Fish oil is one of the most popular supplement types, known for its numerous health benefits. For many years, omega-3 is considered the gold standard in fish oil. However, krill oil has recently emerged as an even stronger supplement, potentially providing more benefits than omega-3s do. With its rising popularity, many people often wonder about the differences between krill oil and omega-3 fish oil.
Both krill oil and omega-3 fish oil supplements are products that contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the exclusive omega-3 fatty acids not found in many other foods, except for seafood like salmon, tuna, and sardines. When you take fish oil supplements, EPA and DHA are packed with powerful nutrients that can enrich your health.
Although there are similarities between these two types of supplements, krill oil and omega-3 fish oil are not the same. In the following guide, we will explain the difference between krill oil and fish oil in extensive detail. We will also answer the question on everybody’s minds: is krill oil better than fish oil?
What is krill oil?
Krill oil is a type of fish oil derived from the Antarctic krill. This crustacean creature is what feeds several animals in that part of the world, including whales and seals. Krill reproduces quickly and the species is abundant in the ocean. As such, they are often considered a more sustainable supplement type than fish oil.
Krill oil contains copious amounts of the healthy omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. Since we absorb more of these healthy fats in krill oil, the supplements tend to have a higher efficiency. The average krill oil intake should be between 250-500 mg per day of EPA and DHA combined. To minimize health risks, never exceed 5,000 mg of these fatty acid oils in diet or supplement form.
If you do not eat eight ounces of seafood per week, a krill oil supplement may be recommended. Taking krill oil is easy. The capsules tend to be on the smaller side, making them easier to consume and swallow.
Differences in krill oil vs omega-3 fish oil
There are several key differences between krill oil and fish oil. Some differences are immediately noticeable like the color. Other differences are health-related, since our bodies have unique responses to krill oil and omega-3 fish oil supplements.
An easy way to distinguish between the two supplements is their physical appearance. Krill oil has a different color than fish oil. While omega-3s are yellow, krill oil has a redness to it. This stems from a component in krill oil, known as astaxanthin, which is a naturally-occurring antioxidant.
Krill oil contains antioxidants, which protect the body from a type of cellular damage known as oxidative stress. The astaxanthin is an antioxidant that removes free radicals from the body, thus improving oxidative stress levels. Since krill oil has more astaxanthin than any other fish oil, these supplements are more productive at managing your oxidative stress.
The astaxanthin in krill oil also helps to lower triglycerides and reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. At the same time, krill oil can increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or also known as the good type of cholesterol) more effectively than fish oil.
EPA and DHA absorption
A notable distinction is that krill oil has a different structure in EPA and DHA contents compared to fish oil. This is because the fatty acids in omega-3s are triglycerides, while those in krill oil are phospholipids. Due to the structural changes, our bodies will process krill oil in a different way. Predominantly, we will absorb higher quantities of EPA and DHA in krill oil than we do with fish oil.
There are studies that analyze the fatty acids in the blood after consuming krill oil and fish oil separately. During the first three days of post-intake, it was reported that more EPA and DHA had been found in the participants who took krill oil. Those who consumed omega-3 fish oil experienced lower proportions of the same fatty acids.
Krill oil benefits
Krill oil is tremendously good for improving our well-beings. The health benefits of krill oil include the ability to reduce inflammation, provide arthritis relief, and improve PMS symptoms. In addition, some studies have shown promising signs that krill oil can help with cognitive functioning.
The fatty acids in krill oil are anti-inflammatory. Less inflammation in the body equates to better health. Inflammation is tied to heart disease, obesity, IBS, Alzheimer’s, psoriasis, and other medical conditions. An anti-inflammatory lifestyle with krill oil can help manage the symptoms from these conditions.
You may be able to reduce joint pain and arthritis symptoms by taking krill oil. Studies have found that taking krill oil can decrease stiffness, lessen swelling, help with function and mobility, and improve range of motion in some cases. It can also aid in endurance, help with sleep, and alleviate pain in rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis patients.
Improves PMS symptoms
Krill oil can help to manage PMS symptoms in women, decreasing period pain and inflammation. The DHA and EPA content in krill oil can significantly improve your condition during painful periods. Taking krill oil means that you get to rely less on pain medication to cope with PMS.
Many studies are analyzing how krill oil impacts the brain. It is reported that krill oil can help to modulate neuronal membrane function and signalling. The current findings suggest that krill oil may alleviate depression, guard against cognitive decline, and improve working memory. However, the degree of its effectiveness is up for debate and more research is required in this area.
Is krill oil better than fish oil?
Krill oil is better than fish oil in terms of absorbing more from DHA and EPA contents. Due to their powerful health benefits, krill oil has gained a reputation as the more premium supplement on the market. However, fish oil is still highly recommended due to its accessibility and affordability. Ultimately, both types of nutritional supplements are beneficial for our bodies, so it is up to each individual on what they prioritize more.