Yesterday I caught one of Dr. Oz’s segments about a source of omega 3′s that was even better than fish oil. I was immediately intrigued because as I’ve said before, omega 3′s are an essential part of every person’s diet!
They are “essential” because you must eat omega-3′s, your body does not produce them. Omega-3′s have crucial functions in the body, particularly helping to balance out the omega-6 inflammatory properties. Omega-3′s work as an anti-inflammatory, thus decreasing your risk for things like heart attack, stroke, and even certain cancers. Symptoms like depression, cardiovascular disease, fatigue, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, joint pain, and type II diabetes could be signaling that you need more omega-3′s in your diet.
Before getting to Dr. Oz’s segment, let me first explain that there are three types of omega-3 fatty acids; ALA, DHA, and EPA. EPA and DHA, found in marine life such as salmon, sardines, and halibut, are the most absorb-able forms. ALA is the plant based form of omega-3′s found in foods like walnuts, flax-seeds, soybeans, algae, and chia seeds. These are all excellent sources of omega-3′s for my vegetarian and vegans, they’re just not as well absorbed as the EPA and DHA forms.
Now to Dr. Oz…
Dr. Oz is saying that krill oil is an even better source of omega-3′s than fish oil. Dr. Oz states that the DHA and EPA from krill oil is cleaner and even more absorb-able than fish oil. Sounds great, but are you wondering what krill is?
Krill are tiny crustaceans, which look like mini shrimp, and are the main food source for marine life in the Antarctic Ocean. Whales, seals, penguins, squid, and fish eat krill and this is how they become good sources of omega-3′s. Krill are typically used as aquarium feed but in Japan they are eaten and called okiami. The oil from krill is also being extracted and used as a supplement for its omega-3 and antioxidant properties. Krill eat algae that produce an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which crosses the blood-brain barrier, potentially protecting the brain, central nervous system, and eyes from free radical damage.
Krill oil is also a more sustainable source of omega-3′s because it is extracted at the bottom of the food chain and is “located in one of the cleanest oceans due to low occurrence of commercial fishing. These two factors make for an omega-3 source that is virtually free of toxins, metals and PCBs.” (source)
“A 2007 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that 300mg daily supplementation of krill oil resulted in significant decreases in inflammation and arthritic symptoms in cardiac and arthritis patients. Other studies have found that krill oil works as effectively as omega-3′s from other sources, yet at a much lower dose. Furthermore, krill oil has been found to raise our good HDL cholesterol and lower our triglycerides…” (source)
Obviously, people with seafood allergies should steer clear of krill oil and those with bleeding disorders should consult their physician before taking. Side effects include diarrhea, loose stools, or indigestion.
“People taking blood thinners (anticoagulant or anti-platelet medication), such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, clopidogrel (Plavix), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) should only use krill oil under a physician’s supervision. Krill oil should also be used with caution by people taking herbs and supplements that are thought to increase the risk of bleeding, such as ginkgo biloba and garlic.” (source)
While I would highly recommend a krill oil supplement, it is wise to consult your physician or registered dietitian before you begin taking. I would also recommend no more than 1-3 grams per day and searching for Neptune Krill oil, which is what has been used in studies. (source)
Check out this site for a Krill oil supplement that I recently started taking!
Thanks for the heads up Dr. Oz!
QUESTION: How do you get your omega-3′s!?