Largest study to date on krill oil and knee osteoarthritis, shows promising results

Ultimately, the study demonstrated that supplementation with krill was safe, and resulted in moderate improvements in knee pain, stiffness, and physical function.

A recent study1 published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that supplementation with krill oil, rich in anti-inflammatory long-chain omega-3 PUFAs and astaxanthin, may help improve knee pain in subjects with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis who consume less than 500 mg per day of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs. In the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 235 subjects between the ages of 40 and 65 were given 4 grams per day of the krill oil or placebo for six months. Knee outcomes were assessed with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) numeric scale at baseline, three months, and six months.

Results showed that supplementation with the krill oil significantly increased the Omega-3 Index of subjects from 6% to 8.9%, compared to 5.5% to 5.4% in the placebo group. Knee pain scores improved in both groups but the krill oil group saw greater improvements compared to placebo. Subjects taking krill also saw greater improvements in knee stiffness and physical function compared to placebo. Ultimately, the study demonstrated that supplementation with krill was safe, and resulted in moderate improvements in knee pain, stiffness, and physical function.

The study was conducted by the Australian national science agency, CSIRO, and sponsored by H&H Research, a subsidiary of H&H Group, which owns the Australian supplement and skincare brand Swisse. The study utilized Superba Boost krill oil supplied by Aker BioMarine (Oslo, Norway).

“Four years in the making, this clinical trial represents the largest, longest, and highest dose study to date investigating the effects of krill oil on osteoarthritis of the knee,” said Welma Stonehouse, PhD, CSIRO principal research scientist, in a press release.

Reference

Stonehouse W et al. “Krill oil improved osteoarthritic knee pain in adults with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis: a 6-month multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” American Journal of Nutrition, Published online ahead of print on July 26, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqac125