Are you trying to decide whether krill oil or fish oil is the best supplement for your health? It’s important to consider each option’s potential benefits and risks carefully. Krill oil and fish oil are both sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy body and may help reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease.

Krill oil is derived from tiny crustaceans in cold ocean waters, while fish oil comes from larger fish like tuna or salmon. Both contain similar omega-3 fatty acids, but krill oil also contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant.

In this blog post, we’ll be looking at krill oil vs. fish oil so that you can make an informed decision about which product is right for you. Read more about how krill and fish oils impact your overall wellness.

What is Krill Oil?

Krill oil is a natural supplement derived from tiny ocean creatures called krill. Krill are small shrimp-like crustaceans in cold waters worldwide, most notably in the Antarctic and Pacific oceans. They feed primarily on algae and other microscopic organisms, making them an important part of the ocean’s food chain.

Krill is rich in omega-3 fatty acids: mainly Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It also contains other beneficial compounds, such as astaxanthin and phospholipids. The combination of these compounds gives krill oil a distinct nutritional profile that sets it apart from fish oil.

What is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is derived from the fatty tissues of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and other beneficial compounds such as vitamins A and D. They are often used for their potential health benefits and are widely available in liquid, pill, and powder form.

Comparing Krill Oil and Fish Oil

Krill oil and fish oil are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and offer similar health benefits. However, some key differences between the two supplements set them apart.

DHA and EPA are the two omega-3s found in fish and krill oil. Even though fish oil provides more DHA and EPA per serving than krill oil, krill oil has been found to have a higher absorption rate than fish oil, which means that your body can absorb more nutrients. It also contains phospholipids, which are beneficial for heart health. Additionally, krill oil is not susceptible to oxidation as easily as fish oil and thus has a longer shelf life.

On the other hand, fish oil supplements are cheaper than krill oil and more widely available. They also contain vitamins A and D, which may help with eye health and bone health, respectively.

Benefits of Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil

There are many benefits associated with taking fish oil or krill oil, including reduced risk of heart disease and improved cognitive function. Both supplements can help reduce inflammation, which may positively impact conditions such as arthritis. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of both supplements.

1. Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil for Joint Pain

The omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oils have powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities, significantly reducing the production of various substances that contribute to the inflammation of your white blood cells. Fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, may be beneficial in treating arthritis. But you need to take in a substantial amount of it daily. [1]

Krill oil also helps to decrease inflammation. Thus, it may assist with arthritic symptoms and joint discomfort frequently caused by inflammation.

One study indicated that krill oil helped individuals with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis experience less stiffness, functional impairment, and discomfort. It may also enhance the range of motion and lessen moderate knee discomfort. [2]

Furthermore, krill oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and arthritic symptoms in animal research, with ratings for the condition and symptoms improving. Hence, both fish and krill oil show promise as an adjunct treatment for arthritis and joint pain, but further research is needed to confirm these findings.

2. Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil for Cholesterol

Although fish oil has long been touted for its heart-healthy benefits, recent research suggests that krill oil may actually be even more effective. EPA and DHA are two of the most vital omega-3 fatty acids, and they may be found in both krill and fish oil. EPA and DHA have been demonstrated to improve cardiovascular health by lowering triglycerides and inflammation.

Multiple cardiovascular risk factors were reduced in those who took either fish oil or krill oil. However, when it comes to reducing blood sugar, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, krill oil proves to be more efficient than fish oil. According to one research, krill oil was more beneficial than fish oil, even at lower dosages. [3]

Total cholesterol and triglyceride levels were reduced by a daily intake of 1-3 grams of krill oil, and the effects were more pronounced than those seen with the same amount of conventional fish oil. The recommended daily intake of krill oil is between 1 and 3 grams.

Of course, it’s important to note that this is just one research. Because of this, we need additional studies contrasting the benefits of krill oil and fish oil on cardiovascular health.

3. Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil for Pregnancy

Pregnant women who consume enough omega-3 fatty acids may reap several benefits, such as aiding their babies’ cognitive development and lowering their risk of being born prematurely. When taken during pregnancy, omega-3 fatty acids help maintain a healthy fetal weight, regulate the period of fetal gestation, and promote proper neuronal formation. Even after delivery, Omega-3s are important because they help the baby’s eyes and brain develop normally.

Even though fish oil is the most popular Omega-3 supplement, krill oil has been shown to have far greater health benefits. This is because, like a healthy fish diet, krill oil provides Omega-3s in their most natural form (called phospholipids). Furthermore, several studies have shown that omega-3s can alleviate depressive symptoms in women experiencing prenatal depression. [4]

4. Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil for Dry Eye

Dry eye is a common condition in which the eyes don’t produce enough tears or have an excess of tears that evaporate quickly. It can cause itching, burning, and even visual distortion.

Both fish oil and krill oil contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to reduce inflammation associated with dry eye syndrome. Taking EPA and DHA supplements has significantly reduced dry eye symptoms. [5]

Dosage of Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil

There is no set recommendation for how much fish or krill oil you should take. On the other hand, the daily intake of Omega-3 EPA and DHA should be between 500 and 1000 mg.

Adults often take fish oil supplements in amounts of up to 6 grams once a day by mouth for a period of up to 12 weeks. On the other hand, adults have often utilized krill oil in amounts of 1-4 grams, taken orally every day for up to 6 months.

Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil: Risks and Side Effects

Krill oil and fish oil are generally considered safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. However, some potential side effects have been reported, such as bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth, indigestion, diarrhea, a fishy aftertaste, and nausea.

Dangers of Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil

Both krill oil and fish oil supplements may cause adverse reactions in some people. Fish oil can cause nausea, vomiting, heartburn, loose stools, and belching. Krill oil may also cause stomach upset, burping, and diarrhea. Some people may be allergic to the shellfish used to make krill oil.

It is important to note that, like any supplement, both krill oil and fish oil can interact with medications. It’s best to speak to your doctor before taking either supplement.

Bottom Line: Krill Oil Vs. Fish Oil Benefits and Risks

Krill oil and fish oil are both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but krill oil also contains powerful antioxidants. If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your health, krill oil is a great option. However, as with any supplement, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before taking anything new.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010 Mar;2(3):355-374. doi: 10.3390/nu2030355. Epub 2010 Mar 18. PMID: 22254027; PMCID: PMC3257651.
  • Stonehouse W, Benassi-Evans B, Bednarz J, Vincent AD, Hall S, Hill CL. Krill oil improved osteoarthritic knee pain in adults with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis: a 6-month multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Sep 2;116(3):672-685. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqac125. PMID: 35880828; PMCID: PMC9437987.
  • Bunea R, El Farrah K, Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. Altern Med Rev. 2004 Dec;9(4):420-8. PMID: 15656713.
  • Coletta JM, Bell SJ, Roman AS. Omega-3 Fatty acids and pregnancy. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Fall;3(4):163-71. PMID: 21364848; PMCID: PMC3046737.
  • Epitropoulos AT, Donnenfeld ED, Shah ZA, Holland EJ, Gross M, Faulkner WJ, Matossian C, Lane SS, Toyos M, Bucci FA Jr, Perry HD. Effect of Oral Re-esterified Omega-3 Nutritional Supplementation on Dry Eyes. Cornea. 2016 Sep;35(9):1185-91. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000940. PMID: 27442314; PMCID: PMC4975557.
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Shaira Urbano, Licensed Pharmacist

Shaira is a licensed pharmacist (Bachelor of Pharmacy) and an experienced content writer. She enjoys inspiring and informing her readers through research-backed, comprehensive health content. Shaira draws from her personal experience working with real-life patients in a hospital setting and is currently pursuing her passion in writing.

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  • Shaira is a licensed pharmacist (Bachelor of Pharmacy) and an experienced content writer. She enjoys inspiring and informing her readers through research-backed, comprehensive health content. Shaira draws from her personal experience working with real-life patients in a hospital setting and is currently pursuing her passion in writing.

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Shaira is a licensed pharmacist (Bachelor of Pharmacy) and an experienced content writer. She enjoys inspiring and informing her readers through research-backed, comprehensive health content. Shaira draws from her personal experience working with real-life patients in a hospital setting and is currently pursuing her passion in writing.