Krill Bill: The Hidden Toll of Krill Oil Supplements

There is no better antidote to human hubris than a bathroom scale. For all that we’ve achieved, our species remains a minuscule part of Nature, and unlikely to be missed if we had anywhere else to go to. To put things in perspective, consider the krill – a tiny crustacean that does nothing but feed on plankton. Just one single subspecies of krill would be sufficient to displace the entire mass of humanity – twice.

Fortunately, our race has taken prompt remedial action by harvesting them for food. Their processed remains are now found in animal feed as a form of “protein bulk”, which is effectively a seafood equivalent of the “mystery” in “mystery meat”. As fisheries go they aren’t making huge profits from these sales, but the enterprising plough on nonetheless for a very good reason. It turns out that these little creatures secrete buckets of pure gold.

The benefits of krill oil are now emblazoned throughout health stores; salespeople on commission are tattooing them on their foreheads for good measure. There is at least one promising ingredient in them: a form of anti-oxidant called astaxanthin. Research on its potential health benefits is ongoing, but at least there’s no question of food safety. Most national regulatory bodies already classify it as a legal food colouring additive.

This colourful antioxidant is now poised to steal the fish-oil thunder, by virtue of its relative purity and superior benefits. Of course, it’s quite difficult to pinpoint exactly where the superiority lies, since fish oils contain a larger variety of anti-oxidants, all of which come with proven benefits. (It must be noted that uric acid, the most abundant form of anti-oxidant in the human body, is responsible for gout when it is too readily available.) Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, is also conspicuously absent in krill oils. This is because the oils are derived from deep-sea fish that have been feeding on omega-3 rich microalgae all its life, whereas individual krills have too small a body mass to store anything within its flesh.

The tattooed salespeople would probably remind you at this point that this also happens to be the reason krill oils are free from heavy metal poisons, since they can’t accumulate anything properly. However, any decent manufacturer would put their marine oil products through a rigorous distillation process. With fish oil, you have a purified condensate of fatty acid; with krill oil, you have a purified mixture of colour additives.

So if you don’t want to lose out on the potential benefits of krill oil, there’s one cost-effective solution you can take. Simply buy fish oils impregnated with astaxanthin, and you will have hedged your bets without accidentally upsetting the balance in our ecology, or the balance in your bank account. Do not under any circumstances neglect your omega-3 intake, since it’s now conclusively associated with a wide range of cardiovascular and degenerative disorders.

Besides, when we’re dealing with dietary supplements, the devil you know beats the devil you don’t. Who knows what those shrimp-like creatures are up to anyway? There are so many of them.

Why You Should Only Use Organic Fish Oil Supplements

Organic fruit; organic vegetables; organic meat and dairy, and now I’m just about to add organic fish oil to the list. Surely all fish oil should be organic anyway? After all, most manufacturers make it clear that the oil they use in their supplements comes from only a handful of different species, and most if not all of them live natural lives in our oceans.

Some people might argue that our oceans are too contaminated for anything in them to be organic, but that would be akin to splitting hairs. So, rather than trying to split hairs, let’s all agree with the idea that all ocean caught fish are organic at the time they are caught. Building on this, let’s assume that all the oil harvested from the fish is also organic at the time of harvesting. So, when does the oil change from being organic to being non-organic?

Manufacturing Process & Additives

Virtually all manufacturers actually buy the oil they use in their supplements rather than having to harvest it themselves. As such, they don’t have much control of this process, but they can exercise some caution when choosing their suppliers and by seeking guarantees that no additives are added.

The most common form of oil extraction involves heating the fish up to 95 degrees Celsius in order to separate the oil, water and protein. Once this has been done, the fish go through a press and then a centrifuge is used in order to separate the oil from the sludge which has been created. Up until this point, the oil that has been extracted should still be organic. The only exception would be if oil is being extracted from non-organically farmed fish.

At this stage suppliers have a decision to make. Raw fish oil spoils relatively quickly so they either need to ship it out to their customers as quickly as possible or they have add preservatives. If they don’t, it spoils and will only be fit for use in animal feed, thereby fetching a much lower price.

In most instances, suppliers will ship the oil to the actual manufacturers while it’s still in its organic state, providing that the manufacturer is dealing with a reputable supplier. Unfortunately, it is usually the manufacturers who add preservatives and other additives in order to extend the shelf life of their products; to mask unpleasant odors and etc. For this reason, my advice to people would be that they should avoid buying their supplements from “mass” manufacturers. It’s far better to buy your supplements from companies that only produce enough to meet current customer demands.

Hexane in Fish Oil Supplements

Quite a lot of the supplements you get today contain oil that has essentially been produced from waste and poor quality fish. Suppliers who operate in this manner frequently rely on chemicals in a bid to improve the quality of the oil they are using, and also to maximize yields. One relatively common additive being used is called hexane.

Hexane is a solvent which is made from crude oil and it is classified as a toxic substance. You’ll find plenty of it in rubber cement and in gasoline. Manufacturers use this additive because of its solvent properties in order to try and extract as much oil as they can from poor quality fish.

Some suppliers argue that the hexane is later removed from the oil during further processing, but since the supplement industry remains largely unregulated, there is nobody to ensure that all traces of hexane have in fact been removed. The reality of the matter is, the minute the hexane is added, the oil becomes contaminated.

Be Responsible – Pet Ownership & Pet Care Tips For Cats and Dogs

Responsible pet ownership requires a lot of dependability, knowledge, and consideration; unfortunately, some new pet owners take this responsibility very lightly.

So, before you take home your new dog or cat, consider the following pet care tips to ensure that you are providing your new friend with the right amount of care and just the right amount of love! Your new companion is relying on you to provide it.

Dogs

Whether your new pet is just a puppy or an adult dog, you have a challenge ahead of you to practice responsible pet ownership and awareness. Your home is new territory, and you are now your pet’s primary caregiver. Both kindness and a firm yet reassuring approach to your new dog will go a long way. Ensure that he knows you’re ready to give him the love he deserves by creating a canine-friendly atmosphere and integrating these pet care tips into his routine.

  • Crate training and housebreaking: Two very important stages in your dog’s life. Crate training, should you choose this method, gives your pet a quiet, safe place to retreat to at bedtime or whenever you leave the house. If you want to prevent chewing or scratching, crate training might be necessary in the beginning. Housebreaking is just a matter of routine – think of a word you want your dog to associate with going to the bathroom outside and use it repeatedly. Take your dog outside multiple times, normally after meals or water breaks, and he’ll soon make the connection.
  • Flea and tick prevention: Without preventative measures and an ounce of responsible pet ownership, your home could become infested or your dog could become extremely ill. Most vets can provide you with products that eliminate fleas and ticks on your dog. Available orally or in a liquid form placed on the back just once a month, your dog will be able to repel fleas, ticks, and parasites regularly.
  • Shots and preventative vaccines: Dogs suffer from many terrible diseases that are often fatal if not treated or prevented at the outset. Vaccination is one of the most important pet care tips that can be provided – and one that should be heeded. Rabies, distemper, heartworms, and parvovirus are some of the worst viruses that can afflict your dog – your vet will discuss which shots your pet receives at each yearly check-up to prevent these agonizing diseases.
  • Spaying or neutering: Similar to yearly vaccinations, highlighting the need for spaying or neutering play into vital pet care tips. Gone unmonitored, two dogs can produce over 4,000 offspring in seven years. Sadly, a large number of these dogs will be euthanized or left to fend for themselves on the street. Spaying or neutering, a major part of responsible pet ownership, ensures your pet will be healthier in the long run, and you will have prevented the birth of more unwanted puppies.
  • Obedience training: Your dog desires structure. Teaching him the basic commands yourself or enrolling him in an obedience or training course gives him a level of organization in his life. Furthermore, teaching him certain commands also ensures that he will be a well-behaved, functioning member of your family within your home. Purchase a book offering pet behavior and pet care tips, such as My Smart Puppy by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson or Dog Talk by John Ross. These two books will give you a better idea of responsible pet ownership and how to approach certain situations with your new dog.

Cats

Unlike dogs, cats are much more independent, needing perhaps less of your attention. Cats, however, rely on you for the same necessities that a dog expects. If problematic behaviors pop up, contact your local animal shelter or animal welfare organization for more pet care tips. Most likely, literature on both dog and cat care will be provided upon request.

In any case, to help your cat be a happier, better-behaved feline, consider the following more important pet care tips:

  • A clean litter box: If your cat lives inside, you will need to clean and/or empty his litter box at least twice a day. Every week or so, you’ll also need to dump the litter out entirely and wash his box with hot, soapy water to reduce the spread of bacterial growth. This task can be easy to forget, but cats are clean animals. For a cat, this is one of the more important pet care tips – ensuring his area is always clean. The location of his box is important – keep it out of high-traffic areas and away from his food. To help him learn to use his litter box, show him where it is four to five times a day and encourage him to use it, praising him when he uses it or even just digs.
  • Flea and tick prevention: Fleas and ticks can make your new pet very sick and can introduce parasites into the bloodstream. Practice responsible pet ownership! Prevent this from occurring by purchasing flea and tick preventative products from your vet. Flea powder and a quick sweep of the vacuum through your house is also an excellent guard against fleas or ticks. However, if you do opt to buy products online or at the store, be cautious and practice responsible pet ownership by checking the labels and warnings if any – some preventative measures are harmful to cats.
  • Spaying or neutering: As important for cats as it is for dogs! Responsible pet ownership dictates that you have your cat spayed or neutered when s/he is between six and eight weeks old if possible. Not only will you help prevent pet “overpopulation,” but you will reduce the potential for other cancers and diseases that may occur if your cat is not surgically altered.
  • Shots and preventative vaccines: Cats are susceptible to a variety of fatal and painful diseases. Without vaccinations and a nod to responsible pet ownership, they will likely die or have medical issues throughout their lives. Much like the recommendation for dogs, vaccination for cats is one of the most important pet care tips. Rabies, FeLV (Feline Leukemia), FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), and distemper are some of the worst – however, with a regular check-up and shots from your vet and just a bit of responsible pet ownership, you have nothing to worry about!

Be a Knowledgeable Pet Owner

You now have a big responsibility on your hands. Your new cat or dog ultimately relies on you to provide him with the necessities of life, and it is your job as a responsible, knowledgeable pet owner to ensure that he has a happy, healthy life by incorporating a routine into his life and following the pet care tips that have been outlined above.

Do your research and talk to other pet owners to get other helpful pet care tips! Your pet has basic needs that must be fulfilled by you. Of course, he needs a ready supply of cool drinking water, healthy dog or cat food, shade or shelter, and grooming on a regular basis, but he also expects you to create a loving home and warm environment and to keep him healthy and happy.

With just a little awareness of what to expect coupled with responsible pet ownership, you’ll be ready to give your new companion lots of love and a happy home!