Krill and Fish Oil: Is One Better For You?

Krill oil comes from a certain species of krill. Krill is a marine crustacean that bears a resemblance to shrimp, and are found across all the oceans of the world. Fish oil is derived out of the tissues of oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, hilsa and trout. Both krill oil as well as fish oil come with a variety of health benefits. The debate is whether one is better than the other. Krill oil is fairly new to the health scene and has not been studied over a long period of time like fish oil has been. But krill oil’s concentration of fatty acids are in higher quantities than that of fish oil, so some research does give evidence that in some cases it may offer slightly better health benefits. Only time will tell whether fish oil or krill oil is the better choice.

Krill oil is typically taken on a daily basis much like fish oil at 1-3 grams. Krill oil offers three significant nutrients: astaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids connected to phospholipids, and omega-3 fatty acids that bear a resemblance to those found in fish oil. Astaxanthin is a nutrient that has antioxidant benefits, while phospholipids are known as a class of lipids, there importance being that they are able to form lipid bilayers. 

Krill oil can provide health benefits to people who take them on a consistent basis. Krill oil can benefit women in particular by reducing the emotional symptoms accompanied with menopause and also lessen the discomfort and pain from a condition known as dysmenorrhea, causes uterine pain during menstruation. Some studies have also suggested that krill oil is helpful for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Krill oil has not been thoroughly tested for short and long term effects when taken on a daily basis. A few examples of the side effects from daily consumption of krill oil are diarrhea, indigestion, allergic reactions and adverse reactions when combined with other medications. 

Fish oil has been used for medicinal purposes much longer than krill oil has. Its short and long term effects have also been researched and analyzed at a more in depth level than krill oil. One of the reason’s for krill oil’s rise in popularity is because fish oil has some unpleasant side effects. Fish oils are highly polyunsaturated and can become rancid rather quickly. Proper storage is essential as to not cause the fish oil to become spoiled.

Fish oil comes from oily fish’s tissues, and is valued mainly for its omega-3 fatty acid content. Fish oil features eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, as well as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, both of which are precursors of something called eicosanoids that lessen inflammation in the body. It also plays a major role in reducing the plaque and platelet (blood clot) formation in arteries that can cause heart attacks. It can also help with dry eyes, glaucoma and depression. Fish oil has also proved to be helpful for people with ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and other thought-process related conditions.

Numerous research studies have determined that the fatty acids in fish oil have anti-cancer properties. Both the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association both recommend the ingestion of fish oil. The American Heart Association recommends that people take in 1 gram of fish oil each day, while the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends that people who have high blood pressure, secondary cardiovascular disease and hypertriglyceridemia should also ingest fish oil on a regular basis. However, the U.S. National Institutes of Health warn that the doses of fish oil should not go over 3 grams per day because there is evidence to suggest that this dose may actually inflict strokes in people.

Some of the other health concerns with fish oil is that the oil extracted should come from the body of the fish and not its liver. Since a fish’s liver contains an active type of vitamin A, injesting fish oil on a regular basis could increase the Vitamin A levels in the body to a toxic or even potentially dangerous level causing hypervitaminosis A. Eating fish oil in high quantities, over the recommended dosage of no more than 3 grams per day can cause increased symptoms for conditions such as depression, diabetes, and bipolar disorder. Another concern is the high levels of PCB in fish oil supplements. PCB is an organic compound that has been used extensively in coolants and dielectric fluids, which is not only toxic but it is seen as a pollutant. It is possible that krill oil may also have similar toxins that if taken in large quantities could be potentially dangerous.

Studies have shown that the possible benefits of Omega-3 are helpful against rheumatoid arthritis and also cardiac arrhythmias. Omega-3 is also seen as having positive effects against breast cancer as well as prostate cancer. Other studies have found that people who ingested Omega-3 at recommended dosages also had a higher functioning immune system than those who failed to ingest Omega-3. Omega-3 had positive effects on people who had myocardial infarctions, according to a study published in Lancet.

Krill oil could very well replace fish oil in the future if it offers the same benefits without the harsh negatives. Until more research is completed it is advised that any supplement is taken with caution, at the consent of a doctor and a the appropriate dosage requirement stated on the bottle. Both krill and fish oil offer many health benefits for an individual but they must make sure that they do not go over board or use it for any kind of self-medicating practices as that could lead to a much bigger problem.