Is Krill Oil a Blood Thinner?
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Krill are tiny crustaceans, a bit like miniature shrimp, that live in the Antarctic ocean and are fed upon by large mammals like whales. Oil that is extracted from krill is high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, so it is processed into food supplements that boast a number of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health, lowering blood pressure, decreasing joint pain, and even boosting the mood of those who struggle with mental health conditions.
One of the main interests in krill oil is the blood thinning properties the supplement has. The two omega-3 fatty acids that are present in high levels in krill oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) produce a thinning effect on the blood. For most people, the small effect of this blood thinning is a real benefit of taking krill oil, and a good reason why these types of omega-3 fatty acids are important in our diets.
What are the benefits of this blood-thinning effect?
It is the presence of EPA and DHA in krill oil that thin the blood slightly and help to reduce the risk of unwanted blood clots in the body. This effect has also been noted to reduce the symptoms of high blood pressure in a number of individuals, and may decrease the need to take heart or blood pressure medication. Krill oil is a great natural alternative to reduce blood pressure.
Another great benefit of taking krill oil supplements regularly is that these EPA and DHA omega-3 oils can reduce the risk of individuals going on to get heart disease. In combination with a healthy diet, consuming food supplements of krill oil can improve heart health because of the blood-thinning effect that these oils have on the body, not least because krill oil also has the advantage of lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels inside the body.
Is it safe to take krill oil, if it thins the blood?
The short answer is yes – with a few exceptions. If you are taking blood thinning medication, such as aspirin or other medicines that prevent blood clotting, it’s important to check with your doctor before taking a supplement of krill oil so that your blood isn’t thinned excessively. This is also true if you have a blood or bleeding disorder, where your blood may already have trouble clotting. In this case it is vital that you check with your doctor before taking a krill oil supplement, as they may tell you to avoid it.
Another caveat to the safety of krill oil, given its blood thinning effects, is if you are about to have surgery. It’s important to avoid excess bleeding when undergoing surgery, so if you know that you have surgery planned, do not take a supplement of krill oil for up to six weeks beforehand, to be on the safe side.
A good reason to take krill oil supplements
In healthy individuals, taking a krill oil supplement is generally a good idea because of the blood-thinning properties that come with the EPA and DHA omega-3 oils so highly present in krill oil. It is generally recommended that adults consume around 10oz of fish per week in order to consume the correct amount of these omega-3 oils that are only found naturally in fish products. Many adults find that they can’t or don’t want to eat this much fish in their diet, or want to ensure that they are definitely getting enough of these nutrients, so regularly taking a krill oil supplement is a great way to keep your heart and blood healthy and in good condition.