NKO Krill Oil as an Alternative Omega-3 Supplement
by George Klabin
It has been clearly established by science that omega-3 essential fatty acids, in the form of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), as obtained from fish oil, are vitally important for good health. A new form of fish oil, which has only recently become available, is quickly establishing itself as an equal, if not finer source.
Krill oil is made from tiny shrimp-like crustaceans (Euphausia superba) harvested from the clean waters near Antarctica. Because Krill feed on plankton, a sea vegetable loaded with trace minerals and other beneficial substances, they are a very pure, non-contaminated source of nutrition. One Canadian company, Neptune, has discovered and patented a process to extract the oil of the krill in a form which retains all its nutrients in their natural state. This specific form of krill oil is referred to as NKO Krill Oil, from Longevity Science.
NKO Krill offers many benefits similar to that of pure fish oil supplements.
The EPA and DHA in NKO Krill are bonded to phospholipids (the primary structural component of cell membranes, or gatekeepers of the cells). Because NKO Krill's fatty acids are already integrated into the phospholipids, they are readily taken up into the cell membranes. The main phospholipid in krill is phosphatidylcholine, a rich source of the brain food, choline, and vital to proper liver function. Fish oil does not have this activity.
The phospholipids also contribute to NKO Krill Oil's remarkable stability, an effect enhanced by its unusual antioxidants, most of which are in the carotene family (related to, yet more powerful than beta-carotene). Foremost among these antioxidants is astaxanthin, which provides the pink pigment found in salmon and shrimp, and which readily crosses the blood brain barrier to both protect and "turn on" the brain. It is for this reason NKO Krill Oil should be taken with your morning meal. NKO Krill Oil also contains the very first bioflavonoid (as yet unnamed) to be found in an animal source. Together these antioxidants give it an astonishingly high reading on the ORAC scale (a measure of antioxidant capacity), registering at 378 vs. 8 for fish oil, 11 for Co-Q10, and 51 for astaxanthin alone. Astaxanthin also tested 300 times more powerful than vitamins C or E as an antioxidant.
Another important action of NKO Krill Oil is its unique ability to balance blood lipids (cholesterol). Look at the results of this recent controlled human study of 120 patients with elevated blood lipid levels.
A subgroup taking 3 g a day of fish oil was compared to subgroups receiving 1 to 3 g doses of NKO Krill Oil. After 90 days, every NKO Krill group showed a significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL, and Triglycerides, and a significant increase in beneficial HDL. One gram daily of krill oil lowered total cholesterol over 13% and LDL over 32%. Cholesterol levels continued to improve slightly on 3 of 4 measures when only half a gram (one softgel) a day was taken, following the first 90 days of 1 g. The positive results above are most likely due to the unique way that the EPA and DHA are bound as phospholipids, as well as the huge antioxidant activity.
The anti-inflammatory action of NKO Krill oil may be the "tail that wags the dog." Medicine has finally realized that the common underlying condition in most degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, colon cancer, arthritis, heart disease, even Alzheimer's, is long term, low-level inflammation. This condition, caused by the body's natural attempt to repair damaged cells, can be measured by testing for the level of C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Since the discovery of this test, scientists are looking for ways to reduce CRP and low-level inflammation. In a 90-patient study, where 45 took NKO Krill and 45 were on placebo, there was a 30% mean decrease in CRP (an indicator of inflammation) for the NKO group, while the placebo group had an elevation of 25% in the same period!
The argument can be made that the amount of EPA and DHA in 3 g of fish oil is considerably greater than the amount contained in a single 500 mg softgel of NKO Krill. However, the answer is that the form in which the Omega-3s are bound appears to be more important than the amount. Fish oil's fatty acids are found as triglycerides, whereas NKO Krill is found as phospholipids, as explained previously. Compared to triglycerides, phospholipids are known to have greater absorption and use by the body, as well as the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier into the brain.
The benefits of NKO Krill Fish Oil are attention-getting. Not only does it have proven bioavailability and uptake qualities, its rich antioxidant content and cholesterol-improving activities are formidable. And since it requires a far lower daily dosage at 1 gram vs. 3 grams of fish oil, the cost per dose of the two oils remains similar and its single-softgel-daily dosing makes NKO Krill Oil a convenient alternative.
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