Can krill oil be of use for counteracting neuroinflammatory processes induced by high fat diet and aging?

Neurosci Res. 2020 Aug:157:1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2019.08.001. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


Most neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, demonstrate preceding or on-going inflammatory processes. Therefore, discovering effective means of counteracting detrimental inflammatory mediators in the brain could help alter aging-related disease onset and progression. Fish oil and marine-derived omega-3, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3) have shown promising anti-inflammatory effects both systemically and centrally. More specifically, krill oil (KO), extracted from small Antarctic crustaceans, is an alternative type of LC n-3 with reported health benefits including improvement of spatial memory and learning, memory loss, systemic inflammation and depression symptoms. Similar to the more widely studied fish oil, KO contains the long chain fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are essential for basic brain functions. Moreover, the phospholipid bound nature of fatty acids found in KO improves bioavailability and efficiency of absorption, thus supporting the belief that KO may offer a superior method of dietary n-3 delivery. Finally, KO contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant capable of reducing potentially excessive oxidative stress and inflammation within the brain. This review will discuss the potential benefits of KO over other marine-based LC n-3 on brain inflammation and cognitive function in the context of high fat diets and aging.

Keywords: Aging; High fat diet; Krill oil; Neuroinflammation; Obesity; Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids* / pharmacology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid* / pharmacology
  • Euphausiacea* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Inflammation* / drug therapy
  • Inflammation* / etiology
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Xanthophylls
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • astaxanthine
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid