Krill as a Food Supplement

Krill is a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are under development in the early 21st Century as human food, dietary supplements as oil capsules, livestock food, and pet food. Krill tastes salty with a somewhat stronger fish flavor than shrimp. In addition to its nutrient content, another important health benefit of krill is that it is low down on the food chain and eats algae as its food source, so krill is virtually free of pollutants and heavy metals!
Krill as Food Supplements

Small package, big kicks …

The ongoing “my-fat-is-better-than-your-fat” debate has many twists and turns. The latest is vilifying krill (WikiPedia) in lieu of plant-based materials, such as flax and others. An active, and well-orchestrated campaign, convinced us that we are depleting krill resources in the oceans, and endangering wildlife as a result.

Why Krill?

Krill might be tiny, but they comprise one of the largest bio-masses on our planet. If you were to weigh the population of any animal on earth – any fish, whale, insect, bird, rat, or even huumans – krill would still weigh the most. Present in all oceans, this crustacean holds a vital position in the marine food chain. Through millions of years of evolution, krill’s bio-active components and molecules have sustained nature’s diverse species in, and out, of the ocean. Because krill is a superior source of omega-3s, krill might be the answer to the growing awareness of, and demand for marine omega-3s for both pets and huumans.

Not only is krill the largest biomass in the world, but krill harvesting is one of the best regulated on the planet, using strict international precautionary catch limit regulations that are regularly reviewed to assure sustainability!

Besides the fact that krill are a thriving, highly sustainable food source, there are specific reasons why it is an optimal source of omega-3s for your pet ​1​.

  • Krill is very well-absorbed, so your pet only needs about a fifth the dose of regular fish oil to receive the same benefits;
  • Krill contains more EPA than fish oil;
  • Krill delivers its abundant EPA and DHA as phospholipids directly into your pet’s cells;
  • Krill provides natural antioxidant protection including vitamins A and E, plus astaxanthin and canthaxanthin;
  • Choline is another essential nutrient that pets require for optimal health. It is a natural component of krill. Choline is essential for a healthy liver and important for brain health;
  • Krill do not accumulate heavy metals.

The biggest advantage of krill omega-3s is the phospholipid form in which they are delivered.

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can be consumed in either the triglyceride form, typically found in traditional omega-3 sources, or in the phospholipid form delivered by krill. Phospholipid-bound omega-3s are more efficiently incorporated into the body’s cells, tissues, and organs. Another distinguishing benefit: omega-3 phospholipids are water soluble, making them gentle on pets’ stomachs and readily absorbed by their body.

Krill is available in several forms ​2​ for our pets, including frozen, various grades of ‘meal’, whole freeze-dried, flaked / ground freeze-dried and oil. Cats will often eat pieces of freeze-dried Krill as a nutritious treat.

What is the difference between krill and shrimp?

The main difference between krill and shrimp is that the krill is a shrimp-like crustacean, whose body is segmented into three: Cephalon, thorax, and abdomen, whereas the shrimp is a crustacean, whose body is segmented into two; cephalothorax and abdomen. Furthermore, krill is smaller than a shrimp. Krill and shrimp are two types of crustaceans with a tough exoskeleton. They are food sources for many animals including humans.

Should I food seafood to my dog?

Even if there was no ongoing debate about the benefits and healthiness of marine foods, the question remains: is it safe for a dog to eat fish, shrimp, or any other type of seafood? The short answer is that dogs can eat some types of seafood, but it all depends on the species, and the method of preparation. Unsurprisingly, dogs do best with fish such as sardines, pilchards and herring, whereas clams, shellfish, shrimps and other aquatic critters usually come with a set of warnings before serving.

Here are some general pointers as to what to look for in marine foods before you feed it to your fur kids:

  • Lifespan – always go for shorter-lived species of fish, such as sardines, pilchards or herring. In species with longer lifespans, such as tuna, mackerel, or sea bass, high levels of heavy metals and toxins accumulate over their lifetime.
  • Size – the same rule applies when it comes to size. Smaller fish have less mercury, while bigger specimens tend to accumulate it, as they eat massive quantities of other fish.
  • Bonesfish that are hard to clean of bones are a safety risk for dogs. Brittle bones can tear through your dog’s intestine wall and pose a choking hazard. Which is why we prefer sardines and pilchards, even fully grown, they are “immature” fish, and the bones do not harden.

Of course, even with seafood and fish that are safe for dogs, moderation is key. While your fur kids might benefit from an occasional meal, this type of food shouldn’t make up most of their diet.

Some pet parents, guardians and slaves refrain from giving fish to their dogs, whether because of the hassle or because they can’t find trusted sellers in their area. But, our pets still need essential fatty acids, and the easiest way to introduce it to their diet is supplementing their meals with a tablespoon or two of oils or powder rich in omega-3. Krill is a popular alternative to fish oil because it contains all the nutrients without the risk of toxins.

  • Stimulates the immunological system in pets
  • Provides exceptional cardiovascular support
  • Beneficial dietary supplement during pet pregnancy & lactating
  • Increase in newborn pet survival and healthy growth rates
  • Natural treatment of arthritis / joint conditions in pets ​3​
  • Improved skin and coat condition (through improved collagen production)
  • Improved appetite / intake / palatability (masks the taste of medication)
  • Maintains healthy blood lipid levels
  • Krill naturally improves chemioperception in pets
  • Decreased recovery time in pets when fed krill pre & post-operative
  • May naturally decrease hyperactivity, anxiety and minor aggression in pets
  • Overall revitalization & improved alertness
  • Krill naturally protects pets from UV rays
  • Natural treatment of pet nutritional disorders

Articles and Videos

There is much information and disinformation on this topic available across the net. Please use common sense when delving deeper into this topic.

What to Look for in a Krill Oil Supplement

References and Research

  1. 1.
    Köhler A, Sarkkinen E, Tapola N, Niskanen T, Bruheim I. Bioavailability of fatty acids from krill oil, krill meal and fish oil in healthy subjects–a randomized, single-dose, cross-over trial. Lipids Health Dis. 2015;14:19. doi:10.1186/s12944-015-0015-4
  2. 2.
    Burri L, Johnsen L. Krill products: an overview of animal studies. Nutrients. 2015;7(5):3300-3321. doi:10.3390/nu7053300
  3. 3.
    Calder PC. Marine omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: Effects, mechanisms and clinical relevance. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. April 2015:469-484. doi:10.1016/j.bbalip.2014.08.010

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