Krill oil is extracted from krill. Krill are tiny bioluminescent (light emitting, like a fire fly) crustacean organisms resembling a small lobster. They are about 9 to 70 mm long and living in the oceans of Antarctica and North Pacific. There are more than 85 species of krill worldwide; the abundant ones are the Antarctic krill known as Euphausia superba and North Pacific krill called Euphausia pacifica.
Don’t be deceived by their size, for krill form the largest animal biomass of our planet, about 500 million tons of them are roaming the North Pacific alone at any given time and about 110,000 tons of them are caught for consumption annually.
As krill form a critical element of marine food chain between planktons and higher fish forms, the “Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources” diligently controls krill fishing to prevent its extinction.
The krill oil patent is held by a Canadian Company called Neptune Technologies, an advantage in that almost all of the world’s krill oil is produced by it and distributed to the supplement companies for sale. So wherever we get it from, the quality is bound to be comparable.
Krill oil is usually extracted by cooking the raw material and then pressing to separate the oil from the other tissues. Subsequently the oil is refined by using centrifuges and polishers. This is sometimes done onboard the fishing vessel itself. Sometimes, the krill catch is frozen, transported to the onshore krill oil extraction facility. There using the pressing method or solvent extraction, krill oil is obtained. Recently, Tharos Limited, a Chilean company based in Santiago, has come out with a novel solvent free extraction method which leaves no residue in the final product with better yield and quality for which an international patent has been filed.
The main components of krill oil are:
The advantage of krill oil is that the omega 3 fatty acids in it are conjugated with phospholipids, which are a natural component of our cell membranes, allowing easy entry of krill oil into our cells to exert their beneficial effects.
The krill oil healthy chemical cocktail:
The astaxanthine present in krill oil can pass through our blood brain barrier and can reach the brain nerve cells unlike many other anti oxidants which cannot pass through the blood brain barrier. So consuming krill oil is bound to protect the brain and eyes from free radical oxidative damage.
Because krill oil is very rich in anti oxidants, its shelf life is very long. It stays without decaying for up to 4 years in refrigeration and 2 years without it. And as it contains omega 3 fatty acids conjugated with phospholipids, absorption occurs very easily without any digestive disturbances or fishy burping.
Krill oil is better avoided in persons with sea food allergy. Intake of krill oil decreases the capacity of the blood to clot. So it is better to avoid krill oil at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery.
Similarly, krill oil should ideally be taken under medical supervision in persons already consuming blood thinning medicines like Aspirin, Clopidogrel and Heparin and NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs; e.g. Ibuprofen, Diclofenac sodium). As always, consult your preferred medical professional.