What’s Better: Krill Oil Or Fish Oil?

 In Health, nutrition&supplements

You may wonder if krill oil if better than fish oil? Or why is fish oil or krill oil good for you? High levels of omega 3 fatty acids are stored inside the fish. It is one of the reasons for taking supplements with fish oil. The other reason is mostly an unbalanced relation between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The imbalance of those two can generate serious health damage.

Meanwhile, the other source of omega fatty acid has been found and proclaimed as better. It claims krill oil effects are greater than fish oil. The question is, is this just a fad?

What Is the Role of Essential Fatty Acids in Body?

Essential basically means that the human body isn’t able to produce them, so you must take them with food. There are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA):

  • Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and
  • Omega-6 (linoleic acid).

The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is about 3:1.

They are important for many processes in your body. Insufficiency of EFAs may lead to problems with hormone production, blood pressure, blood clotting, as well as liver function, immune and inflammatory responses. They also maintain your skin and hair looking pretty and preventing premature aging. They are important for the health of every cell in your body since EFAs are an integral part of the cell membrane.

Isn’t all of this enough for taking EFAs every day?

What Is Krill?

Krill are little crustaceans, length 1 to 6 centimeters, which live in the ocean with estimated biomass about 380 million tons. It is estimated roughly 3 times more than human’s biomass. Krill is an integral part of the ocean population, as well as rich food for birds, fish, and whales.

They feed on a phytoplankton, a microorganism that maintains the purity of the ocean.

What Is the Catch About Krill Oil?

The krill oil capsules came in through big door in the market as more potent than fish oil capsules. The oil from krill is reported to have a higher concentration of EFA, and contain the antioxidant astaxanthin. The astaxanthin is a keto-carotenoid, which gives the red color to krill oil.

Krill oil has a faster absorption than fish oil. But, an absorption itself if an individual matter of any organism, which depends on age, nourishment and health condition.

Krill oil is marked as an oil of a higher bioavailability, too. Some authors give the facts that the omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil are more bioavailable than those in fish oil because omega-3 from krill are bound to phospholipids rather than triglycerides. What does that mean?

Namely, a phosphate group to the fatty acid chain allows simpler digestion in the small intestine and a more rapid incorporation into target tissues.

During the research, they compared EPA bound to phosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylserine in krill oil as opposed to the EPA bound to triglycerides in fish oil. The results showed that the krill oil is more bioavailable. That means a smaller amount of krill oil has the same effect as a larger amount of fish oil.

It is the fact if we look at milligrams. But counting in money, things are different. You can found the price from 0,6 to 2 $ per capsule of 1000 mg krill oil. The price of a capsule of fish oil and the same grams is about 0,05 $!

Is krill oil really 10 times better than a fish oil?

Fish Oil Vs. Krill Oil

Each of these oils has many health benefits. But, let’s answer two main questions: why is fish oil good for you? And why is krill oil good for you?

Impact on The Heart

Both types of oil have a good effect on the heart and blood vessels, but the krill oil effects are rather explored. DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) (omega 3 highly unsaturated fat), which is both in fish oil and krill oil, cause lowering triglyceride levels, lowering blood pressure, increasing healthy HDL cholesterol, as well as reducing inflammation and possibly contributing to a decrease in the negative LDL cholesterol.

Impact on The Brain

One study found that omega-3 fatty acids may actually play a role in a suicide prevention, as well as a lack of DHA may associate with Alzheimer’s disease, attention disorders, cystic fibrosis, and other diseases. An increased tendency to depression, stress symptoms, and PMS symptoms is also associated with decreased DHA intake. But, DHA is part of both oils, while a research about the impact of a krill oil to the brain and nervous system is still too new to support the same assumption.

Impact on The Skeletal System

Many studies showed the good impact of the fish oil on the skeletal system, such as reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Also, krill oil causes a similar positive effect. But, the exploring of the impact of krill oil is in a significantly smaller number.


Krill oil contains the antioxidant astaxanthin as a unique marine-source flavonoid that bonds with EPA and DHA, making them more bioavailable. It gives krill oil reddish color.

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid. It reduces oxidation and preserves the supplement’s potency, while also supporting eye health and inflammation.

Fish oil, on the other hand, is highly perishable because it lacks antioxidants. The free radicals are created through the process of rancid in your body. So, if you don’t take additional antioxidants, the free radicals could overwhelm your liver.

Also, fish oil comes primarily from an oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Sometimes they may contain a higher level of mercury and other toxins. Krill doesn’t contain the toxins and metals that can be found in an oily fish. Of course, fish oil supplements are processed, thus those potential toxins are being removed.


Despite the fact that you regularly eat fish (or at least you should!), it doesn’t mean that you’re consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids and attaining the correct ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This makes krill and fish oil supplements an option for daily consumption of fatty acids, or in addition to fatty fish.

Whether you take fish oil or krill oil, you’re going to enjoy a healthy dose of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.

While fish oil is the tried supplement with years of proven benefits, it may only be a matter of time before krill oil reaches and surpasses fish oil’s popularity.

Krill oil’s similar omega-3 makeup and superior antioxidant level and bioavailability set it apart from fish oil, while its safety and sustainability make it the responsible choice.

But, whatever you take, choose good quality fish oil or good quality krill oil. Therefore, the inclusion of omega-3 and omega-6 into your diet is a definite step in the right direction.

Aleksandra C.
Medical student, freelancer, fitness enthusiastic.
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