Friday, December 9, 2011

If you knew the benefits of krill oil, you would take it, too!


Two of the best ways to improve your overall health is to increase your intake of antioxidants and omega-3 oils. Antioxidants are your body's way to neutralize free radicals, those harmful metabolic byproducts that damage cells and tissues throughout your body.

Scientific evidence has repeatedly demonstrated that antioxidants are key in the promotion of heart health, memory support and immune system support. Antioxidants also appear to play a role in helping to slow your signs of aging.

Although many foods contain antioxidants, today's poor-quality diets are nearly always insufficient in the full range of these beneficial free radical scavengers. That's why it's important to increase your antioxidant intake — through natural foods or quality supplement — as a valuable way to optimize your health.

This brings us to the main reason why krill oil (which contains omega-3 fatty acids) is becoming popular as a nutritional supplement. It contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin. The algae that krill eat produces the bright red pigment (astaxanthin) that gives krill and other crustaceans such as lobster and shrimp their reddish-pink color. 

Unlike many other antioxidants, astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it could theoretically protect the eye, brain and central nervous system from free radical damage.

People use krill oil for the same reasons they use fish oil, flax oil or other omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike fish oil, krill oil doesn't cause fishy burps or an aftertaste, a common side effect of fish oil. Also, krill oil contains higher amounts of astaxanthin than fish oil.
                   
So… just what are krill anyway?

Krill are small shrimp or prawn-like creatures that feed the world's most mammoth animals — the great whales. Toothless great whales gulp down huge quantities of krill to provide the energy they need to fuel their massive bulk.

A blue whale eats up to 8,000 pounds of krill each day during feeding season. These highly intelligent great whales aren't the only animals that depend on krill for their nutritional needs. So do seals, penguins, sea birds, squid and fish.

The hardy krill harvested from harsh Antarctic waters are so important they are considered a "keystone species", an organism upon which many Antarctic predators depend. These semi-translucent crustaceans congregate in dense masses or swarms that can turn the ocean's surface pink or red.

Together with plankton, krill make up the largest biomass on earth... one of the most easily renewable food resources available, an excellent nutritional source from an environmental perspective.

Unlike fish oils, pure krill oil carries omega-3s in the form of phospholipids -- liposomes or little packages that deliver the fatty acids directly to your body's cells.

Scientific evidence to date has shown that the safest and most effective carriers of EPA and DHA (the good fats found in omega-3 oils) are these phospholipids. They are the building blocks for your cell membranes, regulating cellular transport by functioning as "gate-keepers." In this role, they protect cell membranes from free radical attack.

Unfortunately, standard fish oils (and inferior krill oil brands) lack this phospholipid complex. Instead they contain omega-3 fatty acids in the less-beneficial form of free triglycerides.

So be sure to do your research when purchasing krill oil supplements. Find out what works best for you. As for me, I've chosen the TwinLab brand of Krill Essentials Omega-3 Cardio Krill Oil in softgel form. You can find out more and purchase this at Popeye's supplements store and SupplementsCanada.com.

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