Krill Bill: The Hidden Toll of Krill Oil Supplements

There is no better antidote to human hubris than a bathroom scale. For all that we’ve achieved, our species remains a minuscule part of Nature, and unlikely to be missed if we had anywhere else to go to. To put things in perspective, consider the krill – a tiny crustacean that does nothing but feed on plankton. Just one single subspecies of krill would be sufficient to displace the entire mass of humanity – twice.

Fortunately, our race has taken prompt remedial action by harvesting them for food. Their processed remains are now found in animal feed as a form of “protein bulk”, which is effectively a seafood equivalent of the “mystery” in “mystery meat”. As fisheries go they aren’t making huge profits from these sales, but the enterprising plough on nonetheless for a very good reason. It turns out that these little creatures secrete buckets of pure gold.

The benefits of krill oil are now emblazoned throughout health stores; salespeople on commission are tattooing them on their foreheads for good measure. There is at least one promising ingredient in them: a form of anti-oxidant called astaxanthin. Research on its potential health benefits is ongoing, but at least there’s no question of food safety. Most national regulatory bodies already classify it as a legal food colouring additive.

This colourful antioxidant is now poised to steal the fish-oil thunder, by virtue of its relative purity and superior benefits. Of course, it’s quite difficult to pinpoint exactly where the superiority lies, since fish oils contain a larger variety of anti-oxidants, all of which come with proven benefits. (It must be noted that uric acid, the most abundant form of anti-oxidant in the human body, is responsible for gout when it is too readily available.) Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, is also conspicuously absent in krill oils. This is because the oils are derived from deep-sea fish that have been feeding on omega-3 rich microalgae all its life, whereas individual krills have too small a body mass to store anything within its flesh.

The tattooed salespeople would probably remind you at this point that this also happens to be the reason krill oils are free from heavy metal poisons, since they can’t accumulate anything properly. However, any decent manufacturer would put their marine oil products through a rigorous distillation process. With fish oil, you have a purified condensate of fatty acid; with krill oil, you have a purified mixture of colour additives.

So if you don’t want to lose out on the potential benefits of krill oil, there’s one cost-effective solution you can take. Simply buy fish oils impregnated with astaxanthin, and you will have hedged your bets without accidentally upsetting the balance in our ecology, or the balance in your bank account. Do not under any circumstances neglect your omega-3 intake, since it’s now conclusively associated with a wide range of cardiovascular and degenerative disorders.

Besides, when we’re dealing with dietary supplements, the devil you know beats the devil you don’t. Who knows what those shrimp-like creatures are up to anyway? There are so many of them.

Why You Should Only Use Organic Fish Oil Supplements

Organic fruit; organic vegetables; organic meat and dairy, and now I’m just about to add organic fish oil to the list. Surely all fish oil should be organic anyway? After all, most manufacturers make it clear that the oil they use in their supplements comes from only a handful of different species, and most if not all of them live natural lives in our oceans.

Some people might argue that our oceans are too contaminated for anything in them to be organic, but that would be akin to splitting hairs. So, rather than trying to split hairs, let’s all agree with the idea that all ocean caught fish are organic at the time they are caught. Building on this, let’s assume that all the oil harvested from the fish is also organic at the time of harvesting. So, when does the oil change from being organic to being non-organic?

Manufacturing Process & Additives

Virtually all manufacturers actually buy the oil they use in their supplements rather than having to harvest it themselves. As such, they don’t have much control of this process, but they can exercise some caution when choosing their suppliers and by seeking guarantees that no additives are added.

The most common form of oil extraction involves heating the fish up to 95 degrees Celsius in order to separate the oil, water and protein. Once this has been done, the fish go through a press and then a centrifuge is used in order to separate the oil from the sludge which has been created. Up until this point, the oil that has been extracted should still be organic. The only exception would be if oil is being extracted from non-organically farmed fish.

At this stage suppliers have a decision to make. Raw fish oil spoils relatively quickly so they either need to ship it out to their customers as quickly as possible or they have add preservatives. If they don’t, it spoils and will only be fit for use in animal feed, thereby fetching a much lower price.

In most instances, suppliers will ship the oil to the actual manufacturers while it’s still in its organic state, providing that the manufacturer is dealing with a reputable supplier. Unfortunately, it is usually the manufacturers who add preservatives and other additives in order to extend the shelf life of their products; to mask unpleasant odors and etc. For this reason, my advice to people would be that they should avoid buying their supplements from “mass” manufacturers. It’s far better to buy your supplements from companies that only produce enough to meet current customer demands.

Hexane in Fish Oil Supplements

Quite a lot of the supplements you get today contain oil that has essentially been produced from waste and poor quality fish. Suppliers who operate in this manner frequently rely on chemicals in a bid to improve the quality of the oil they are using, and also to maximize yields. One relatively common additive being used is called hexane.

Hexane is a solvent which is made from crude oil and it is classified as a toxic substance. You’ll find plenty of it in rubber cement and in gasoline. Manufacturers use this additive because of its solvent properties in order to try and extract as much oil as they can from poor quality fish.

Some suppliers argue that the hexane is later removed from the oil during further processing, but since the supplement industry remains largely unregulated, there is nobody to ensure that all traces of hexane have in fact been removed. The reality of the matter is, the minute the hexane is added, the oil becomes contaminated.

The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Natural Pet Supplements

When it comes to natural pet supplements, everyone has their own opinion. Some say they are very essential for dogs, some say they are not, some say they only give short term results, and some say they give long term results. So, naturally, a lot of dog owners are confused. So, here is an attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about pet supplements.

What are pet natural supplements?
They are dietary supplements which can be helpful for your dog. Homeopathic veterinarians believe that natural herbs resemble many of the foods dogs would eat in the wild. There is a growing body of clinical support for this approach.

What do they contain?
Natural pet supplements, as the name clearly suggests, contain natural substances which have therapeutic effects and are essential for your dog’s health.

What do they do?
For dogs that respond, they have the potential to improve your dog’s immune system, strengthen its vital organs and improve their functioning, increase its disease resistance capacity, cleanse its body, neutralize the free radicals that damage its body, keep blood sugar and blood pressure under control, and prevent a number of health problems. In short – they help your dog live a long, healthy life.

Are they safe?
Yes, they are. High quality natural pet supplements usually contain substances that are approved by the FDA and so they are perfectly safe for your dog. The only thing you need to look for is that the product meets the guidelines set by the DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health Education Act).

But the market is filled with such supplements. How do I choose the right one?
It is a very good question. As you know, if you want the best results, you should choose the best product. When it comes to pet natural supplements, the quality of the product is directly proportional to the quality of its ingredients. So, you should look for a product that contains natural substances like Astragalus membranaceous (Huang Qi), Viscum album (mistletoe), Echinacea purpurea, Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng), Sylibum marianus (milk thistle), and Uncaria tormentosa (cat’s claw). A number of clinical studies have confirmed that these substances are highly potent and completely safe to use.

Should I make any changes to my dog’s diet?
It depends on what kind of diet your dog is on. As long as you are using a premium food that is AAFCO certified and the label says “nutritional adequacy was validated by animal feeding tests based on protocols from the American Association of Feed Control Officials.” Also, you should make sure your dog drinks plenty of clean water and urinates properly. Home made foods may not do as good a job of providing a dog with the nutrients needed, unless prepared under the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist.

How do I give these supplements to my dog?
Most of these natural pet supplements come in the form of capsules. Depending on your dog’s preference, you can either give these capsules directly or mix them with dog food. Since they do not have a repugnant odor or taste, they can be easily mixed with food and given to your dog.

Are these supplements meant for short-term use or long term use?
Without a doubt, they are meant for long-term use. Depending on your pet’s size, age, and health, you should give an appropriate dose of these pet natural supplements every day without fail. This will help your dog stay young, active, and healthy for a long time.

Are these supplements costly?
No, they are not. A month’s supply of these dietary supplements will only cost around $40. Considering their benefits, it can be worth the price for dogs that respond to their use.

Should I consult my vet before giving these natural pet supplements to my dog?
Yes, you should. Your vet is the person who knows your dog’s health condition better than anyone else. So, you should consult him before giving any dietary supplement to your dog. This way, he will be able to monitor the results over a period of time and advise accordingly.