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Krill Oil Benefits for Vision - Better Than Fish Oil?

Submitted by dave on Mon, 04/23/2007 - 1:38pm

I have an interest in krill oil because it is high in certain carotenoids as well as supplying DHA and EPA. We know DHA and carotenoids are important for vision. However, I prefer not to take supplemental carotenoids in their common form. The following conclusion echoes my concern about taking any isolated carotenoids such as lutein.

"Although it is clear that a higher intake of fruit and vegetables can help prevent the morbidity and mortality associated with heart diseases, more information is needed to ascertain the association between the intake of single nutrients, such as carotenoids, and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Currently, the consumption of carotenoids in pharmaceutical forms for the treatment or prevention of heart diseases cannot be recommended [2]." I believe this statement applies to all health conditions, not just cardiovascular disease. I avoid any supplement with beta-carotene, lutein, or any other isolated carotenoids. However, there are carotenoid complex supplements that contain whole food sources of carotenoids. These supplements contain ingredients such as kale powder, spinach concentrate, tomato extract, etc.

My ultimate goal is to obtain sufficient carotenoids from normal foods and supplemental superfoods only. Some superfoods include spirulina, d. salina, greens powders, cod liver oil, ghee, etc.. Krill oil could be one of these superfoods too.

bioluminescence antarctic krill - watercolor from WikipediaI like the fact that krill oil also supplies DHA and EPA in addition to carotenoids. One study [1] stated, "At lower and equal doses, krill oil was significantly more effective than fish oil for the reduction of glucose, triglycerides, and LDL levels."

We know that DHA and fish oil are important for the eyes. DHA, together with vitamins E and B, has been found to improve both contrast sensitivity and visual field in glaucoma patients [3]. Increased dietary omega-3 essential fatty acids may also help intraocular fluid outflow resulting in a lower eye pressure for glaucoma patients (based on one study done with aging rats). Increased consumption of fish oil has also been found to be beneficial for age-related macular degeneration in several large studies. If krill oil is more effective for cardiovascular conditions, might it also be more effective than fish oil for vision?

Here is my current list of superfoods that are potentially good sources of carotenoids:

Alfalfa Juice Concentrate 
Antarctic krill
Barley Grass Powder
Broccoli Powder 
Brussels sprouts powder 
Cabbage powder 
Carrot Powder or carrot oil
Chlorella Powder 
D. salina algae
Ghee (from grass feed cows)
Haematococcus pluvialis algae
Kelp Powder 
Marigolds or marigold petal extract
Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
Palm fruit extract (Caromin)
Pumpkin Concentrate
Red Beet Powder 
Spinach concentrate
Spirulina (Hawaiian) 
Tomato concentrate
Wheat Grass Powder


1. Altern Med Rev. 2004 Dec;9(4):420-8. Bunea R, El Farrah K, Deutsch L. Department of Internal Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
To assess the effects of krill oil on blood lipids, specifically total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), a multi-center, three-month, randomized study was done followed by a three-month, controlled follow-up of patients treated with 1 gram and 1.5 g krill oil daily. Patients with high blood lipids levels able to maintain a healthy diet and with blood cholesterol levels between 194 and 348 mg per dL were eligible for enrollment in the trial. A sample size of 120 patients (30 patients per group) was randomly assigned to one of four groups. Group A received krill oil at a body mass index (BMI)-dependent daily dosage of 2-3 g daily. Patients in Group B were given 1-1.5 g krill oil daily, and Group C was given fish oil containing 180 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 120 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per gram of oil at a dose of 3 g daily. Group D was given a placebo containing microcrystalline cellulose. The krill oil used in this study was Neptune Krill Oil, provided by Neptune Technologies and Bioresources, Laval, Quebec, Canada. The results showed Krill oil 1-3 g per day to be effective in the reduction of glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and HDL, compared to both fish oil and placebo. It appears that krill oil is effective for the management of high lipid levels by reducing total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, and increasing HDL levels. At lower and equal doses, krill oil was significantly more effective than fish oil for the reduction of glucose, triglycerides, and LDL levels.

2. Voutilainen, Sari, Tarja Nurmi, Jaakko Mursu, and Tiina H Rissanen. “Carotenoids and cardiovascular health.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 83, no. 6 (June 2006): 1265-71.

3. Cellini, M, N Caramazza, P Mangiafico, G L Possati, and R Caramazza. “Fatty acid use in glaucomatous optic neuropathy treatment.” Acta ophthalmologica Scandinavica. Supplement, no. 227 (1998): 41-2.


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