No one really wants to get old, and the omega-3s, phospholipids and antioxidants in krill oil can help slow down the inevitable.
Everything you’re reading on this web portal is probably related to your desire to stave off the inevitable health conditions that make their appearance sooner or later as you age.
How inflammation causes aging
And the root of most degenerative diseases of aging is inflammation. Asthma. Arthritis. High cholesterol. Diabetes. Alzheimer’s. Cancer. The mechanism underlying all these and more is inflammation.
“Inflammation is a normal process that can go dreadfully wrong. It is supposed to protect us from infections and promote healing when we are injured,” explains Jack Challem in his book, The Inflammation Syndrome (John Wiley and Sons, 2003). “Chronic inflammation does just the opposite: it breaks down our bodies and makes us more susceptible to disease.”
It turns out from preliminary studies that krill has successfully been shown to reduce inflammation in patients with cardiovascular disease and arthritis. In one study, researchers took 90 patients and gave half of them krill and the other half a dummy pill. One of the ways doctors measure how much inflammation is in your body is by measuring C-reactive protein levels. After seven days of giving 45 patients 300 milligrams per day of krill oil, they measured a 19.3 percent decline in C-reactive protein levels. The other 45 patients who took the placebo? A 15.7 percent increase. After 14 and 30 days, the krill oil group had further decreases in C-reactive protein by 29.7 percent and 30.0 percent, respectively, while those of the placebo group increased to 32.1 percent after 14 days and fell to 25.1 percent after 30 days.1
Antioxidants fight aging
Another accepted way of combating aging is by filling yourself with antioxidants – those compounds that keep your body from rusting, so to speak. According to one report (using one method to assess antioxidant status), krill oil is 300 times more potent an antioxidant than vitamin A or E, thanks to its astaxanthin and omega-3 content.
A signature study that helped launch the omega-3 fish-oil world was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. It started in the mid-1980s and tracked 20,551 male doctors for 17 years. Researchers found those with the highest blood levels of DHA and EPA – the notable omega-3s found in fish and krill oil – had an incredible 90 percent less chance of dying from a sudden heart attack.2
These findings have been repeated time and again since then, leading the Food and Drug Administration to issue a health claim for the omega-3s DHA and EPA in helping support cardiovascular health. It’s notable that the study began long before fish-oil supplements became as trendy as they are today (cod-liver oil has been around for a long time), so the difference in omega-3 levels was attributed solely to eating actual fish. Consumption of adequate omega-3 fatty acids from sources such as krill oil might contribute to fewer sudden deaths from heart attack.
Omega-3s slow down the aging process
Another great concern of the geriatric set is Alzheimer’s disease. The famous Framingham Heart Study followed two-thirds of the adult population of the town of Framingham, MA – 5,209 people in all – starting in 1948. The primary study ended in 2005 (though researchers will have access for some time to the blood specimens). One of the findings was that only 180 milligrams per day of DHA, which equals 2.7 servings of fish per week, was associated with a 50 percent reduction in dementia.3
In another recent study, omega-3s, in general – abundant in krill oil – were shown to slow the rate by which cells age. Our cells’ chromosomes are capped with structures called telomeres, which shorten with each division of the cells. Research shows that the longer the telomeres, the longer the life of the cell. The study named omega-3s (in this case from fish oil) "… as a potentially protective factor that may slow down telomere shortening."
Then there is the study by German scientists on cell lifespan in active and sedentary people, both young and middle aged. They discovered that the telomeres in active middle-aged athletes looked much younger than the sedentary control subjects of the same age.
Sarcopenia, or muscle wasting, is a problem for the elderly, causing falls, fractures and more. A small Washington University School of Medicine study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that healthy adults with an average age of 71 who were given 4 grams of EPA/DHA daily for eight weeks showed an increased rate of muscle protein synthesis, and increased supply of insulin and amino acids. The researchers said “Although the exact mechanisms by which omega-3 fatty acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis during hyperinsulinemia-hyperaminoacidemia remain to be resolved, our study provides compelling evidence of an interaction of omega-3 fatty acids and protein metabolism in human muscle and suggest that dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation could potentially provide a safe, simple, and low-cost intervention to combat sarcopenia.”
There are many other conditions that relate to the compounds housed in krill oil. It remains to be seen if direct research on krill oil will validate its tremendous potential, but WellWise.org will continue to update findings as research comes in. Results from another study are expected to be released in mid-summer, 2010.
Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. J Am Coll Nutr 2007;26(1):39-48.
Albert CM, et al. Blood levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids and the risk of sudden death. New England Journal of Medicine 2002;346:1113-8.
Johnson EJ, Schaefer EJ. Potential role of dietary n-3 fatty acids in the prevention of dementia and macular degeneration. Am J Clin Nutr 2006 Jun;83(6 Suppl):1494S-1948S.]
Disclaimer: The information provided in this krill oil forum is a public service of WellWise.org, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended to constitute personal medical advice.