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Physicians and health gurus all over the world are recommending fish oil supplements. Why? Fish oil supplements are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which prevent the risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
The human body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, so it relies on external sources such as food. Most American diets have a poor, if any, percentage of omega-3 fatty acids. This is also a possible reason why most of the population has problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in several plants and particularly in marine life. Sardines have the largest percentage of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds and walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids but they don’t have the fatty acid that is needed by the body to fight against diseases.
The three types of fatty acids that make up omega-3 are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA are what the body needs in a higher amount than ALA.
There is a lot of debate on what kind of oil to use as a supplement. When shopping for an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, you have a lot of choices. If you’re a vegetarian, you can choose a plant based supplement. Other options include krill oil and fish oil supplements.
Let’s understand the differences piece by piece.
What is krill and what is krill oil?
Krill is a crustacean, like shrimp, that is widely used to make omega-3 supplements. It’s the main food of mantas and whale sharks.
Note that krill contains oils that are similar to fish oil, but they are not the same. Krill oil contains more EPA than fish oil. Most krill oil supplements also contain added phospholipids that are better absorbed by the body since cell walls are also made of phospholipids.
We now know that krill contains a lot of nutrition. It’s also more readily available than fish and in larger quantities too. Krill oil contains canthaxanthin, which is a powerful anti-oxidant. Antioxidants reverse cellular aging, help protect against illness and reduce the risk of cancer.
Krill oil proponents also mention that krill oil supplements don’t have the fishy aftertaste of fish oil supplements. However, most manufacturers now make fish oil supplements that completely dissolve only when they reach the small intestine, thus eliminating the fishy aftertaste.
For now, most countries have banned krill hunting, so krill oil may not be as readily available as fish oil.
What is fish oil?
Salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and herring are just some of the many fish that are a rich source of omega-3.
Fish oil supplements contain concentrated doses of omega-3 fatty acids, along with added vitamins and minerals.
There are numerous studies which highlight the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids. They are useful in reducing the risk of heart disease, fighting against depression, reducing cognitive decay, and much, much more.
What is the difference between the two?
For starters, fish oil and krill oil come from completely different sources. Because of this reason, they may have different proportions of fatty acids.
As mentioned earlier in the article, krill oil supplements contain phospholipids, while fish oil supplements may contain additional vitamins and minerals.
Choosing fish oil or krill oil
Not enough research has been conducted to demonstrate the difference between the two. Both contain the daily recommended dosage of omega-3 fatty acids, so which supplement you choose should not be a problem.
However, a few differences make fish oil supplements significantly better.
The effects of krill oil supplements haven’t been studied in pregnant women and it is recommended that pregnant women should avoid taking krill oil. On the other hand, fish oil supplements are recommended by some doctors to reduce the risks associated with some pregnancies such as miscarriages and early childbirth.
People with shellfish allergy cannot take krill oil supplements, but they can easily take fish oil supplements.
Some doctors prescribe fish oil supplements to increase post-surgery healing in the case of bypass and heart transplant surgery. However, it has been shown that krill oil can slow blood clotting and may increase the risk of bleeding after surgery.
Ultimately, which supplement you choose depends on your personal preference and current health situation.
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