heal faster from hard earned workouts. Maybe even most important when it comes to biceps, triceps, abs, and the whole lot. Including but not limited to an ass you can bounce a quarter off of. Which most women desire and many men look for in women (or maybe that’s just an American thing!). Anyway, when it comes too not only building muscle, but preserving it as well, Charles Poliquin says that “you’re only as strong as your immune system!” Truly a strong immunity is utterly vital for good health and an optimal physique. And as if you couldn’t have guessed . . . fish oil and krill oils have been shown to improve and boost the immunity as well.
So I am a yes, you might say that I am a very big proponent of krill oil. But that certainly in no way discounts the benefits of a high quality purified Omega 3 fish oil. The optimal path to take is to supplement with both of these “cure all” supplements. Typically I will start a client on krill oil for eight weeks then switch them over to a high grade EPA/DHA fish oil. I have a number of clients on krill and a high grade EPA/DHA fish oil for an extended period of time. It is always a personal thing, sometimes a client will need an oil higher in DHA for special circumstances, others may need higher EPA for inflammation, etc. Charles Poliquin recommends rotating the source of marine oil every few weeks or months. I feel you should always start out on krill oil at a dose of 3-6g per day, 3g being the minimal effective dose and 6g being the optimal effective dose. 6g of krill is the equivalent of 15g of fish oil.
Depending on your specific needs, most clients will require anywhere in the range of 15 - 45 g’s daily of fish oil. This can easily be done with 6-12 t of Neptune Krill Oil per day, providing around 15g fish oil, added to this a tablespoon of fish oil (15g) or 5-10 t of EPA/DHA 780 (7 - 15g). This may sound like a rather large dose, but you may want to consider that Paleolithic Era nutrition provided in the range of 300gms per week. Basically, if health and longevity are your goals Krill oil should be at the top of your nutrition and supplement list for the ultimate performance of body mind and spirit.
1. Dr. Michael Colgan, Optimum Sports Nutrition; (32) : 370, Advanced Research Press, 1993
2. Levine R, Luft R, eds. Advances in Metabolic Disorders. Vol. 9, New York: Academic Press, 1978
3. Alternative Medicine Review 2004 Dec; 9 (4) : 420 - 8
4. Journal American College Nutrition, 2007 Feb; 26 (1) : 39 - 48
5. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):207-27