Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Krill oil makes you more intelligent and prevents depression
At first glance krill oil resembles fish oil. The difference however is that manufacturers make fish oil from fish, while krill oil is made from a tiny shrimp called Euphausia superb. The oil in Euphausia superba contains no triglycerides (which fish oil contains); instead it contains phospholipids. On top of this krill oil contains relatively large amounts of the carotenoid astaxanthin.
The researchers gave some of their lab animals 0.2 g krill oil daily in oral form for a period of seven weeks. The human equivalent of this dose is extremely high: over 10 g krill oil per day.
This doesn't mean that the experiment is irrelevant when it comes to the effects of krill oil in humans. Researchers think that fish fatty acids accumulate in the cells, and that long-term exposure to small amounts of fish fatty acids may have the same effect as short-term exposure to large amounts of them.
Another group of the lab animals was given the anti-depressant imipramine daily. The rats in the control group got no krill oil and no imipramine.
At the end of 43 days the researchers put the animals in a cage under irritatingly bright lights. There was a switch in the cage that the animals could operate and enabled them to turn off the light [ALP]. There was also a switch in the cage which had no effect on the light [ILP].
The figure below shows that both male [first figure below] and female [second figure below] rats that had been given krill oil pressed the good switch more often than the animals in the other groups. The researchers conclude that the krill oil had boosted the rats' ability to perform new tasks.
In another test the researchers put the rats in a container of water. Rats can't stand water and will swim until they find a way of getting out of the water. The researchers timed the rats until they gave up trying to get out of the water.
Scientists regard this test as a way of imitating the development of depressions in humans. Humans develop depression when they are in a difficult situation where each attempt to escape from this results in a negative stimulus. At some point people give up and depression ensues.
The figure below shows that both male [left] and female rats [right] that had been given krill oil floated around without moving in the water for a shorter amount of time than the rats in the control group. This suggests that krill oil protects against depression.
Imipramine protected slightly better against depression than krill oil.
When the researchers examined the brains of the lab animals they noticed that imipramine boosted the activity of the neural growth factor BDNF. Krill oil did not have this effect. The researchers admit that they donít know exactly how krill oil works.
Aker BioMarine [akerbiomarine.com], a Norwegian producer of krill oil, co-funded the study.