Krill oil is oil from a tiny, shrimp-like animal. Baleen whales, mantas, and whale sharks eat primarily krill. In Norwegian, the word "krill" means "whale food." People extract the oil from krill, place it in capsules, and use it for medicine. Some brand name krill oil products indicate that they use Antarctic krill. This usually refers to the species of krill called Euphausia superba.
Krill oil is used for heart disease, high levels of certain blood fats (triglycerides), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, osteoarthritis, depression, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and painful menstrual periods.
How does it work?
Krill oil contains fatty acids similar to fish oil. These fats are thought to be beneficial fats that decrease swelling, lower cholesterol, and make blood platelets less sticky. When blood platelets are less sticky they are less likely to form clots.
- High cholesterol. Developing research shows that taking 1-1.5 grams of a specific krill oil product (Neptune Krill Oil, Neptune Technologies & Bioresources, Inc) daily reduces total cholesterol and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and increases “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in patients with high cholesterol. Higher doses of 2-3 grams daily also appear to significantly reduce levels of triglyceride, another type of blood fat.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). There is some evidence that taking 2 grams of a specific krill oil product (Neptune Krill Oil, Neptune Technologies & Bioresources, Inc) daily might reduce symptoms of PMS; but some experts question these findings because they believe the study was not well designed.
- Arthritis. Some research suggests that people with arthritis who take 300 mg of a specific krill oil product (Neptune Krill Oil, Neptune Technologies & Bioresources, Inc.) daily have less pain and stiffness and function better after 30 days of treatment.
- High blood pressure.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
Krill oil seems to be safe for most adults when used appropriately for a short amount of time (up to three months). Research on krill oil has not adequately evaluated its safety or possible side effects. However, it is likely that krill oil can cause some side effects similar to fish oil such as bad breath, heartburn, fishy taste, upset stomach, nausea, and loose stools.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of krill oil during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Seafood allergy: Some people who are allergic to seafood might also be allergic to krill oil supplements. There is no reliable information showing how likely people with seafood allergy are to have an allergic reaction to krill oil; however, until more is known, avoid using krill oil or use it cautiously if you have a seafood allergy.
Surgery: Because krill oil can slow blood clotting, there is concern that it might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using krill oil at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs interacts with KRILL OIL
Krill oil might slow blood clotting. Taking krill oil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination
- Orlistat (Xenical, Alli) interacts with KRILL OIL
Orlistat (Xenical, Alli) is used for weight loss. It prevents dietary fats from being absorbed from the gut. There is some concern that orlistat (Xenical, Alli) might also decrease absorption of krill oil when they are taken together. To avoid this potential interaction take orlistat (Xenical, Alli) and krill oil at least 2 hours apart.
The appropriate dose of krill oil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for krill oil. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.