In addition to providing probably the most potent source of omega-3 fats (potent because of the phospholipid structure), krill provide another vital service to Mother Nature. According to an article in this weeks Science section of the New York Times, Krill agitate the various strata of the ocean, bringing rich, oxygen-laden water from below up to rejuvenate the oxygen-depleted surface layer.
The upper-most layer of the ocean receives the benefit of sunlight, and, consequently, is where reside the mass of plankton that, as plants, use the sun as their source of energy. This giant biomass of plankton consume the oxygen in this relatively thin upper layer and would ultimately die were there not a way to bring oxygen-rich water up from below.
Enter our friends the krill.
Krill consume plankton, from which they get their omega-3 fats. As the krill move up from below to feed on their plankton banquet, they bring with them oxygenated water.
As the scientist quoted in the Times article puts it

“It’s not as if the water is boiling,” Dr. Dower said. “It’s not like you’ve put it in a blender.” But because it occurs over a large area and the background level is so low, it’s a large addition of turbulence. “It may represent a previously unrecognized way to get a pulse of nutrients into the surface layer.”

“The novelty here,” Dr. Dower added, “is this is biology acting on the physics of the ocean, instead of the other way around.”

Please don’t write and ask me if I’m worried that consuming krill oil will lead to significant reductions in the agitation of the oceans layers and the depletion of oxygen from the surface layer, the consequent death of the plankton and a major blow to life on earth as we know it, because I don’t know. And at this time, given the size of the enormous mass of krill relative to the tiny amounts harvested for their oil, I’m not really worried about it.


  1. Isn’t it the other way around?
    I see two ways for oxygen to enter the oceans and both occur at surface level:
    1)By mixing with air (think air pumps in aquariums)
    2)As a by product of the biomass production by the plankton that uses CO2, water and energy from the sun
    Hi Mauro–
    You are right about the oxygen. I must have had my head up my you know what when I wrote that. It is other nutrients that the krill bring up from below.
    Thanks for correcting my error.

  2. Dear Dr. Mike,
    I am so glad you are posting about Krill oil again.
    This time I’m signing on as anonymous, because I’m going to discuss how Krill oil has helped me tremendously with severe PMS symptoms, and uh, I’m kinda shy going public with it.
    I first learned about krill oil from your blog. I researched it as much as I could on the Internet and was intrigued by studies I found about Krill oil and pms depression, because I get SEVERE pms depression, only during that time of month. I’m fine the rest of the month.
    I’ve been taking krill oil for about over a month and the results in such a short period of time have really been outstanding. Not only do I not cry uncontrollably anymore, but this month I did not get my pms depression. In fact, I’ve been in great spirits and as an added bonus, some moderate arthritis symptoms I had have all but vanished. The only thing I changed was adding krill oil to my supplements.
    Why don’t we hear more about this wonderful form of fish oil?
    Dr. Mike I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to krill oil. I take 1.5 grams a day (3 500 mg. soft gels), and I will take this wonderful “medicine” for the rest of my life.
    I get a great deal over, spending less than I do in the health food store.
    My question is, some brands smell more “fishy” than others. Is this a sign of spoilage? I’ve read in my research that krill in general is a “smelly” oil to begin with and not to worry. Should I? Is this a sign of spoilage or a natural occurrence?
    Thank you again for introducing folks to this wonderful form of fish oil. You have my biggest gratitude.
    Hi Anon–
    Thanks for the great story. I hope others can benefit from your experience.
    It’s true that krill is a little ‘smelly’ but it shouldn’t smell like bad fish. All krill oil comes from one source, Neptune Technologies, so it is basically all the same. The difference is in how suppliers store them. If the caplets have been stored properly they should be a deep red and have very little smell. If they haven’t been stored properly, the caplets get a little sticky from the oil oozing out and they start to smell more strongly. Some people mistakenly put their krill oil in the refrigerator, which ends up making the caplets ooze the oil.
    I’m glad that the krill oil has worked for you.

  3. Although we offer NKO, they are not the only producers. There is a company in Israel that has it available and there is at least one US company and a Japanese company working on the production of quality Krill Oil. The Israeli product is actually higher in phospholipid content.
    Hi Bill–
    Thanks for the heads up.  I’ll check it out.

  4. do u know what will happen if krill over-populates?
    Nope.  Most people are worrying about the krill population becoming under-populated. 

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