We take fish oil for our brain, right? Well what if I were to tell you that it may be as important for our gut flora and gastrointestinal tract?
Research is having a profound effect on our knowledge of how the gut flora works. I’m going to share with you some of the most recent insights while taking a deep dive into what fish oil you need to be taking.
This Seems Fishy
I know, it may seem weird that fish oil promotes gut health. Most of us see it as a brain food. Omega 3 fatty acids have long been touted as one of the most powerful foods for your brain.
I mean, heck, your brain is made up of fats. So, getting the proper amounts of DHA and EPA long chain fatty acids should take major precedence in your diet. Yet, it’s not the only reason to be loading up on Omega 3’s.
The gut needs these fatty acids as well according to research. Actually this has been in the “know” of research and science since the early thousands. In 2001 Clinical Nutrition published a study proving it.
In the research they revealed that leaky gut or gut wall permeability was greatly effected by EPA and ALA long chain fatty acids. Specifically, that EPA effects the tight junction bonds in your gut (1).
These are the bonds that are important. Without these bonds being healthy your food leaks into your gut and wreaks all sorts of havoc on your body.
Fish Oil and Your Gut Lining
In a more recent study in 2012 this scenario was recreated. Not only did they find that fish oil effected the gut lining but it had a massive positive impact.
In a study in the American Society for Nutrition they found that long chain fatty acids such as those found in fish oil actually enhance intestinal integrity (2). This is pretty amazing when you consider the importance of the gut lining.
There have also been studies that show E. Coli being more prevalent in lab animals that were not fed fish oil (3). Meaning, it is a strong possibility that fish oil holds the bad bacteria at bay while promoting good bacterial growth.
Alright, so we’ve established the importance of fish and fish oil. So, now what is the best oil to take? What’s going to be the healthiest. Let’s get to it!
Fish Are Dangerous?
Most seafood is highly contaminated with Mercury, toxins and other heavy metals. Sadly, most of the seas and oceans have high concentrations of Benzene, PCB’s, Lead, Mercury, etc. These toxins bio-accumulate in the largest of the fish.
So, as the smaller fish are eaten by the bigger fish again and again we see an accumulation of these toxins. It grows and grows until we reach the top of the food chain. The bigger the fish the higher the concentration. Pretty simply math.
This is one of the many reasons why I cannot advocate you relying on seafood as your main source for EPA and DHA. With that, to get the best fish around would put you in the poor house faster than you can say the word go.
If you’re going to get seafood you want to be eating that which is sustain-ably caught in less polluted waters like the northeastern coast of the US or Alaska. This can get expensive and would simply never supplement your need for EPA and DHA.
Krill Oil vs Fish Oil, Which Is Better?
So, we’ve established why it’s wildly, insanely important for you to have EPA and DHA. This is the crossroads that most people get mixed up in.
With all of the above said, which is better? If you were to choose between Krill and Fish Oil why would you choose one or the other? There are a few variables and I believe it to be important to give them due diligence.
Sustainability For Both.
You will hear a lot of slander around this topic. Many people will look at you with a fiery passion in their eyes as they vehemently accuse you of stealing whales’ food. That you’re killing free willy for your own gain.
This could not be farther from the actual truth. Let’s talk about the logic here. There are simply NOT enough fish on the planet to provide every man, woman and child with the essential fatty acids they need. It’s a statistical fact. All in all, there are a limited number of fish that would fit the bill of strong Omega 3 fatty acid producers with low toxin levels.
On the other hand Krill is the absolute largest concentration of any species on the planet. There is nothing larger on the earth than the population of Krill in the oceans. This may seem crazy but it’s truth.
ON TOP OF THAT, the harvesting of Krill is strongly regulated by the WWF and other organizations. Only a few percentage points of the krill population is allowed to be harvested each year. Meaning, it’s one of the most regulated foods on the earth.
So, the rhetoric around us stealing whale food is crazy. The organizations that have set out to preserve the earth are masterminding the entire operation and watching it closely. That seems to me to be pretty whale friendly.
More bang for your buck? Krill Oil vs Fish Oil.
There’s a little known fact about Krill that I think every human being should be aware of. Krill has it’s EPA and DHA in a Phospholipid form. I know what you’re thinking, a phospho…who? What did you call me?
Well, this simply means that Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Krill oil are absorbed by your body more easily than that of Fish Oil. What does this come down to? What are the figures you might ask? Why is this important?
First off, have you ever had fish oil burps? Don’t you hate that? Well, with Krill you won’t have that issue at all. Because of Krill being so easily absorb-able by your body it goes directly into your blood stream, and tissues before it has the chance to enter your digestive tract!
Secondly, with Krill you absorb so much more of it. You need less of it to get the same effects than you would for Fish Oil. You would need only 1 gram of Krill Oil to have the same benefits that you would experience from 4-5 grams of Fish Oil! Now, if that’s not enough to know which is better, I don’t know what is!
Thirdly, and lastly, because of the phospholipids you are able to absorb Krill oil so much more easily into areas of the body where it’s needed. The soft tissues of your body and your brain will take the Omega 3 Fatty Acids from Krill readily and without resistance in comparison to its fish oil cousin!
What do flamingos have to do with this?
Why are Flamingos pink? Well, it’s not because of the sun. It’s because of a specific antioxidant called Astaxanthin. Again, I’m not calling you a name or dismissing your sneeze. This is an extremely potent antioxidant that these animals consume on a day to day basis. SO, it causes them to turn pink.
What does it have to do with this article? Well, not much but I thought it was a cool fact. Just kidding. Astaxanthin is the last piece to the puzzle here. We discussed Omega Fatty Acids above in depth. However, we didn’t discuss how prone they are to rancidity.
All Omega Fatty Acids oxidate or are attacked by oxygen easily. As this oxidation happens it causes the oils that contain the Omega 3 fatty acids to go rancid. This rancidity causes the oil to be less effective.
What’s the answer? Astaxanthin! Isn’t that awesome. Essentially, Krill oil has a built in antioxidant (which means to protect from oxidation) to keep it from spoiling! There are not many fish oils that will contain this unique gifting. It’s one of the many reasons Krill is so special.
Krill Wins By A Landslide
As you can tell, I’m biased. I mean, if you dig a little bit under the surface you’ll quickly find that Krill is much more powerful, sustainable and better for you than regular fish oil.
WHAT YOU CAN DO IN LIGHT OF THIS RESEARCH
When you are ready to take back control over your digestive health:
- Join The IBS Platform and meet others worldwide who want to take control of their digestive health and get their lives back. This community is a free science based Facebook group where others are committed to finding the answers to solve IBS-D, IBS-C, IBD, Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis. To Join the group, CLICK HERE.
- Create a Strategy: This week we are offering a chance for you to get clarity on your individual struggles with your digestion and form a strategy unique to your symptoms. For IBS-D, Click HERE For IBS-C, Click HERE