Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil: Which Is Better?

Medically Reviewed on 7/22/2022
Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil
Both krill oil and fish oil supplements have positive benefits on heart health.

Both krill and fish oil include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). However, krill oil's omega-3 fatty acids have a higher bioavailability or rate of absorption in the body than fish oil.

  • It could be related to the fact that phospholipids, which are molecules made up of DHA and EPA combined with a phosphate group, are present in krill oil.
  • The DHA and EPA are preserved as triglycerides in fish oil. Additional studies are required to understand why krill oil is absorbed more readily.

You must get your omega-6 and omega-3 fat ratio in equal amounts to boost your fitness and overall health. Omega-3 supplements are vital because you cannot get enough fatty acids from seafood.

Whether you choose to fish or krill oil, both are smart alternatives. Your health will improve if you take both in the recommended dosages.

What is krill oil?

Antarctic krill, a small shellfish that resembles a shrimp, is used to produce krill oil. Krill, fish, and cod liver oil contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

  • Products manufactured from krill include protein concentrates, powders, and oils. Omega-3 fatty acids may be obtained sustainably from krill oil, which is high in protein and low in saturated fat.
  • People use it to treat excessive blood lipid levels, heart disease, boost immunity, and more.
  • Although there is minimal clinical data, the outcomes of animal trials offer important information about this supplement.

What is fish oil?

Fish oil is made using fish tissue, which is rich in fatty acids. They contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

  • Anchovies, mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sardines are a few examples.
  • Cod liver oil, which is made from fish liver, is another source of fish oil.
  • Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids and even has vitamins A and D, which are crucial nutrients for a healthy diet.
  • Triglycerides or ethyl esters are the two chemical forms of fatty acids found in fish oil, and they have an impact on the absorption and bioavailability of the omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).


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7 differences between fish oil and krill oil

  1. An animal study looked at gene expression after supplementation with either krill or fish oil.
    • They reported that fish oil increased gene expression of the cholesterol synthesis pathway more than krill oil.
    • Krill oil was found to upregulate (increase gene expression) more metabolic pathways than fish oil.
    • This suggests that there might be different biological effects between krill and fish oil, but more research is needed.
  2. Both krill oil and fish oil supplements have positive benefits on the heart health of those with hyperlipidemia (raised blood lipid levels).
    • More intriguingly, it was discovered that krill oil was superior to fish oil to lower blood sugar, low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels.
    • Krill oil usage for an extended period helped control blood lipid levels.
    • As a result, krill oil is superior to fish oil to lower the risk of heart diseases and is the best for the long-term improvement of heart health.
  3. Fish oil has higher quantities of vitamin D and vitamin A.
    • Excess vitamins A and D present in fish oil may get stored in the body to toxic levels.
    • Due to hazards to the unborn child, vitamin A supplements should be avoided during pregnancy.
  4. Fish oil supplements are often yellow or gold, whereas krill oil has a characteristic red hue. When compared to fish oil, krill oil often costs more.
  5. The body uses omega-3 fatty acids for key anti-inflammatory processes. However, krill oil could more efficiently reduce inflammation because it contains astaxanthin, a pinkish-orange compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
    • In a 25-person trial, it was shown that consuming 1,000 mg of krill oil daily had a greater positive impact on the inflammatory index than consuming 2,000 mg of purified omega-3 supplements daily.
    • In addition, research involving 90 individuals with chronic inflammation discovered that 300 mg of krill oil taken daily was sufficient to decrease inflammation by up to 30 percent after one month.
  6. Despite assertions that krill oil is superior to fish oil, a meta-analysis published in 2020 discovered no differences in the impact on blood lipids, which are markers of cardiovascular health. An estimated 9 mg/dL of blood triglycerides were lowered by 1 gram of omega-3 from either krill or fish oil. Additionally, cholesterol indices showed no variation.
  7. In comparison to fish oil, women using krill oil reported using fewer painkillers and experiencing fewer premenstrual syndrome symptoms, such as breast discomfort, joint pain, swelling, and bloating.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/22/2022
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Cicero AF, Rosticci M, Morbini M, et al. Lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 ethyl esters and krill oil: a randomized, cross-over, clinical trial. Arch Med Sci. 2016 Jun 1;12(3):507-12.

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