With all the marketing noise out there it’s difficult to know whether we should be taking Fish Oil or Krill Oil. Let’s have a look at the two…
Krill oil is a relatively new supplement on the market and therefore has become ‘flavour of the month’. Krill are those tiny crustaceans at the bottom of the ocean which whales feed on. They are ‘bottom of the food chain’ which means they are less likely to be contaminated with mercury and other toxins.
There has been good research done on krill oil in terms of its effects on cholesterol. Because the EPA & DHA are bound to a phospholipid (as opposed to a triglyceride in fish oil), they are readily absorbed. Therefore Krill oil has not only shown to lower total cholesterol, it also lowers LDL’s (the bad cholesterol) and increase HDL’s (the good cholesterol).
To assist in the maintenance of normal, healthy cholesterol levels take 1000mg of Krill oil per day.
Krill oil also has a naturally occurring potent antioxidant called ‘Astaxanthin’ – this gives Krill it’s red colour. The Astaxanthin helps protect the body from free radical damage as well as helps stabilise the oil and protect it from oxidation.
Unfortunately there hasn’t been a lot of other research done on Krill Oil other than its effect on cholesterol. Whereas Fish oil has had massive amounts of evidence based research done on its incredible anti-inflammatory, cognitive and cardiovascular effects on the body.
Take Krill Oil for cholesterol and Fish Oil for arthritis, skin conditions and brain health.
Fish oil is a fantastic source of essential fatty acid Omega-3 (or linolenic acid). Believe it or not the body can synthesize all its own fats except for the Omega-3’s and the Omega-6’s. These must be consumed and hence the term ‘essential’ fatty acid. In the western diet we get enough (sometimes too much) of Omega-6 fatty acids (from oils and margarines etc) but we fall very short on consuming enough Omega-3 fatty acids. This is a problem because the body needs Omega-3’s to function healthily and optimally.
The Omega-3’s in fish are broken down in the body to form 2 very important compounds: EPA (or eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (or docosahexaenoic acid).
You can see why we only use the acronyms – I can’t even pronounce these!
EPA’s essentially benefit inflammatory conditions (eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, asthma) as well as improve mood and depressive disorders
DHA’s primarily benefit the brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system assisting with concentration and memory, stress and heart disease.
Most of the health benefits of fish oils are attributable to the EPA and DHA of the fish oils.
At Mammoth Health we see amazing results with fish oil supplementation especially in the areas of skin conditions, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, depression and with learning and concentration.
The most common complaint is dry, flaky skin and this is often the first sign of an Omega-3 deficiency. Other more serious conditions including dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis benefit enormously from daily supplementation of fish oil because all these conditions are inflammatory. I actually recommend and use fish oil as a “beauty supplement” – I find it keeps my skin and hair smooth and shiny, adequately hydrated and plump and helps with those fine lines around the eyes!
Many of our customers are coming in on their doctor’s advice to take fish oil for arthritis. Again, this is because of the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil. When an area of the body becomes inflamed it causes pain. Fish oil supplementation may reduce the inflammation and therefore reduce the pain. (Note: at Mammoth Health we always prescribe a Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplement with fish oil for arthritis as this also addresses the degeneration of the cartilage and restores its integrity).
Fish oils taken at the correct dosage can be very effective in reducing cholesterol levels and helping with high blood pressure (always check with your doctor when taking blood thinning medications such as warfarin as fish oil can interact with these medications). However now with all the emerging research I would recommend Krill Oil for cholesterol management.
Brain and Nervous System
This is where the DHA in fish oil works with amazing results. We recommend a fish oil supplement high in DHA to help with concentration and focus in all learning situations. We have seen children improve enormously with school work and behaviour with long term DHA supplementation.
Different conditions require different dosages eg. for inflammatory conditions we prescribe a fish oil with a high EPA concentration. When concentration or focus is required we prescribe a supplement with high DHA concentration. Check with one of our qualified staff in-store the dose specific for your condition.
Taking fish oil in a liquid form is always better absorbed than capsule form. Also be aware that most fish oils contain 1000mg of fish oil but can vary with the amount of EPA/DHA (you need to check the small writing on the back to see the amount of EPA/DHA in each capsule or 5ml). Good vitamin manufacturers are now releasing concentrated fish oil capsules with higher levels of EPA/DHA so you can achieve therapeutic benefits with less capsules.
We are also very particular, and offer only quality fish oil supplements that have been purified of heavy metals (namely mercury and organochlorines).
The other important thing to be aware of is whether Vitamin E has been added to the supplement to prevent free radical damage (oils are very unstable). Whereas Krill oil has its naturally occurring astaxanthin to stabilise the oil, good quality companies will add Vitamin E as an excipient antioxidant to fish oil supplements. Excipients don’t need to be listed on the product but ask in-store and the staff will let you know which are the best quality brands to buy.
So when taking a fish oil supplement (like any other supplement) make sure you are taking a quality product at the correct dose so you get the required therapeutic effect. Otherwise you are just wasting your time and your money.
“Because it’s Not A Rehearsal”
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