Krill oil: What is it, what are the health benefits and should you be using it?

Despite being sold as a health supplement, it may not be great for the environment. We found out everything you need to know.

Last updated: 30 March 2018 - 12.22pm

Krill oil is sold as a health supplement in many high street health shops.

Recently though, it’s hit the headlines as Greenpeace has declared it’s bad for the environment.

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We found out everything you need to know.

What is it?

Krill oil comes from Antarctic krill – small crustaceans found in the Southern Ocean.

As well as being used in human consumption for krill oil, krill are eaten by whales, penguins, seals, squid and fish.

What are the health benefits?

Krill is a rich source of protein and omega-3.

The omega-3 found in krill oil is easier to absorb than that in fish oil.

The krill used for krill oil are found in the Southern Ocean which has cleaner waters, limiting their exposure to toxins.

It’s also high in astaxanthin which helps rid the body of free radicals.

Is it bad for the environment?

A new report by Greenpeace found that intensive krill fishing took place in areas that are currently under consideration for protection and close to feeding grounds for whales and penguins, raising concerns that fishing krill for human consumption is taking an essential food source away from wildlife.

The report also expressed concerns for the potential of fuel spills from trawlers in pristine waters.

Frida Bengtsson, of Greenpeace’s Protect the Antarctic campaign, said: “Climate change is impacting on krill numbers and Antarctic wildlife shouldn’t have to be directly competing for food with trawlers just so these companies can sell health pills on the other side of the world.

“If the krill industry wants to show it’s a responsible player, then it should be voluntarily getting out of any area which is being proposed as an ocean sanctuary, and should instead be backing the protection of these huge swathes of the Antarctic.”

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