January 4

Krill oil update

10  comments

A few months ago I posted on the benefits of krill oil as an anti inflammatory agent. (links here and here).
One of the problems MD and I encountered using krill oil from one supplier was that the capsules seemed to leak and got stuck together when we kept them in the refrigerator. When I asked the supplier of the krill oil we had, he replied that the phospholipid portion of the krill oil was causing the problem and that phospholipid should never be refrigerated. I’m not a lipid chemist, but somehow that just didn’t ring true with me. I figured that whatever it was it had to be a function of the krill oil itself because all krill oil comes from one source: Neptune Technologies.
Turns out that that is not necessarily the case.
We contacted the scientific people at Neptune Technologies and asked them the question. Their answer:

It’s possible to keep the softgels in the refrigerator at 4 degrees Celsius but due to the humidity, they might get stickier especially since we don’t recommend the use of desiccants in the bottles. Also, you might see a difference in the look of the oil in the softgel because the phospholipids will have a tendency of separating from the omega3’s which would change the aspect and look of the oil. You might notice white dots, or other strange things happening. It doesn’t mean that the softgel is not good anymore; it only means that the phospholipids started separating from the omega3’s. Finally, keeping them in the refrigerator should not make the smell worse; it should actually reduce the fishy smell.

So, the problem is the humidity, which I guess is higher inside a refrigerator and seeps through the porous plastic bottle and affects the softgels. We’ve tried the ones we have on our website in the fridge and they don’t get nearly so sticky. I know they originated from the same place–Neptune Technologies–as the ones we used before, so it couldn’t have been the softgels themselves, it had to have been that the plastic bottle from the other supplier was more porous.
I’m going to put some in a glass bottle and try it in the refrigerator to see what happens. I’ll report as soon as I have the data in hand.
Until then, rest easy knowing that your krill oil is okay even if it the softgels get a little sticky.
I can continue to report that my golf game is painless and I haven’t used an NSAID since I started the krill oil/fish oil/circumen regiment.


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  1. I keep my salmon and cod liver oil in the freezer. Is this ok? I use Carlson’s.
    Hi Neal–
    Shouldn’t be a problem.
    MRE

  2. After reading your recent comments about fish oil not being able to raise the cell membrane unsaturated index, I wondered if you believed that fish oil and other omega-3 fats were worthless and perhaps unable to moderate the linoleic acid cascade, or normalize heartbeats, but your ending sentence answered my question.
    Hi athelstan–
    Yep, they are pretty much worthless to raise the unsaturation index, as if you’d want to.  But, they do moderate the various inflammatory cascades, increase lipolysis, and play a number of roles in various metabolic processes.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  3. I keep my Krill oil capsules in the freezer in a glass jar and have no problems with stickness, etc.
    Porter
    Hi Porter–
    Thanks for the info.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  4. Up here in the far north I am very concerned with getting enough Vitamin D to make it thru the winter–all six to eight months of it. Cod liver oil has been a part of our strategy, especially since my husband has been diagnosed with metastasized colon cancer (3 years ago; his most recent scan is completely clear). Many CLO these days have removed the vitamins A and D completely. Does the krill oil contain these vitamins? If not, do you have a source for CLO that includes vitamins A and D?
    Btw, I went against the doctor’s suggestioned diet (have you seen what they want cancer patients to eat?!) and put my husband on a strict low carb diet, no processed foods, lots of eggs and meat and bone broth. He had only one round of chemo so far, and very little nausea. His weight has been stable throughout. This is good, since he has never been overweight. Fingers crossed.
    Marilyn
    Hi Marilyn–
    I wouldn’t worry about getting vitamin D from krill oil or CLO when it is so readily available in supplement form.  Make sure you get vitamin D3–that’s the only kind to take.  Take at least 1000 units per day.  I generally take 2000-3000 units per day when I travel to the North and get little sun.
    Best–
    MRE 

  5. Coming back to safer ground! – I recall skipping through a paper last year which talked about the benefits of an omega 3 index which might actually be more accurate in indicating the risk of CHD (and strokes?) than LDL (well it wouldn’t be hard!). I have the pre publication pdf if you don’t have access;
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardiores.2006.08.019
    In brief Von Schacky and Harris propose the “omega-3 index” – defined as the percentage of EPA plus DHA in red blood cell membranes, relative to all other fatty acids.
    Using data from the scientific literature, they claim that an omega-3 index value of eight per cent or above is associated with a 90 per cent reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death, compared to a value of four per cent or less.
    Could this be more useful than the unsaturated index and perhaps indicate the value and actual impact of supplementation?
    Cheers,
    Malcolm
    Hi Malcolm–
    Much safer ground indeed.
    I read the article, and basically we’re talking about two different things in discussing red blood cell EPA/DHA content and the mitochondrial unsaturation index.  EPA/DHA do indeed prevent sudden cardiac death.  No one is absolutely sure how, but it probably has to do with arrhythmia prevention, at least that would be my bet.  I think the Omega-3 index would be a valuable diagnostic tool.  I would hope that my index would be above 8% because of the krill oil and fish oil I take daily.
    But, red blood cell membrane content of EPA/DHA is a different animal than the unsaturation index of mitochondrial membranes.  What were concerned about with the mitochondrial membranes is free radical damage, which is more likely if the unsaturation index his high.  If the mitochondrial membrane sustains enough damage, then the mitochondria don’t work as well, and ultimately will not provide enough energy for proper function of the cell.  Red blood cells work a little differently.  They have a finite life and get replaced regularly.  And they pass through the spleen where any damaged ones get plucked out.
    Consuming a few grams of EPA/DHA because of the differential in its allocation will increase red blood cell membrane content and increase the level s in cardiac cells without much influencing the overall mitochondrial membrane content and significantly increasing the unsaturation index.  At least that’s how I would call it based on the reading I have done.
    Best–
    MRE 

  6. A note for Marilyn: see if your library (or Amazon resellers) has A Soothing Broth by Pat Willard. Lots of old fashioned broths, custards, tonics, etc. from days gone past, when the ill were cared for at home (some funny recipes, too, not meant to be taken seriously, like the one for nymphomania). I think many of these recipes would be good for folks on cancer treatments, as well as ordinary tummy bugs & assorted aches, though some may seem strange at first (like scraping a steak to make a broth, etc.) and a few have hard-to-come-by ingredients. But I have put this book to good use the rare times one of us is under the weather.
    Cheers, Anna
    Duly passed along.

  7. My two cents worth…
    I use a form of AK (applied kinesiology) in my office (many scoff at this but the proof is in the pudding). I have tested a lot of EFA’s and krill has not usually tested very good for me. What has tested very good for me (and my patients) is the Nordic Naturals ProEPA. I love that stuff. But I take an extra vitamin E, the Unique E is the best I have ever used. I was talking to a friend in the supplement industry the other day and was commenting on increased need for Vit E when taking EFA’s (this varies obviously from brand and type ie: krill and salmon having astaxanthin and other intrinsic antioxidants). He commented that when they have wanted to induce a vit E deficiency in the past for the purpose of study, they would feed the participants polyunsaturated oils. Hmmmm, wonder how many of us are running to Sams or Costco and wolfing down handfuls of fish oils in hope of eternal life and are loading up on lipid peroxides?! Also I have noticed when people experience digestive distress from fish oils, often there is some gall bladder stress or they just may have a bad product. Thats the majority, there could be other reasons. Adding a decent digestive enzyme with lipase or bile salts or both seems to help this in both.  Here’s a link for those who would like to read a review by Vitamin E experts on that ridiculous study a few years back saying it might be dangerous.
    Hi Robert–

    Thanks for reporting your experience.
    Best–
    MRE 
    REC

  8. I’m so glad to see you talking about the benefits of omega-3 oils for inflammation. I’ve been taking fish oil, borage oil, and vitamin E for 4 months. I have a frustratingly mysterious rheumatic problem that causes joint pain and fatigue, and I am not on anything for it yet because my doctor is unable to figure out exactly what it is. It has improved so much over the past 4 months that I feel like I have my life back. My mom has rheumatoid arthritis and it has also allowed her to cut back on her medication.
    Interestingly I have noticed that my symptoms worsen significantly if I miss a day or two of the pills, even though it took several weeks in the beginning to see the initial improvement. Have you ever noticed this?
    I will definitely try krill oil soon and see if there’s any additional benefit for me.
    Hi Raina–
    Give the krill oil a try to see how it works.  As with the other stuff it takes a couple of weeks to see major differences.
    One other recommendation I might make is that if you’re following a low-carb diet, you might want to cut back on the borage oil a little.  When there is no insulin stimulation the GLA in borage oil is sometimes driven down an inflammatory pathway that ends up causing inflammation instead of preventing it.  If you’re on a regular, i.e. higher carb diet, it probably doesn’t matter as much.
    Keep me posted.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  9. I just received my first bottle of Krill Oil. The capsules have a fishy odor, and I can’t determine from what I am reading online if that is okay or not. It seems from your post where you show the Netune company says “it should actually reduce the fishy smell,” that maybe some brands are and this doesn’t mean it is bad.
    Hi LMR–
    Krill oil has a more fishy odor than does fresh fish oil.  I wouldn’t worry about it.
    Best–
    MRE 

  10. I watch my diet and recently took “krill oil”. After one week I experienced a deep sharp pain in the ball of my left foot. No redness or swelling. The pain moved to the top of my left foot and ankle. I stopped taking the “krill oil”. The pain subsided but still lingers after 3 weeks. Could the “krill oil” be the cause of this?
    I don’t have a clue as to how the krill oil could be the cause of it. The only way to know for sure is to wait until the pain completely subsides, then try the krill oil again. Some of the most frustrating dilemmas in medicine come from coincidental situations such as this. For example, let’s say a patient is about to get appendicitis, but has no symptoms yet. The patient comes to the doctor for treatment for a sore throat. The doctor gives the patient amoxicillin, then one day later the patient develops appendicitis. As a doctor you will have real trouble trying to convince that patient that the amoxicillin didn’t cause the appendicitis.
    Cheers–
    MRE

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