Krill oil is oil from a tiny, shrimp-like animal. Baleen whales, mantas, and whale sharks eat primarily krill. In Norwegian, the word “krill” means “whale food.” People extract the oil from krill, place it in capsules, and use it for medicine. Some brand name krill oil products indicate that they use Antarctic krill. This usually refers to the species of krill called Euphausia superba.
How does it work?
Krill oil contains fatty acids similar to fish oil. These fats are thought to be beneficial fats that decrease swelling, lower cholesterol, and make blood platelets less sticky. When blood platelets are less sticky they are less likely to form clots.
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Aging skin. Early research suggests that taking capsules containing krill oil, zinc, vitamin D, sea buckthorn berry oil, cacao bean extract, hyaluronic acid, and red clover isoflavones 780 mg three times daily along with applying tazarotene cream 0.1% nightly for about 12 weeks improves wrinkles, moisture, and elasticity in aging skin compared to treatment with tazarotene cream alone. It is not clear if these benefits were due to krill oil or other ingredients in the supplement.
- High cholesterol. Developing research shows that taking 1-1.5 grams of a specific krill oil product daily reduces total cholesterol and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and increases “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in patients with high cholesterol. Higher doses of 2-3 grams daily also appear to significantly reduce levels of triglyceride, another type of blood fat.
- High triglycerides, a type of blood fat.Taking a specific krill oil product 0.25-2 grams twice daily for 12 weeks appears to lower triglyceride levels in people with high triglyceride levels. However, the change in triglyceride levels varies among patients. The supplement does not appear to improve total cholesterol, “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
- Osteoarthritis. Early research shows that taking 300 mg per day of a specific krill oil product reduces pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Early research shows that taking 2 grams per day of a specific krill oil product might reduce PMS symptoms. Also, taking a specific combination product containing krill oil, B vitamins, soy isoflavones, and rosemary extract daily for 3 months reduces self-reported PMS symptoms. The improvements appear to be greatest for women with more severe symptoms. However, it is unclear if these improvements were due to krill oil or other ingredients in the supplement.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research shows that taking 300 mg per day of a specific krill oil product reduces pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- High blood pressure.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of krill oil for these uses.