Ever since coming out with our original Neptune Krill Oil (NKO) capsules 6 years ago, the product has enjoyed great popularity. Besides the high quality assurance provided by the NKO Trademark, and the Friends of the Sea biological sustainability certification the company possesses, the two most notable areas of benefit for krill oil are as a an exceptional antioxidant and free radical scavenger due largely to its astaxanthin content...and its anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. All of these nutrients are naturally packaged in krill oil's phospholipid matrix, yielding a highly absorbable and bioavailable natural delivery system which penetrates your cells and tissues, while causing no gastrointestinal discomfort or unwanted fish burps. (You can think of it as a natural liposomal delivery system, maximizing absorption.)
We have discussed these benefits in past articles:
Yet in our ongoing efforts to provide additional benefits in less capsules, Optimum Health Vitamins has optimized our original krill oil by adding more astaxanthin to eliminate the need for a separate supplement...and we offer it, for now, to our customers with no increase in price.
The additional astaxanthin in our Optimized Neptune Krill Oil is derived from Haematococcus pluvialis. This marine microalgae produces the astaxanthin, a brilliant red, fat-soluble carotenoid, which is then eaten by krill giving the oil its intense red colour. Yet, be clear when you look at the capsule, because of the high concentration of the astaxanthin, it appears black. With 2.8mg of astaxanthin per 2 capsule serving, (4.2mg in 3 caps), the absorption is, once again, optimized by the phospholipid base.
Krill oil's diverse array of research findings indicate that it can be helpful for PMS and dysmenorrhea, (pain associated with cramping and menstruation, etc.) 
In a study using NKO, the original research paper states the following:
"Data analysis showed a significant reduction of the number of analgesics used for dysmenorrhea within the NKO group (comparing baseline vs. 45- vs. 90- day visit). The between-groups analysis illustrated that women taking NKO consumed significantly fewer analgesics during the 10- day treatment period than women receiving omega-3 fish oil (p <0.03). CONCLUSION: Neptune Krill Oil can significantly reduce dysmenorrhea and the emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and is shown to be significantly more effective for the complete management of premenstrual symptoms compared to omega-3 fish oil." (Altern Med Rev 2003;8(2)-171-179)
 - see pdf
Krill oil has also been shown useful for helping to improve high cholesterol and dyslipidemia , chronic inflammation and arthritis/ decreasing C-Reactive Protein , to have a positive effect on preserving brain function, improving processing ability, and overall maintaining central nervous system integrity. [4,5]
More specifically, astaxanthin is anti-inflammatory in its own right, and has also been shown to be useful for preserving eye health and function. [6,7, 14] Further, though its antioxidant potential is vast, the benefits of astaxanthin definitely do not end with it's abilities to fight oxidative and free-radical stress. It is also a potent Nrf2 activator, which may go a long way to explain why its benefits are so numerous. [8,9]
We have discussed Nrf2 activators in past articles.
Other antioxidants can be valuable, but the Nrf2 pathway activates your genes to produce your own endogenous antioxidants like Superoxide Dismutase, which are exponentially more powerful in terms of the number of free-radicals they neutralize...(meaning billions instead of ten or one!) In total over 400 beneficial genetic changes are turned on by the Nrf2-activated antioxidant response element. This includes elevated production of hemoglobin for oxygen transport [10,11], better efficiency within the mitochondria which produces your energy [12,13], dramatic anti-inflammatory effects , and clearance of acidic wastes, to name just a few.
So, if you've wondered why we changed our original Neptune Krill Oil, it was simply to give you more astaxanthin, as I consider it to be one of, if not the most important compound contributing to krill oils long list of health benefits. In our polluted, acidic world where are bodies are constantly under attack from inflammation and oxidation, and fighting to detoxify, supplements like our Optimized Neptune Krill Oil can be a welcome addition.
Until next time,
1.) Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the management of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea.
2.) Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia.
3.) Evaluation of the Effect of Neptune Krill Oil on Chronic Inflammation and Arthritic Symptoms
4.) Effects of krill oil containing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in phospholipid form on human brain function: a randomized controlled trial in healthy elderly volunteers
5.) Neuroprotective Properties of the Marine Carotenoid Astaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Perspectives for the Natural Combination of Both in Krill Oil
6.) Eye and Central Nervous System Protection by Astaxanthin
7.) White Paper: Astaxanthin for Eye Health
8.) Astaxanthin Activates Nuclear Factor Erythroid-Related Factor 2 and the Antioxidant Responsive Element (Nrf2-ARE) Pathway in the Brain after Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in Rats and Attenuates Early Brain Injury
Mar Drugs. 2014 Dec; 12(12): 6125–6141.
9.) Description and summary of Nrf2 pathway
10.) Novel Hematopoietic Target Genes in the NRF2-Mediated Transcriptional Pathway
11.) Induction of human fetal hemoglobin via the NRF2 antioxidant response signaling pathway
12.) The emerging role of Nrf2 in mitochondrial function
13.) The Nrf2/ARE Pathway: A Promising Target to Counteract Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Parkinson's Disease
14.) Recent Studies Further Demonstrate Astaxanthin’s Potential as a Safe and Effective Anti-Inflammatory
15.) Alt Med Review monograph on krill oil
16.) Krill oil: evidence of a new source of polyunsaturated fatty acids with high bioavailability