Most people have heard how omega 3 essential fatty acids supplements like fish oil can help improve your health. What are essential fatty acids though? Should you take essential fatty acids supplements or simply try to get enough omega 3 fatty acids from fish and other food sources? Just what is krill oil and are there any health benefits of krill oil vs. fish oil? I’ll tackle these and other questions.
What are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids include omega 3s and omega 6s. The body cannot produce these on their own, and it is therefore necessary to ingest these through food. The problem is that the typical diet consists of plenty of omega 6 fatty acids but not enough omega 3 fatty acids. While the optimal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be less than 6:1 for disease prevention, it’s estimated that we are closer to 15-20:1 meaning that we’re getting far too many omega 6 essential fatty acids and too few omega 3s. Why is this a problem? Because omega 6s generally lead to inflammation while omega 3s tend to reduce inflammation which means you may be subject to a host of heart problems if you’re lacking omega 3 essential fatty acids.
- Cold water fish such as salmon
- Essential fatty acids supplements like fish oil and krill oil
- Omega 3 eggs
- Foods fortified with DHA
Essential Fatty Acids Supplements
While you can get omega 3 essential fatty acids from the foods listed above, it can be highly challenging to get enough on a weekly basis. If you’re eating oily cold water fish like salmon, you only need two 4oz servings per week to get the recommended EPA and DHA intake. However, if you’re eating non-oily white fish, you need nine 4oz servings per week. That puts you at risk of ingesting too much mercury or other contaminants.
Personally, I love salmon and could easily have two 4oz servings per week. However, my wife can’t stand the smell which means I don’t generally get to eat it at home. That’s why I’ve gone the essential fatty acids supplements route. I can get all the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids without inconveniencing my family. My go-to essential fatty acid supplement is krill oil.
What is Krill Oil?
Krill oil is made from krill, a small shrimp like crustacean that is eaten by whales, seals, and penguins, amongst other animals. Krill are abundant in omega 3 essential fatty acids as well as the antioxidant astaxanthin.
Krill Oil Benefits
Krill oil has a number of health benefits including:
- Reduces inflammation leading to a healthier heart
- Increases good cholesterol
- Decreases bad cholesterol
- Prevents blood clots and high blood pressure
- Decreases joint pain
- Relieves PMS
- Enhances lung function leading to longer, more intense exercise capacity
- Controls hunger leading to weight loss
Benefits of Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil
Fish oil offers many of the same benefits as krill oil. However, when you compare the two, I think krill oil is the clear choice. Here are some of the benefits of krill oil vs. fish oil:
- Good cholesterol rose 10 times more
- Bad cholesterol dropped 16 times more
- 47 times greater antioxidant power
- Astaxanthin (contained in krill oil) stimulates mood, memory, and clearer thinking. Some studies have shown this antioxidant increases the use of fat as an energy source and improves exercise endurance, both of which may be beneficial for weight loss.
- Phospholipids (contained in krill oil) filter out toxins
- 500% better absorption (lose 80% of listed DHA and EPA from regular fish oil)
- No fish burps, aftertaste or digestion problems
Consider Krill Oil Supplements
While I don’t ever think supplements are necessary, I would highly recommend omega 3 essential fatty acids supplements. The studies about how few omega 3 fatty acids we intake relative to omega 6s and the potential heart problems stemming from this deficiency are compelling enough to take action. Ideally, you’d eat cold water fish a couple times per week but for whatever reason, most people are unable or unwilling to do that. Personally, I’ve chosen to use krill oil supplements to get all the health benefits of fish oil along with the additional benefits of krill oil. Check with your doctor and consider taking a preemptive strike against heart disease and other health problems.