What is Krill Oil? Here is Everything You Need to Know

Background

Krill oil is extracted from tiny sea creatures that look like shrimp. They are found in the cold water oceans of Japan, Canada and Antartica. Krill are the staple diet for whale sharks, mantas, and baleen whales. The oil is extracted from the krill, transferred into capsules and taken as medicine. There is a lot of controversy concerning the harvesting of krill. The concern is that commercially harvesting krill for the use of supplements could lead to the species that consume it as food becoming extinct.

Krill is referred to as Okiami by the Japanese and they have been harvesting it as a source of food since the 19th century. It is also consumed in Taiwan and South Korea.

Uses

Krill oil is used to reverse a wide range of conditions such as severe menstral cramps, premenstrual syndrome, depression, osteoarthiritis, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

How Does Krill Oil Work?

Krill oil is made up of the following fatty acids: Docosahexaenoic (DHA) Eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which are also contained in the majority of fish oils. These fatty acids are healthy and are known to lower cholesterol, reduce swelling and reduce the stickyness of blood platelets which means that blood clots are less likely.

Side Effects

There has not been enough research conducted on krill oil to determine whether or not there are any severe side effects. It is possible that krill oil is safe when used over a short three month period. However, it is possible that it can cause the same minor side effects as fish oil which includes loose stools, nausea, upset stomach, fishy taste, heartburn and bad breath.

Warnings and Precautions

Breast feeding and pregnancy: Not enough research has been conducted in this area to determine whether or not it is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women. To be on the safe side, krill oil should be avoided during this time.

Seafood allergy: There is currently no formal scientific research on whether or not those suffering from seafood allergies will also experience an allergic reaction from krill oil. However, until there is more evidence, it is advised that those with seafood allergies do not use krill oil.

Consumption: Krill oil should be taken as one whole capsule, it should not be opened or punctured.
Overdose: If you think you have consumed too much krill oil, or if you begin to experience any of the following after you have consumed krill oil you will need to seek emergency medical attention:

  • Surgery: Krill oil reduces the speed at which the blood clots. The concern is that it could lead to increase in bleeding after surgery. If you know you are going to have surgery, you should stop taking it up to two weeks prior to your scheduled surgery date.
    Be Cautious When Combining Other Medications
    Combining krill oil with other medications that reduce blood clotting can increase the chances of bleeding and bruising.
  • Drugs you should be careful of include:
    • Warfarin
    • Heparin
    • Enoxaparin
    • Dalteparin
    • Naproxen
    • Ibuprofen
    • Diclofenac
    • Clopidogrel
    • Aspirin
  • Dosage
    There are several factors that determine the appropriate dosage of krill oil such as the health and the age of the user as well as many other factors. There is currently not enough scientific evidence to make concrete statements about safe dosages.
  • Users should bear in mind that just because a product is natural doesn’t mean that it is safe to consume in large quantities. Make sure that you follow the instructions on the packet and consult a healthcare professional, physician or pharmacist before using the product.

 

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