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Is Omega 3 Krill Oil better for you than fish oil?

Is Omega 3 Krill Oil better for you than fish oil?

Krill Oil: what is it and where does it come from?

Krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the icy depths of the Antarctic ocean.  They are a key food source for baleen whales (e.g. humpback whales or blue whales), which can eat up to 3,600kg1 of krill in a single day.

Krill are harvested within strict environmental sustainability regulations, which is closely monitored by the independent body, CCAMLR2.

Krill contain an oil that is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids – specifically Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).  These are the same fatty acids that are found in fish oil, and are responsible for all of fish oil’s therapeutic effects.  So why take Krill Oil rather than fish oil?

What the Krill Oil research says

Many of the benefits of Krill Oil are inferred from those of fish oil.  After all, we know that Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and help to maintain heart health and healthy cholesterol levels3,4.  So it only makes sense that the Omega 3 in Krill Oil would have the same effects.

However, some researchers have looked at Krill Oil directly. One double-blind, placebo controlled study showed that Krill Oil might be more effective at balancing cholesterol levels than fish oil5.  Other, less conclusive research has investigated the effects of Krill Oil on conditions such as PMS and arthritis.

Phospholipids: the key Krill Oil difference

One reason that Krill Oil is said to be better than fish oil is the form that its Omega 3 fatty acids take.  In fish oil, the Omega 3s appear as “marine triglyericides”.  In Krill Oil, however, the EPA and DHA occur as “phospholipids”.  

These two forms of Omega 3 have been shown to digest differently,  with preliminary research showing that the phospholipids may be more bioavailable6.  

A second study compared the Omega 3 serum levels of participants who’d taken fish oil with those of people who’d taken Krill Oil7. This study found that even though the Krill Oil dose contained significantly less Omega 3, the plasma levels for both sets of participants were equal.  This strongly supports the theory that the Omega 3 fatty acids in the krill oil were better absorbed than those in the fish oil.

Conclusion: is Krill Oil a better Omega 3 supplement than fish oil?

At this stage, it seems premature to conclude that one supplement is better than the other. Although Krill Oil contains proportionally less Omega 3, the fact that what it does contain is packaged within phospholipids seems to increase the bioavailability.

What is known, however, is that both types of oil are good Omega 3 sources, and that most of us need more Omega 3 in our diets. So whichever oil you choose, you’re likely to be doing your body a favour.

1http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/baleen/diet.htm
2http://www.ccamlr.org/en/fisheries/fisheries
3http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21684
4http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet
5Bunea R, El Farrah K, Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. Altern Med Rev. 2004;9:420-428.
6http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/759467
7Ulven S.M. Kirkhus B. Lamglait A. Basu S. Elind E. Haider T. Berge K. Vik, H. Pedersen J.I.  Metabolic effects of krill oil are essentially similar to those of fish oil but at lower dose of EPA and DHA, in healthy volunteers  Lipids (2011) 46:1 (37-46).

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Is Omega 3 Krill Oil better for you than fish oil?

What is krill oil? Is it a better supplement than fish oil? Read the research & comparisons here to make your own decision.

Krill Oil: what is it and where does it come from?

Krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the icy depths of the Antarctic ocean.  They are a key food source for baleen whales (e.g. humpback whales or blue whales), which can eat up to 3,600kg1 of krill in a single day.

Krill are harvested within strict environmental sustainability regulations, which is closely monitored by the independent body, CCAMLR2.

Krill contain an oil that is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids – specifically Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).  These are the same fatty acids that are found in fish oil, and are responsible for all of fish oil’s therapeutic effects.  So why take Krill Oil rather than fish oil?

What the Krill Oil research says

Many of the benefits of Krill Oil are inferred from those of fish oil.  After all, we know that Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and help to maintain heart health and healthy cholesterol levels3,4.  So it only makes sense that the Omega 3 in Krill Oil would have the same effects.

However, some researchers have looked at Krill Oil directly. One double-blind, placebo controlled study showed that Krill Oil might be more effective at balancing cholesterol levels than fish oil5.  Other, less conclusive research has investigated the effects of Krill Oil on conditions such as PMS and arthritis.

Phospholipids: the key Krill Oil difference

One reason that Krill Oil is said to be better than fish oil is the form that its Omega 3 fatty acids take.  In fish oil, the Omega 3s appear as “marine triglyericides”.  In Krill Oil, however, the EPA and DHA occur as “phospholipids”.  

These two forms of Omega 3 have been shown to digest differently,  with preliminary research showing that the phospholipids may be more bioavailable6.  

A second study compared the Omega 3 serum levels of participants who’d taken fish oil with those of people who’d taken Krill Oil7. This study found that even though the Krill Oil dose contained significantly less Omega 3, the plasma levels for both sets of participants were equal.  This strongly supports the theory that the Omega 3 fatty acids in the krill oil were better absorbed than those in the fish oil.

Conclusion: is Krill Oil a better Omega 3 supplement than fish oil?

At this stage, it seems premature to conclude that one supplement is better than the other. Although Krill Oil contains proportionally less Omega 3, the fact that what it does contain is packaged within phospholipids seems to increase the bioavailability.

What is known, however, is that both types of oil are good Omega 3 sources, and that most of us need more Omega 3 in our diets. So whichever oil you choose, you’re likely to be doing your body a favour.

1http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/baleen/diet.htm
2http://www.ccamlr.org/en/fisheries/fisheries
3http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21684
4http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet
5Bunea R, El Farrah K, Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. Altern Med Rev. 2004;9:420-428.
6http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/759467
7Ulven S.M. Kirkhus B. Lamglait A. Basu S. Elind E. Haider T. Berge K. Vik, H. Pedersen J.I.  Metabolic effects of krill oil are essentially similar to those of fish oil but at lower dose of EPA and DHA, in healthy volunteers  Lipids (2011) 46:1 (37-46).

Is Omega 3 Krill Oil better for you than fish oil?
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