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Krill oil phospholipid omega-3 for osteoarthritis and joint health?

Joint health

9 min. read


Yes! Krill oil has proven benefits to help reduce symptoms of joint pain & discomfort among arthritis sufferers.

A new groundbreaking study concludes that krill oil improves knee pain, stiffness, and physical function in adults between 40 to 65 years old with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis (OA). Those findings, in conjunction with other research, is a good sign for the more than 500 million people globally living with arthritis.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disorder causing joint pain, commonly knee pain, that affects approximately 30% of individuals aged 40 and over (1). As the leading cause of disability in the U.S., arthritis costs the public health system $303 billion annually.


Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wear down over time. In healthy joints, cartilage covers the end of each bone and provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion, acting as a cushion between the bones. In OA, this cartilage breaks down gradually over time resulting in joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, swelling, and problems with overall joint mobility.


The most common attribute in patients suffering from joint pain is inflammation and this is the main feature targeted by many treatments trying to alleviate joint pain.


Read more:  Ultra-processed food is killing us and how krill oil can help with lowering levels of  inflammation in the body


Non-surgical relief of joint pain caused by inflammation typically involves use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 


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Krill oil phospholipids of omega-3 and choline in inflammation

Oil extracted from the krill species Euphausia superba, a small crustacean living in large swarms in the Southern ocean, is rich in the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids are mostly bound in phospholipids of which the main type is phosphatidylcholine, resulting in a significant content of the nutrient choline in krill oil.


The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have an important role in both modulating and shortening inflammatory reactions in osteoarthritis and also the pain associated with them (2,3,4).


Increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids and substituting the omega-6 fatty acids in cell membranes with omega-3s, will contribute to a better inflammatory environment, beneficial for joint health.


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Read more: what are omega-3s and what are their health benefits


Breakthrough study demonstrates positive effects of krill oil on osteoarthritis and joint health

A new randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study led by Dr. Welma Stonehouse from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), in conjunction with an Australian research team, investigated the effects of krill oil on adults suffering from mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis and knee pain (5).


The study concluded that Superba BOOST™ krill oil resulted in improvements in knee pain, stiffness, and physical function in adults with mild to moderate Knee Osteoarthritis (OA).


Moreover, the study found that participants with the greatest level of inflammation at baseline experienced greater improvements in knee pain. The science study is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one of the top tier scientific journals in nutrition. 


For this study, Aker BioMarine, CSIRO and Swisse took home this year’s Nutrition Research Project prize at the 2022 Nutra Ingredients Asia Award:

Winner NI - Signature Banner


Why krill oil phospholipids for joint health?

Krill oil is unique in that it delivers a natural combination of essential nutrients and leads to better uptake and absorption of omega-3s in the body due to its phospholipid advantage.


Read more: What are phospholipids and why should you care?


Krill oil is a natural source of choline, which is beneficial for muscle function and health. Healthy muscles are vital for supporting and protecting the knee joint. Additionally, krill oil has an added boost via the naturally occurring antioxidant astaxanthin.


Read more: What is choline and what are the health benefits


These two key nutrients (omega-3s and choline) are essential in helping the body manage inflammation and pain. Krill oil can also increase the Omega-3 Index in joint pain sufferers, a key marker of overall health and wellbeing.


Improving joint health starts at the cellular level

Krill oil ensures superior transport, efficient delivery and higher integration of phospholipid omega-3 & choline, directly into the cell membranes in all tissues of the body.                                    


Boosting our cells with nutrients from krill oil, in the phospholipid form, ensures robust cells and a body that is better prepared to deal with aging, oxidative stress, inflammation and more.


Superba_2D Illustrations Fig 5_Handover_150ppi -01 (1)

This all benefits joint health, as well as many other health benefits for the heart, liver, muscles and even your skin. There is no question that it’s time to take control of joint pain and krill oil is a great solution.


For more information and insights about krill oil health benefits, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter here


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1. Cui A, Li H, Wang D, Zhong J, Chen Y, Lu H. Global, regional prevalence, incidence and risk factors of knee osteoarthritis in population-based studies. EClinicalMedicine. 2020 Dec 1;29:100587.

2. Calder PC. Marine omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Effects, mechanisms and clinical relevance. Biochim Biophys Acta 2015;1851(4):469-84.

3. Hals PA, Wang X, Piscitelli F, Di Marzo V, Xiao YF. The time course of erythrocyte membrane fatty acid concentrations during and after treatment of non-human primates with increasing doses of an omega-3 rich phospholipid preparation derived from krill oil. Lipids Health Dis. 2017;16:16.

4. Samuelsson B, Dahlen SE, Lindgren JA, Rouzer CA, Serhan CN. Leukotrienes and lipoxins: structures, biosynthesis, and biological effects. Science 1987;237:1171–6.

5. Welma Stonehouse, Bianca Benassi-Evans, Jana Bednarz, Andrew D Vincent, Stephen Hall, Catherine L Hill. Krill oil improved osteoarthritic knee pain in adults with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis: a 6-month multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nqac125. 2022. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqac125.