Krill Oil vs Fish Oil: Similarities & Differences

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    Fish oil and krill oil are two popular supplements used to support health and well-being. However, there are significant differences between the two!

    Fish oil and krill oil are two popular supplements used to support health and well-being. While both are derived from marine sources, there are significant differences between the two. It is important for consumers to understand the distinct benefits of each and how they can be used to maximize health. This article aims to explore the differences between krill oil and fish oil, as well as their respective benefits. Keep reading to learn more about the unique properties of these powerful marine oils!

    What is krill oil?

    Krill oil is an increasingly popular nutritional supplement made from a type of small shrimp-like crustacean found in the ocean. The majority of krill oil on the market comes from Antarctic waters near Antarctica where millions of tons are harvested each year.

    Krill oil contains high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) as well as astaxanthin – a powerful antioxidant known for its antioxidant-like properties. Many people are turning to krill oil as an alternative to fish oil or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids due to its low environmental impact and sustainability.

    Benefits of krill oil

    Krill oil has been shown to support cardiovascular, brain, and joint health. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, making it an ideal option for those looking for an alternative to fish oil supplements.

    Krill oil contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

    Potential side effects

    Krill oil has become extremely popular, and many people take it daily. However, like any supplement, krill oil has potential side effects that users should be aware of before taking it.

    The most common side effect of krill oil is a fishy burp or aftertaste. While this isn’t typically dangerous, it can be unpleasant to some people who are sensitive to the taste or smell. Additionally, some people may experience mild stomach pain after taking the supplement due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. You can help combat these side effects by taking krill oil with food. If the burps still persist, you can freeze the softgels or take them at the same time as a digestive enzyme.

    Finally, if you are allergic to shellfish, you should not take krill oil, since doing so could trigger an allergic reaction.

    What is Fish Oil?

    Fish oil is a natural supplement derived from fatty fish that is often used to improve general health. It is believed to be beneficial due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in it.

    Fish oil supplements are commonly taken as capsules or liquids, with liquid forms being more bioavailable than capsule forms. People may also consume fish oil through their diet by eating fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines, herring, or mackerel, all of which contain high concentrations of essential fatty acids. Fish oil can also be added to food products like yogurt or smoothies as an additional source of omega-3s.

    Benefits of fish oil

    First and foremost, fish oil has been long known to promote heart health. Omega-3 from fish oil has been extensively researched for its beneficial effects on the heart. In fact, The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish, particularly fatty fish, per week.

    Fish oil has also been used to promote brain health. Specifically, the fatty acid DHA is the predominant essential fatty acid in the brain and eyes. Studies have found that the supplementation of DHA can support cognitive function in school-aged children.

    Lastly, research has found that people who take fish oil supplements may be promote healthy eyes. Omega-3 supports healthy vision in high doses. This study, reported positive results with omega 3 oil and eye health with participants taking supplements that contain 180mg of EPA and 120mg of DHA.

    Potential side effects

    The side effects of fish oil are similar to the ones experienced by krill oil. The most common include potential digestive discomfort and fishy burps. Taking fish oil with food can often reduce these unwanted symptoms. If the burps still persist, you can freeze the softgels or take them at the same time as a digestive enzyme.

    What's the Difference Between Krill Oil and Fish Oil?

    Krill oil and fish oil are both popular supplements, but which one is better for your needs? To help you decide, let’s take a look at the differences between krill oil and fish oil.

    Krill oil is derived from tiny shrimp-like crustaceans and contains a potent amount of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). It also contains astaxanthin, a pigment with antioxidant-like properties that helps protect cells from damage. The omega-3s in krill oil may be more easily absorbed by the body than those found in fish oil according to results from two studies however more studies are needed. Additionally, krill oil usually does not have a strong fishy taste or smell like some forms of fish oils do. However, fish oil tends to be more accessible and cost effective. Let’s break down these differences in a bit more detail.

    Krill oil has more antioxidants

    Krill oil has higher levels of naturally occurring carotenoids with antioxidant-like effectsthan fish oil, making it a beneficial supplement for those looking to increase their antioxidant level. The most potent antioxidant found in krill oil is astaxanthin. Antioxidants are natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. They are essential for the survival of all living things.

    Because of krill oil's high antioxidant content, studies have found that supplementation with krill oil following high-intensity exercise can help manage oxidative stress. A recent study found that after 6 months of supplementation with 4 g of krill oil per day, participants found their muscle function and size were both boosted.

    Krill oil is an affordable supplement option for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want to take advantage of its many benefits without breaking the bank!

    Krill oil may taste better

    Another reason that krill oil has become somewhat more popular than fish oil is due to its taste. This natural oil extracted from krill, a shrimp-like crustacean, is said to have a much better taste than its fishy counterpart.

    If your fish or krill oil smells rancid, it could be due to excessive oxidation. If this is the case, you should purchase a new batch. To avoid oxidation and spoilage of these oils, they should be stored in a cool area in an air-tight container.

    Krill oil may be absorbed better

    Recent research suggests that krill oil may be more absorbable than fish oil. The main difference between the two types of oils lies in the way they are metabolized by the body. However, although krill oil may be easier absorbed by the body, studies have found that supplementing with fish oil and krill oil over a 4-week period can result in very similar levels of EPA and DHA.

    Fish oil is more accessible and cheaper

    Fish oil is much more accessible in comparison to krill oil, which is why many health supplement users turn to this product. Fish oil is harvested from various sources of fish, including salmon and mackerel, and is much cheaper than the harvesting of krill.

    This cost-effective option makes fish oil hugely appealing to many who are looking for an affordable source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil from Care/of is sustainable because it is cold-pressed from wild-caught Alaskan salmon, free of pollutants and heavy metals.

    Other Sources of Omega-3s

    Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our health. However, not many people are aware of the different sources that can provide us with these healthy fats. The adequate intake of omega-3s is considered 1.1-1.6g/day.

    Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in both plant and animal-based foods, and understanding their sources is important for a balanced diet. Plant-based omega-3 foods include flaxseeds, chia seeds, nuts such as walnuts and almonds, and avocados. Microalgae is another great source of plant-based omega-3s. Care/of carries a microalgae supplement that is a wonderful option for those following vegan diets.

    Animal-based omega-3 sources include oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. They can also be found in certain shellfish and cod liver.

    The Bottom Line

    In summary, fish oil and krill oil are both great ways to support overall health with omega-3s. These supplements are a good way to bridge the nutrient gap you may have if you don’t consume fish as a part of your regular diet.

    Here is a bottom-line comparison between these two popular oils. Krill oil is extracted from small crustaceans found in cold ocean waters, while fish oil is taken from various species of fish such as salmon and mackerel. Krill oil contains more astaxanthin than fish oil, which is a phytonutrient that has antioxidant-like properties that can help protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. While krill oil poses various benefits, fish oil is still widely consumed and favored due to its accessibility and cost-effectiveness.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Jordana Tobelem, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Jordana Tobelem is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others become the best versions of themselves through proper nutrition education. Jordana is passionate about promoting lifestyle changes through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior to create a superior quality of life. She uses her experience in the clinical field of dietetics to provide consulting services to an array of healthcare brands and companies. Jordana loves finding the most current research in nutrition to create meaningful content to share with her clients. Jordana has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2018 and also holds certifications in both Personal Training and Health Coaching.