Krill oil is extracted from Krill, tiny, translucent crustaceans closely resembling shrimp. They are only 1 to 6 cm long, and great masses of them live in the ocean and feed on phytoplankton. They are a regular food source for whales, seals, dolphins, penguins and other fish. The oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, surpassing even fish oil. There are many benefits to krill oil, including healthier hair, skin and nails.
Commercial krill fishing takes place mostly in the Southern Ocean, which covers the southern hemisphere and surrounds Antarctica. Additionally, Krill are fished in the Northern Pacific Ocean, in the waters off Japan and Canada. Because these waters are so rich in nutrients and are mainly uncontaminated, Krill oil does not contain the high levels of mercury and PCBs that fish oil and many types of fish contain.
Krill oil contains the powerful Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These are the Omega-3s commonly found in fish such as salmon and tuna. Additionally, Krill oil contains an antioxidant called Astaxanthin, which has been shown to be 10 times more powerful than carotene. The Omega-3s in Krill oil are carried as phospholipids which are more easily absorbed by the body. In addition, they are absorbed in the small intestine as opposed to the stomach, so there is no fishy aftertaste.
In addition to heart health, lower cholesterol, cellular health and other major health benefits, Krill oil is known to help keep hair healthy and shiny. Omega-3s are essential for healthy skin and nails, and in the case of hair, its benefits are many. The Omega-3s in Krill oil are effective in fighting dry scalp and keeping hair follicles strong. Additionally, because Omega-3s help with cell regrowth, they are very effective at fighting hair loss and damage. Most people report results in six to eight weeks when Krill oil is taken regularly.
Since Krill is a crustacean, Krill oil should not be taken by anyone with a shellfish allergy, since those effects have not been sufficiently tested. Also, it is recommended that people who are on blood thinners or who have bleeding disorders do not take Krill oil as it can intensify those symptoms. Of course, you should check with your physician before beginning any supplement program.
Currently there is only one company who manufactures Krill oil, and that is the Neptune Krill Oil Company. The soft-gel pills are marketed through several different distributors. It is widely available in health food and organic stores. Due to its increased popularity, some major supermarket and big-box stores have recently begun to carry it. Since all of the Krill oil available on the market comes from only one source, there is currently no difference between the various brand names available in stores.
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Mame Dennis started her journalism career in 1989. She has worked as a writer, proofreader, photo editor, researcher and photo stylist for magazines such as "House Beautiful," "New Woman," "Hotel Bel-Air Magazine," "Launch Magazine" and more. Dennis has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Drew University.