Supplements

Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil In a Supplement Showdown

We're breaking down two of the most buzzed-about wellness supplements, and why you may want to choose one over the other when it comes to your omega-3 needs. 

When you think about fish or krill oil what comes to mind? Some associate the use of omega-3s to help support heart health, while others think about omegas as they relate to brain health. The truth is that omega-3 fatty acids are important for many aspects of overall wellness, and there are various ways to ensure that you are getting enough. We’re taking a deep dive into two sources — fish and krill oil. One is sourced from fish, the other from krill, and both are great options when it comes to getting your omega-3 fatty acids. 

They have both quickly become two of the most buzzed-about wellness supplements as more and more people are turning to omega-3s to help promote heart health and encourage a healthy inflammatory response in the body. 

And, while fish oil supplements sound like they may check all the supplement boxes, and have long been the most popular way to supplement with omega-3s, not all omega-3 fatty acid supplements are created equal. Aside from quality, there are some other key things to keep in mind to help ensure that you are getting the most out of your supplement. 

So, what are the differences between the two? Keep scrolling as we break down the difference between two popular supplements — krill oil and fish oil — and why you may want to choose one or the other when it comes to your omega-3 fatty acid needs. 

But First, What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Why Are They So Important?

There are three kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, which include ALA, EPA, and DHA. You’ll find DHA and EPA in fish such as salmon and mackerel, while ALA is commonly found in plant-based foods like flaxseeds.

These omega-3s make up important parts of cell membranes that surround the cells in the body, and they also play a role in energy support and different functions in the body related to heart health, as well as the endocrine and immune system. (1) 

Getting enough through diet or choosing a high-quality supplement is important because the body cannot make these fatty acids on its own. This is where choosing the right type of supplement comes into play. 

Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil: Finding Which One May Work Best For You 

Now that you know that the body relies on food sources or supplements for getting adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, how do you know which supplement choice is best?

First, let’s take a closer look at fish oil. Fish oil supplements commonly come in gel capsule form, and many people take them to help support heart health and to meet the body’s need for omega-3 fatty acids since the body cannot produce them on its own. However, some of the common complaints about fish oil include fishy burps, bad breath, and an upset stomach. (2) 

And, while both fish and krill oil are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, many people are turning to krill oil as an alternative to traditional fish oil supplements. It’s quickly rising in popularity, and more studies are demonstrating just some of the reasons why it's becoming more commonly used.  

But what is it? Krill oil comes from krill, which is a shrimp-like species, and it looks a bit different than fish oil thanks to its astaxanthin content (a carotenoid), which gives it a red color. And while both fish and krill oil come with their own set of potential benefits, some early research suggests that krill oil may be a superior source of omega-3s. 

One study suggested that the EPA and DHA from krill oil may be more bioavailable than fish oil. (3) However, it’s important to note that the research here is still in its infancy. 

Another study also found that four weeks of krill oil supplementation increased plasma concentration of both EPA and DHA. (4) This suggests that krill oil may be an excellent way to help support healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. 

Other Impressive Reasons to Consider Krill Oil

In addition to the fact that krill oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, it comes with quite a few other potential bonus benefits. 

For one, krill oil contains astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant. Research has suggested that due to krill oil’s astaxanthin content, it may help encourage healthy intestinal barrier integrity, which means those tight junctions in the gut may be better able to keep unwanted microbes from entering our bloodstream and causing an imbalance in our immune system. (5,6,7) 

Studies have also suggested that krill oil supplementation may support healthy triglycerides and cholesterol levels, making it an ideal form of supplementation for promoting heart health. (8) 

Always Keep Quality in Mind

Another important thing to keep in mind with any supplement is to check the quality. Check for artificial ingredients, fillers, common allergens (milk, corn, soy, gluten), and check to see where the supplement is manufactured. Ideally, you’ll want to invest in a product that is manufactured in the United States. 

Lastly, some omega-3 supplements are notorious for causing fishy burps. Keep in mind that while higher-end krill oil supplements may be a bit more expensive than fish oil products, unlike fish oil, which tends to pool at the top of the stomach causing indigestion and a fishy aftertaste, krill oil is digested more easily and may be less likely to cause any reflux.

Getting the Most Out of Your Omega-3 Supplements

As with any supplement, quality trumps all but so does how well it’s been shown to work. When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, early research is suggesting that krill oil may be an excellent alternative to those who may want to opt for something other than traditional fish oil. 

Good news, BalanceGenics has your krill oil supplement needs covered. Our krill oil won’t leave you with yucky fishy burps or aftertaste, is an excellent source of omega-3s, and contains naturally occurring astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant. 

So, if you're looking for a new omega-3 supplement, you may want to see what krill oil can do for you!

Quick Disclaimer 

Do not take krill oil if you have any known allergies or sensitivities to shellfish. And, as always consult your primary care physician before taking any new supplements. 

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. Readers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither the author(s) nor the publisher of this content take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All readers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Sources 


  1. National Institutes of Health. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 


  1. Fish Oil. Mayo Clinic. 


  1. Ulven SM, Holven KB. Comparison of bioavailability of krill oil versus fish oil and health effect. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2015;11:511-524. Published 2015 Aug 28. doi:10.2147/VHRM.S85165


  1. Maki KC, Reeves MS, Farmer M, et al. Krill oil supplementation increases plasma concentrations of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in overweight and obese men and women. Nutr Res. 2009;29(9):609-615. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2009.09.004


  1. Costanzo M, Cesi V, Prete E, et al. Krill oil reduces intestinal inflammation by improving epithelial integrity and impairing adherent-invasive Escherichia coli pathogenicity. Dig Liver Dis. 2016;48(1):34-42. doi:10.1016/j.dld.2015.09.012


  1. Vancamelbeke M, Vermeire S. The intestinal barrier: a fundamental role in health and disease. Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017;11(9):821-834. doi:10.1080/17474124.2017.1343143


  1. Marcelo Campos, MD. Leaky Gut: What is it And What Does it Mean For You? 


  1. 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;9(4):420-428


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