Generic Name: Mega Krill oil
Brand Names: Berkley Jensen Extra Strength Mega Krill, Mega Red Omega 3 Krill Oil, Nature’s Own Mega Krill Oil 2000, OneLife Mega Krill , Smartsense Mega Krill, Wonder Mega Krill Oil, and others
What is MegaKrill?
MegaKrill is a form of krill oil that claims to be more potent or purer than regular krill oil. However, because supplements are unregulated, there is no guarantee that this holds true for all brands of MegaKrill.
Krill oil is extracted mainly from Antarctic krill, specifically a species called Euphausia superba. Krill are small shrimp-like crustaceans which represent an important dietary link in the global food chain, being the main staple of hundreds of different animals, including fish, birds, and whales. Harvesting of krill oil is not without controversy and studies have suggested Antarctic krill stocks have fallen by 80% since 1970, which is a serious cause for concern.
MegaKrill is a source of EPA and DHA omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, but at a different ratio than fish oil. Krill oil has a ratio of 2:1 EPA to DHA, whereas fish oil has a ratio of 1:1 EPA to DHA. EPA is more effective than DHA at reducing cellular inflammation, and the more EPA in the diet, the less arachidonic acid there is available to produce proinflammatory cytokines such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes.
Unlike omega-3’s found in fish oil which are bound to triglycerides, the omega-3’s in krill oil are bound to phospholipids, which reportedly improve absorption by 30 to 100%. Research has not yet determined if this conveys more health effects. However, more effective absorption does appear to reduce the incidence of side effects such as a fishy after taste or fishy burps, a common complaint with fish oils.
Krill oil also contains astaxanthin, a brightly colored carotenoid (a pigment that conveys color) that occurs naturally in algae, shrimp, lobster, crab, wild salmon, and krill. Astaxanthin provides an interface between water and fats and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties; although there have been few high-quality trials to test its benefits in people. Because it is so deeply colored, astaxanthin can make testing for contaminants or spoilage in krill oil difficult.
Take MegaKrill exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.
MegaKrill should not be used in patients with a fish or shrimp allergy, or probably any other type of seafood allergy.
People with coagulopathy or taking anticoagulants or other medications should notify their physician prior to taking dietary supplements, including MegaKrill.
Stop taking MegaKrill at least two weeks prior to any scheduled surgery or procedure.
Swallow the MegaKrill capsule whole. Do not puncture or open the capsule.
If you are taking MegaKrill to improve cardiovascular function, then it should be part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.
There may be other drugs that can interact with MegaKrill. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Stop using MegaKrill and get emergency medical help if you think you have used too much medicine, or if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Less serious side effects are more likely, and you may have none at all. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or is especially bothersome.
The manufacturers of MegaKrill report it contains lower levels of contaminants or toxins than fish such as marlin, tuna, or swordfish. However, MegaKrill may still contain methylmercury and other pollutants from seawater, such as organic pesticides, although levels are likely to be lower because krill are at a lower level in the food chain.
Before taking MegaKrill
Do not use marine oils like MegaKrill if you are allergic to fish, shrimp or any other type of seafood. Be sure to check the label on the MegaKrill package to look for other active or inactive ingredients that may cause an allergy. If you are not sure, ask your pharmacist.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist about using this medicine if you have:
- Liver disease
- A pancreatic disorder
- A blood clotting disorder or risk of stroke
- Upcoming surgery or a procedure that might increase your risk for bleeding
- An underactive thyroid
- or drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day.
It is not known whether MegaKrill will harm an unborn baby, although certain prescription omega-3 fatty acids (such as Lovaza) have a Pregnancy Rating C. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using MegaKrill. It is not known whether omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids pass into breast milk or could harm a nursing baby. Do not use MegaKrill without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old.
See also: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings (for more detail)
How should I take MegaKrill?
Currently, there is not enough evidence to determine an appropriate dose range for MegaKrill. Use MegaKrill exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Swallow the MegaKrill capsule whole. Do not puncture or open the capsule. MegaKrill may work best if taken with food, although food may delay absorption.
Store MegaKrill at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.
What Happens if I Miss a Dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What Happens if I Overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What Should I Avoid While Taking MegaKrill?
Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. MegaKrill will not be as effective in lowering your triglycerides if you do not follow the diet plan recommended by your doctor.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase triglycerides and may make your condition worse.
What are the Side Effects of MegaKrill?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to MegaKrill:
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using MegaKrill and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- Fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeats.
Less serious MegaKrill side effects may include:
- Bad breath
- Fishy aftertaste or belching in some patients (although this is generally less than with fish oil)
- Nausea or an upset stomach
- Loose stools.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What Other Drugs Affect MegaKrill?
Talk with your health provider before taking MegaKrill. MegaKrill may interact with the following medications:
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners) or medications that slow blood clotting (such as aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, heparin, warfarin): Krill oil can also slow blood clotting
- Diabetes medications for diabetes (such as insulin, glimepiride, glyburide): Krill oil may also lower blood sugar levels. Monitor blood sugar levels closely
- Orlistat: May decrease the absorption of Krill oil when taken together.
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with MegaKrill. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
How Effective is MegaKrill?
Few studies have investigated the effect of MegaKrill in humans, but animal studies have found some benefit for krill oil use in heart, liver, and kidney disease; inflammation; obesity; and brain function. How well animal studies extrapolate to humans is unknown.
Studies have found that supplements of krill oil are just as effective at raising blood levels of omega-3’s as fish oils are, and evidence shows omega-3s from fish-oil pills and fatty fish can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Krill oil has shown to reduce pain, stiffness, loss of function, and inflammation in people with arthritis as measured by a protein in the blood, called C-reactive protein, or CRP.
Krill oil supplements were more effective at reducing self-reported emotional symptoms, breast tenderness, and joint pain than fish oil capsules in women with PMS. However, the study included two authors who worked for a company that sold krill oil.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of MegaKrill for:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- or stroke.
Experts suggest that taking krill oil supplements is no more beneficial than eating twice-weekly, fatty, low-mercury fish—such as Alaskan salmon and sardines. MegaKrill is a substantially more expensive source of EPA and DHA than fish or fish oil.
Your pharmacist or physician can provide more information about MegaKrill.