Fish Oil vs. Krill Oil – The Dual of The Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In the last few years, fish oil has developed a reputation as a type of wonder supplement, touted for its ability to help with practically anything ranging from skin conditions to joint lubrication to heart health to hormone regulation to inflammation.

Once krill oil came on the scene, there has been a raging debate regarding which is best. Reputed to be more potent and smaller in size than fish oil capsules, krill oil has captured the attention of the public. The questions of which is better remains, however…

Fish Oil vs Krill Oil

Fish Oil vs Krill Oil

To understand the debate, it’s important to first understand some background information. Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, or long chains of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are derived from other acids, including oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. These fats are considered essential because the body is not capable of producing them on its own. As a result, we must obtain them through our diet. There are actually two different types of EFAS. They are omega-3 and omega-6.

EFAs are essential to the human body because they are necessary for a number of important processes, including:

  • Hormone production
  • Healthy cell membrane formation
  • Development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
  • Thyroid and adrenal activity
  • Regulation of liver function, blood pressure, inflammatory and immune responses
  • Breakdown and transport of cholesterol
  • Regulation of blood clotting
  • Supporting healthy hair and skin

DHA and EPA are also vitally important to the body. These polyunsaturated fats are particularly critical to brain function and vision development in children. Further research has found that a deficiency of EPA could be linked to an increased risk of suicide. A lack of DHA has also been linked to attention disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and cystic fibrosis.

What Is Krill Oil?

Krill are a small type of crustacean and are a staple food source for small fish, whales, and seabirds. Found in large numbers in all of the world’s oceans, these crustaceans feed only on phytoplankton. One of the reasons that krill oil has become so popular in the last few years is because it contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant.

Krill Oil

Krill Oil Supplements

It is astaxanthin that is responsible for giving Krill Oil its bright red color. This same substance is also what lends crabs, prawns, and lobsters their reddish pink color.

Krill Oil has also become popular because it is believed to contain higher concentrations of EPA and does not produce the same bad breath or ‘fish burps’ associated with Fish Oil supplements.

In comparing Krill Oil to Fish Oil, it is important to be aware that while krill does contain astaxanthin, the rapid nature of the decomposition of krill occurs in only two to three hours.

By comparison, fish oil has a much longer life of approximately 48-72 hours before oxidation and decomposition takes place. The reason this is important is that it allows a much longer amount of time for processing.

Both Fish Oil and Krill Oil are considered good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Even so, these two supplements are not equal. Fish Oil is typically less expensive than Krill. It should also be noted that since Krill Oil is a relative newer source of omega-3, there have been fewer studies conducted than with Fish Oil, although Krill Oil certainly does show promise.

Since Krill are a shellfish, it’s also important to be aware of any potential allergic reactions when considering using this supplement.

The Benefits of Fish Oil

Fish Oil is, by and large, considered the most common source of omega-3. This product is widely available at practically any pharmacy and even supermarket. Since it is so widely available, Fish Oil is less expensive and more convenient than Krill Oil. Furthermore, individuals who are allergic to shellfish and who are not able to take Krill Oil will find that Fish Oil is a good alternative.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil Supplements

The Benefits of Krill Oil

Krill Oil generally costs more than Fish Oil. It is also not as widely available. Since Krill Oil is relatively new to the supplement scene, it has received a lot of attention. For those individuals who can afford the more expensive price tag and who are not allergic to shellfish, krill oil could be a good option.

Overall, it appears that Krill Oil works in a similar manner to Fish Oil. The main difference is that Krill Oil requires a lower dose and provides a couple of key benefits. Many people who have taken fish oil supplements often complain about the fish burps or aftertaste associated with those supplements.

There have also been some concerns regarding the level of mercury in commercial fish that could find its way into Fish Oil supplements. Krill Oil does not appear to produce the same after-effects or have the same concerns regarding mercury.

Who Should Consider Taking Krill Oil and Fish Oil?

Since the human body cannot manufacture omega-3s on its own, it is important for everyone to have a good course of these essential fatty acids. Consuming shellfish and fish on its own would provide you with more than enough omega-3s; however, the dangers associated with mercury in seafood has made eating fish and seafood a serious concern.

Senior adults in particular can benefit from take either Krill or Fish Oil supplements. Studies have now shown that omega-3 supplements can provide a wide range of health benefits, including treating cognitive problems. When considering taking any type of supplement, keep in mind it’s important to first consider your physician. This is particularly true if you are taking any other type of medication or have a health condition.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Seniors can benefit a lot from Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Supplementing with omega-3s can be an excellent way to either improve or maintain your general health. With that said, the right choice in regards to the debate of Fish Oil versus Krill Oil can be somewhat of an individual choice. For some people, the fact that Fish Oil is less expensive and more widely available makes Fish Oil the best choice, particularly for those who are allergic to shellfish.

It is also critical to examine the manufacturing process when comparing Krill Oil and Fish Oil. Fish Oil obtained from anchovies and sardines typically yields more than 80 percent fat. Krill Oil generally yields less than 5 percent fat, which can increase the decomposition time.

In order to reduce the oxidation period, Krill must be kept alive in water tanks after they are harvested or they must be frozen until it is time for the oil to be processed. The manufacturing cost for Krill Oil is dramatically increased in either case.

Regardless of whether you choose to use Krill Oil or Fish Oil, it’s important to make sure you choose a good quality supplement. Always consider the reputation of the brand manufacturer before purchasing any supplement and make a point of reading the ingredients to ensure the supplement does not contain a lot fillers.

Read the label as well to ensure the manufacturer is not making unsubstantiated claims that have not been backed by solid scientific research. If you’re interested in Krill oil I recommend Mercola’s brand. This is the one I personally take and for fish oil I like the Source Naturals brand.