Krill Oil Supplement Evaluation for Rheumatoid Arthritis

BioMed Central released an article in 2010 about musculoskeletal disorders and, in particular, Rheumatoid Arthritis. The research article discussed the experiment of controlled supplements of fish and krill oils in rodents. The results identified that krill oil should be studied further for patients, as they showed to have higher rates of benefits than fish oil. 

The research of Collogen-Induced Arthritis (CIA) into rodents with controlled krill and fish oils was conducted to find less harmful medicinal approaches to treating chronic diseases such as degenerative joint disease and rheumatoid arthritis in human patients. CIA and RA are similar in the sense that they have an autoimmune Th1 environment (2).

There are two main polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), n-6 and (n-3). The PUFA, (n-3), is present in fish oil. When administered to patients, the fish oil was proven to have some disease modifying effects in patients with RA (2). A main effect include reducing inflammation by incorporating eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The biochemists hypothesized that since the chemical make up of Krill oil is similar to standard fish oil, that the benefits would be greater for patients. In other words, less damage would occur in the joint from the lack of damaging synovial fluid.

Krill oil contains a high level of (n-3). However, unlike the triacylglycerol form of (n-3) in fish oil, Krill oil’s (n-3) 40% in a form of phospholipids, which are the primary structure of human cell membranes. Krill also contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant (2). The scientists wanted to study how the two different forms of (n-3) oils would differ in their levels of EPA correlated to the development of CIA.

There were three treatment groups, including a group of mice strictly given the CIA, mice given CIA and krill oil, and mice given CIA and fish oil. For the first two weeks, the mice acclimatized to the food and water (3). Twenty-four days prior to the CIA treatment, the mice were given oil supplements and their diet was changed in accordance to their group to maintain nutrient consistency in each of the groups. For example, the food was stored in vacuum bags so that the (n-3) PUFA would not oxidize. In edition, the food was modified to provide a realistic human level of EPA and DHA. The mice underwent CIA after 25 days of feeding.

The paws and knees of the mice were amputated and studied for a week. The scientists used blind scoring to access the extremity of the arthritis on a scale 1 to 4; with “intermediate” being between 1 and 2. After the scores were given, blood was drawn from the mice to compare the visual score with the statistics (3). The scores, in general were reduced with both of the oil supplement mice groups, however they have different reactions to inflammation (9). Astaxanthin is present in krill oil, something used to fight cardiovascular disease and is present in the krill oil (9).

The scientists found that the krill oil maintained a better body weight mean, whereas the other groups of mice had lower body weight means. This was a direct result of the development of severe arthritis. This was one reason scientists believed that the krill oil had more benefits than the fish oil (6). In a present study, krill oil was studied with humans as the subject and the severity of the RA decreased by 50% (8).  The scientists stated that the supplement should be further studied, as it’s benefits were different than fish oil, but of greater value (1).

For this reason, I feel that I would use the product along with good nutrition, exercise, and rest. I feel that it would help to naturally reduce inflammation. Anything that would decrease the chance of a flare up is worth taking, especially if there are no side effects (as the team states in page 2). I feel that the studies of the three groups of mice were incredibly well done. The scientists evaluated the outlying factors and studied them further for a better understanding of the product. They compared and contrasted. The krill oil is highly comparable to fish oil and is recommended by me!

Read about the Research Project here:

http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2474-11-136.pdf

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