The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Krill oil vs fish oil to manage premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea

    In this study, researchers at the University of Montreal, in Quebec, evaluated the response to alternative sources of omega-3 fatty acids (krill vs fish) in women with premenstrual syndrome.

    A reader comments, and I reply. So, it’s back to the top of the queue for this post.

    First, the details.

    • 70 women of reproductive age diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 3 months.
      • Krill oil (Neptune) 1 gram soft gel
      • Fish oil 1 gram soft gel
    • During the study, the women answered questions (0 = no symptoms to 10 = unbearable) based on the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) diagnostic criteria for premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea.
      • More on the premenstrual syndrome and the ACOG criteria is here and in the study article.
    • The women also recorded the number of pain pills they took for dysmenorrhea.
    • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

    And, the results.

    • Taking krill oil was associated with significant symptomatic improvement compared to the fish oil group.
    • Taking krill oil was associated with significant improvement in all of the symptoms measured at 45 and 90 days after starting treatment.
      • Breast tenderness
      • Overwhelmed
      • Stress
      • Irritability
      • Depression
      • Joint pain
      • Weight gain
      • Stomach pain
      • Swelling
      • Bloating
    • Taking fish oil was associated with significant improvement in the following symptoms.
      • Weight gain (at 45 and 90 days after starting treatment)
      • Stomach pain (at 45 and 90 days)
      • Swelling (at 90 days)
    • There was a significant reduction in the number of pain pills used for dysmenorrhea in both groups compared to the start of the study.
      • There was no difference between treatments, however.
    • No serious side effects were reported during the study.
    • Patients taking krill oil didn’t experience gastrointestinal difficulties such as regurgitation, while 64% of the women taking fish oil complained of unpleasant reflux.
    • Those taking krill oil reported increased alertness, energy, and well-being.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded that compared to omega-3 in fish oil, the omega-3 in this brand of krill oil, “significantly reduce[s] dysmenorrhea and the emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and is… significantly more effective for the complete management of premenstrual symptoms compared to omega-3 fish oil.”

    Krill is similar to fish oil except that it contains naturally occurring phospholipids, and more eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) per gram than standard fish oil capsules — 240 mg/gram EPA in krill vs.180 mg/gram in fish oil.

    EPA is one of the principal omega-3 fatty acids. Yet, the body has a limited ability to manufacture it.

    8/29/10 14:25 JR

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