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Effect of Krill Oil on Osteoarthritis
Oil made from krill has come on the market as an alternative to fish oil. Like fish oil, krill oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Krill also contains omega-6 fatty acids, an antioxidant in the carotenoid family called astaxanthin, and substances called phospholipids.
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Research Evidence on Krill Oil
A badly designed human study hints that krill oil might be helpful as well.184
How to Use Krill Oil
A typical recommended dose of krill oil is 1-3 g daily.
Many grains, fruits, vegetables, sea vegetables, and vegetable oils contain significant amounts of essential fatty acids, but krill oil is an especially rich source.
Carotenoids are also found in many foods, especially yellow/orange and dark green fruits and vegetables. They are not essential nutrients (except insofar as some can be converted to vitamin A), but they might offer some health benefits.
Phospholipids are utilized in the body for numerous purposes, but they are not essential nutrients.
Based on its known constituents, krill oil would be expected to have little to no toxicity. Side effects seen in studies are limited to occasional digestive distress and allergic reactions. The only known potential concerns relate to possible blood-thinning effects: Fish oil is known to decrease blood coagulation, and in one case report it increased the effect of the blood-thinning medication warfarin (Coumadin). 1 People who are at risk of bleeding complications for any reason should consult a physician before taking krill oil. Maximum safe doses in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver disease have not been established.
- Buckley MS, Goff AD, Knapp WE. Fish oil interaction with warfarin. Ann Pharmacother. 38(1):50-2.
- Buckley MS, Goff AD, Knapp WE, et al. Fish oil interaction with warfarin. Ann Pharmacother. 2004;38:50-52.
- Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effect of neptune krill oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26:39-48.
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