In the last couple of decades, the nutrition industry has seen an exponential increase in the use of supplements believed to have unique health benefits.
Among the most sought after supplements is fish oil which has been dubbed among the healthiest things to take.
The reason? Omega 3 fatty acids. The good type of fats.
The omega 3 fats has been shown to have numerous health benefits including lowering cholesterol, helping with inflammation, skin conditions, heart health among others. This makes them the type of fats we should add to our diets.
This brings us to the topic of krill oil vs. fish oil.
Krill oil has come up as a more recent alternative to fish oil as far as a way to get the essential fatty acids and omega 3 supplementation that has so many health benefits. It is said to be better absorbed by the body and you need to take less of it. The problem is, it is a more expensive choice.
Fish Oil vs. Krill Oil: Head to Head Comparison
Fish oil is one of the most popularly used supplements. Fish oils contain the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which have been found to be beneficial to health and well-being in many ways. These same fatty acids can be found in krill oil as well. However, there are risks as well as benefits to the use consumption of either.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is most often extracted from oily fish, which have oil in the area near their gut as well as in their tissues. Some examples of these fish are salmon, mackerel and herring.
Other oily fish include predatory fish such as swordfish and shark. However, predatory are not a preferred source of fish oil because of a high risk of contaminants such as mercury.
What is Krill Oil?
Krill oil is extracted from krill in a similar fashion which are small shrimp-like creatures harvested from the Antarctic Ocean.
Krill is often seen as the more sustainable source of Omega-3’s over fish oil because the harvesting of krill is highly regulated by organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, who allow a very small percentage of the krill population to be harvested each year.
However, critics claim that because krill must be kept alive or frozen until the oil is harvested the production cost of krill is higher than that of fish oil. Krill oil costs on average $5-$15 more per bottle than fish oil.
Benefits of Taking Fish Oil or Krill Oil
It is important that our diets provide Omega-3 fatty acids as they are essential to human health but are not produced by the body.
- Many people can get the recommended amount of Omega-3’s from eating well-rounded, nutritional meals. However, for people who do not eat fish, whether because of lack of access, allergies or of health concerns, still need to get the Omega-3’s in some form.
- These fatty acids assist in the regulation of blood pressure and thyroid activity, as well as promoting healthy brain function, hormone production and cholesterol breakdown.
- Using either of the two supplements could lead to reduced blood coagulation as the fatty acids in the supplements contain blood thinning agents.
- While krill oil has the added benefit of containing the antioxidant astaxanthin, which is thought to have a wide array of health benefits of its own, it also carries an added risk to anyone who is allergic to crustaceans, as krill is from this family of sea-life.
A Final Look
While krill has all of the same basic benefits of fish oil, some people believe that krill is a superior product because it has been bio-chemically shown to absorb into the human system more quickly and efficiently than fish oil.
Fish oil, on the other hand, has been extensively testing and regulated for many years, creating a higher level of trust in the product than that of krill oil.
- When it comes to their effects on cholesterol levels, HDL & LDL levels, and blood glucose, krill oil has the advantage as it lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol better, improves HDL cholesterol more and reduces blood sugar more on average compared to fish oil.
- As far as Omega 3 is concerned, however, fish oil wins in that category as it contains more of that healthy fatty acid.
This means that if you’re looking to improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels, krill oil may be a better, albeit more expensive choice. If you’re looking for the overall health effects provided by Omega 3 fatty acids, then going with the fish oil, is not only more economical but provides other coverage as well.