The Question Is this: How Safe Is Krill Oil?

There's always plenty of debate when it comes to the safety and questionable health benefits of any dietary supplements. Krill oil (KO) is no exception. What we do know is that it's a safer way to get omega-3 fatty acids into the diet than fish. A lot of the ocean's fish nowadays contains mercury and all kinds of other toxins. This is because we humans have contaminated the waters that the fish live in. So a good quality krill or fish oil supplement is safer than eating fish on a regular basis.

Main concerns of Krill Oil and Fish Oil Supplements

One of the main concerns a lot of people have with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is that of natural oxidation. PUFAs are extremely vulnerable to oxidation or putrefying. This can happen at the manufacturing stage or after the consumer has broken the seal and opened the product.  This is more likely to occur with cheaper fish oil than the quality brands. You will know if the product has oxidized because the rancid oil will have a foul taste or odor to it.

This oxidization begins from the moment the krill or fish leaves the ocean.  The more exposure to oxygen, light and heat there is, the faster the oil will go off over time. Not only does the oil lose some or all of its health benefits when it starts to go rancid, it can even prove harmful.

Think Perishable Foods

One of the mistakes a lot of people make is that they don't treat these supplements as they would other perishable foods.  You should do though because that's exactly what they are, “perishable foods.” The products will remain fresher for longer when they are stored properly, just like all perishable things. Some of the better fish oils will contain vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant. This helps to improve the oils stability and so extend its shelf life. They don't enrich krill oils with vitamin E, it doesn't need it. The oil they extract from the Antarctic krill has its own natural super antioxidant called astaxanthin. This natural antioxidant extends its shelf life, making KO superior to FO.

Toxins and Contaminants

In general, fish is a contaminated food source now, no thanks to the state of the oceans. Needless to say, this contamination spreads easily throughout the entire food chain. That means there can be traces of contaminants in fish oil (FO), things like PCBs, dioxins and DDT. Krill oil doesn't have this problem. Krill resides deep below the Antarctic sea ice, a long way from those commercial fishing areas where most other fish live. This is yet another reason why krill oil is more beneficial and safer than the Fish oil.

The Conclusion

Krill oil has a plethora of health benefits, it lasts longer than fish oil, and it's a safer all round product. The only thing to be mindful of is the source. Make sure you always buy a quality product that abides by strict regulatory standards.

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about this fascinating crustacean, here's an interesting page presented by National Geographic:  Krill (Euphausiacea)

By Andy

Hi, my name is Dr. Andy Williams and I am a biologist with a keen interest in diet and nutrition. This site was set up to help me explore the research, facts and fiction about Krill Oil. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.

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