Things You Should Know About Krill Oil Supplements

Krill oil is a type of Omega 3 supplement. This article will show you the main differences between krill and fish oil and help you decide which one is best for you. You will also find out about the most popular krill how supplements and see how they compare.

What Is Krill Oil

Krill oil is an extract from a species of krill, which is a small shrimp-like creature. Most of the krill oil products come from a subtype of krill that lives in the unpolluted waters of the Antarctic Ocean – the Antarctic krill (Euphausia superb).

Krill is an eco-sustainable source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Krill harvest is strictly regulated by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Catch limits are regularly reviewed and CCAMLR doesn't predict any shortage of krill in the foreseeable future.

Krill oil is sold for its health benefits. It is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, especially biologically active EPA and DHA. These two acids are crucial for the normal functioning of your body. They contribute to healthy heart, brain and nervous system, joint health, and they lower inflammation throughout the body.  

Krill oil is a relatively new type of Omega 3 supplement and there is still a lot of ongoing debate, comparing the benefits of fish and krill oil.

Krill Oil vs Fish Oil

Both krill and fish oil are high in Omega 3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA.  These two oils, however, have a slightly different molecular profile. The Omega 3-s in fish oil are attached to triglycerides. In krill oil, the main part of Omega 3 fatty acids is attached to phospholipids, while the rest are attached to triglycerides.

This chemical difference means that fish and krill oil react differently in your body. Unlike phospholipids, triglycerides do not mix well with water. The human body is able to better absorb and assimilate phospholipids, so krill oil typically has a better absorption rate than fish oil.

Krill oil also contains a powerful antioxidant – astaxantin, which gives the oil its rich, dark red color.

Astaxantin is an antioxidant, which means that it protects the cells from the damage caused by free radicals. It comes from the carotenoid family, and studies have shown that it is one of the most powerful antioxidants – more effective than, for example, vitamin E, beta-carotene and lutein.

Fish oil, on the other hand, doesn’t naturally contain antioxidants. All Omega 3 oils are prone to lipid peroxidation, which means that they quickly go rancid. To prevent this, fish oil manufacturers add antioxidants (usually vitamin E tocopherols) during the production process.

So, Which One Should You Choose – Krill or Fish Oil?

The choice basically depends on your personal preference. There's no clear advantage of taking krill oil over fish oil supplements. Yes, krill oil does have a better absorption rate. Krill oil supplements, however, usually contain much lower amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids than fish oil supplements.

Fish oil supplements come in 2 main types – normal strength and ultra strength. The later can be highly concentrated, containing as much as a couple of grams of Omega 3 fatty acids per soft gel or teaspoon (if you are getting a liquid supplement) – which is much higher than the typical krill oil supplement..

The other advantage of fish oil is that it has been extensively studied. Nearly all the studies of Omega 3 health benefits have been made with fish oil and the correct daily doses for different conditions have been established. Due to the difference in absorption, these recommendations can’t be simply transferred to krill oil products.

Last, but not least, there is the safety issue. Krill oil mostly comes from the Antarctic krill, which means that the products should not be polluted. Several studies, though, have detected toxic residues in the Antarctic krill extracts. Still, the FDA has declared that krill oil and its products meet the standards for the GRAS status (generally recognized as safe).

It is also known that fish oil can contain traces of heavy metals, toxins, mercury and other contaminants; especially if it comes from fish that live in contaminated waters.

That is why it is crucial that you are getting a fish oil supplement from a reputable manufacturer. They should be able to show third party test results and adhere to the standards set by the fish oil safety regulating organizations (the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), European Pharmacopoeia, IFOS, and the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega–3 (GOED).

Most Popular Krill Oil Supplements

1. Viva Labs Krill Oil

Content per capsule:

Total Fats:  625 mg

Omega 3 fats:  150 mg

EPA: 82.5 mg

DHA: 47.5 mg  

Astaxantin: 0.8 mg

Phospholipids:  250mg

Viva Labs krill oil


2. MegaRed Omega 3 Krill Oil

Content per capsule:

Total Fats:  150 mg

Omega 3 fats: 45 mg

EPA:  25 mg

DHA:  12 mg  

Astaxantin:  N/A

Phospholipids:  65 mg

Schiff MegaRed Krill Oil


3. NatureWise Omega Krill Oil

Content per capsule:

Total Fats: 500 mg

Omega 3 fats: 110 mg

EPA: 60 mg

DHA: 28 mg  

Astaxantin: N/A

Phospholipids: 200 mg

NatureWise Omega krill oil


4. NutriGold Krill Oil Gold

Content per capsule:

Total Fats: 500 mg

Omega 3 fats: 126 mg

EPA: 63 mg

DHA:  36.5 mg  

Astaxantin:  0. 460 mg

Phospholipids:  262 mg

NutriGold Krill Oil Gold


5. Now Foods Neptune Krill Oil

Content per capsule:

Total Fats: 500 mg

Omega 3 fats: 115 mg

EPA: 60mg

DHA:  35 mg  

Astaxantin:  0.375 mg

Phospholipids:   195 mg

NOW Foods Neptune Krill Oil


Our Recommendation

We recommend Viva Labs krill oil as it constantly receives lots of positive feedback. It is also the most concentrated krill oil available, containing the largest amount of Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) per capsule.

Viva Labs harvest their krill in the Antarctic region. They froze the catch on board of the ship, so they maximize the amount of nutrients that they gather in krill oil. They also use cold-pressed extraction process and nitrogen flush during bottling, so that their krill oil retains freshness.

Another good option is the NatureWise Omega krill oil . NatureWise put great emphasis on the krill oil purity and safety and provide 3rd party test results for their products.

One interesting fact about NatureWise krill oil – they enable their customers to find out exactly where their krill oil comes from. Each product label contains GPS coordinates of the krill catch and harvesting, which you can put into the OmegaTrack software on the NatureWise website.


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