Krill oil vs. fish oil


Krill oil and fish oil are both great sources of omega-3 fatty acids that help improve heart and brain health — making them an essential part of your diet.

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Is krill oil or fish oil better for you? 

Fish oil and krill oil are dietary supplements that provide your body with two omega-3 fatty acids — docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. According to the Mayo Clinic, we cannot manufacture DHA and EPA in the body, so they must be derived from food or supplements. Many seek dietary supplements to support their physical health, but the FDA always suggests consulting your doctor before taking supplements. 

Krill oil is still relatively new to the market, making fish oil the more known omega-3 supplement, but some claim that krill oil has more benefits.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Before diving into the two oil supplements, discover some of the benefits behind omega-3 fatty acids and how taking supplements containing DHA and EPA can benefit your overall health.

  • Promote heart health
  • Decrease cholesterol
  • Can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Improves eye health
  • Supports brain development during pregnancy
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Relieves joint tenderness
  • Anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce pain
  • Source of vitamin D to increase bone health

Fish oil

Fish oil is a very mainstream supplement derived from the fat or oil found in fish tissue, usually oily fish such as herring and tuna. The FDA recommends eating between 8 and 12 ounces of fish a week to maintain a healthy diet. If you do not eat enough fish per week, then fish oil can help you get the nutrients that you are missing.

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and even contains vitamins A and D — all-important dietary ingredients that help improve your overall health. The fatty acids in fish oil come in two chemical forms, triglycerides or ethyl esters, which influence the absorption and bioavailability of the EPA+DHA within the omega-3.

Fish oil pros

There is an extensive amount of research backing up fish oil, making it one of the most commonly used supplements in the United States. Since fish oils are more popular, they are also the cheaper and more accessible option of the two. Also, research shows that fish oils have higher DHA and EPA than krill oil.

Fish oil cons 

One distinct difference between fish oil and krill oil is pill size. Fish oil pills are often large soft gel capsules with a fishy taste, making them difficult to swallow. There are fish oil liquid alternatives, but it has a bad taste and an oily consistency — causing many adverse opinions. 

According to some studies, fish oils are mainly in the form of triglycerides, which is not as bioavailable as the chemical form of krill oil. 

Best fish oil

New Chapter, Wholemega Fish Oil 

New Chapter Wholemega Fish Oil 

Starting at only $19.70 for 60 softgel capsules, these fish oil supplements will get you the omega-3s you need at a price you can afford. New Chapter’s fish oil is derived from sustainably sourced wild salmon from Alaska and is fresh-pressed for better absorption.

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Best bang for your buck fish oil 

Nature's Bounty, Fish Oil

Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil

For only $20.88, you can get a bottle of 320 fish oil soft gel capsules with a potency of 1200 mg. Nature’s Bounty makes trusted products at a price that you can’t beat. They make their products with the cleanest ingredients, and their fish oil capsules are purified to eliminate mercury. For adults, the suggested use is one to three soft gels daily with food.

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Krill oil

Krill oil is derived from krill, which are tiny crustaceans found in every ocean across the world. Like fish oil, krill oil contains EPA and DHA, but the fatty acids in krill oil are structured differently from fish oil. So, while they provide the same health benefits due to both being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, studies show that krill oil may impact that body differently. 

Krill oil pros

One component that krill oil has that fish oil does not generally contain is astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect that body from cell damage, and while everyone can benefit from taking antioxidants, the clinical benefits of astaxanthin remain unclear. 

The EPA and DHA in krill oil are in the form of a phospholipid, which results in higher rates of absorption. This chemical form means that krill oil can give your body the same benefits as fish oil but at a lower dose, allowing for a smaller pill size than fish oil. Also, many experts believe that the phospholipid form increases absorption and effectiveness, making krill oil the better option. 

Krill oil cons

However, there is still not enough evidence to conclude that krill oil is significantly better than fish oil — only modest changes in data. Krill oil can be considered an alternative to fish oil and may even be a better alternative to fish oil, but krill oil has not been as extensively researched as fish oil, making evidence unclear.

Also, krill oil tends to be the more expensive alternative since krill requires immediate processing — resulting in higher production prices and thus higher selling prices. Since krill oil requires quick processing to prevent spoilage, there is also a concern for the quality of the product.

Best krill oil

Dr. Mercola, Antarctic Krill Oil 

Dr. Mercola Antarctic Krill Oil 

Available in two quantities, Dr. Mercola’s premium supplements come from an independently certified fishery that upholds the MSC’s standards for a fishery.

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Best bang for your buck krill oil 

Schiff, MegaRed, Superior Omega-3 Krill Oil

Schiff, MegaRed Superior Omega-3 Krill Oil

Krill oil is known for being a more expensive alternative to fish oil. If you want to try krill oil but do not want to spend the krill oil prices, MegaRed’s ultra-concentrated krill oil soft gels are your best option. For $25.67, you get 40 krill oil capsules with a potency of 750 mg. MegaReds easy-to-swallow pills are more translucent due to them being 3x purer than other krill oils.

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The bottom line

Some studies say that your body may absorb krill oil better, resulting in more health benefits. However, there is not enough research to solidify this claim. While krill oil has not been as extensively researched as fish oil, there is plenty of research to prove that they are both rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish oil is more mainstream and affordable, but krill oil is — potentially — better for your health. Choose which supplement to buy based on either price or the potential for greater health benefits — whichever is most important to you.


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Bailey Gates writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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