Fish oils are made up of a mixture of different types of fats which are called fatty acids, including the well-known omega-3 forms which are known as “essential fatty acids”. They are referred to as “essential” because the body cannot make them and they must come from the diet. Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil, krill oil and certain plant and nut oils. Fish oil and krill oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA); some nuts (English walnuts), seeds (flaxseed), and vegetable oils (canola, soybean, flaxseed, linseed, olive) contain a different form of omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body.
Krill oil is extracted from Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, a zooplankton crustacean rich in phospholipids carrying long chain omega-3 PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids), mainly EPA and DHA. Krill oil also contains vitamin A, vitamin E and astaxanthin.
Krill oil has a unique composition being mostly made up of phospholipids rather than the triglycerides which are found in fish oils. The krill phospholipids are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants which is very different from the usual profile of fish oils. The association between phospholipids and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids seems to improve the absorption of these essential fatty acids, increasing bioavailability.
Research into omega-3 fatty acids have shown significant health benefits in a number of areas including heart and brain function, and the management of blood pressure and cholesterol. .
• EPA and DHA contribute to the normal function of the heart1
• DHA contributes to maintenance of normal brain function2
and normal vision2
• DHA and EPA contribute to the maintenance of normal blood pressure
• DHA and EPA or only DHA contribute to the maintenance of normal blood triglyceride levels
• ALA contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels
• DHA maternal intake contributes to the normal brain development of the foetus and breastfed infants3 1 The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of EPA and DHA
2 The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of DHA
3 In lactating women the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 200mg of DHA in addition to the recommended daily intake for omega-3 fatty acids for adults i.e. 250mg DHA and EPA