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Is krill oil better than fish oil for omega-3: Risks?

Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA can be found in krill oil and fish oil supplements. While both krill and fish oil have health benefits, their origins, prices, and advantages may vary.

Oily fish, such as tuna, herring, and sardines, provide fish oil. Krill oil is derived from krill, a little shrimp-like animal.

Fish oil supplements are often yellow or gold in colour, whereas krill oil is a characteristic red tint. The cost of krill oil is usually higher than the cost of fish oil.

While each supplement type contains omega-3 fatty acids, there are different dangers and advantages associated with each supplement type. Continue reading to learn more.


krill oil
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in krill oil and fish oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in both krill oil and fish oil, making them complementary. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two of the most well-known and useful omega-3 fatty acids available (DHA).

When a person consumes these omega-3 fatty acids from fish, they have been shown to have beneficial benefits on general heart health as well as a reduction in the risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease in humans.

Even though research has shown that eating entire fish can have heart-protective effects, there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence that taking omega-3 supplements has the same effects as eating whole fish.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), taking omega-3 supplements has a number of distinct benefits, including the following:

  • Lowering high triglyceride levels in the blood. The elevated levels of triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • Relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be beneficial in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
  • Symptoms of dry eye are alleviated. Some people take omega-3 supplements to help improve eye moisture and reduce the symptoms of dry eye disease. Omega-3 supplements have been shown to be effective. However, large-scale studies have indicated that using omega-3 supplements is no more effective than using a placebo in the treatment of ocular dryness, indicating that more study is needed.

Research result

A study conducted in 2011 examined the benefits of fish oil with krill oil, concluding that they both resulted in equivalent quantities of EPA and DHA in blood plasma. People, on the other hand, consumed 3 grammes (g) of krill oil and just 1.8 grammes (g) of fish oil, which may suggest that a person has to take almost twice as much krill oil as fish oil to get the same benefits as a fish oil supplement.

According to the authors of the study, 30–65 percent of the fatty acids in krill oil are stored as phospholipids, whereas the fatty acids in fish oils are largely kept as triglycerides.

According to the researchers, the body may be able to use fatty acids stored as phospholipids more readily if they are available. Despite this potential, it is possible that a person will need to consume more krill oil capsules than fish oil in order to achieve an identical dose of omega-3s.

The amount and concentration of omega-3 fatty acids found in krill and fish oil varies depending on the source of the product. Some krill oil makers assert that because the omega-3s in krill oil are better absorbed than those in fish oil, a lower concentration is just as effective as a higher quantity. However, there is no current evidence that this assertion is correct at this time.

After 4 weeks of taking only one of the two supplements, a small-scale study published in 2013 discovered that when krill oil was consumed, the amount of EPA and DHA in the blood was higher than when fish oil was consumed by the participants. Despite the fact that both supplements boosted amounts of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, they also increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, in the blood.

Studies, on the other hand, are not all consistent. After four weeks of supplementation, a 2015 study found no significant changes in the levels of krill oil and fish oil in the blood.

While some study suggests that krill oil may be more readily absorbed by the body than fish oil, other studies have found no difference between the two types of oil. As a result, additional investigation is required.

It should be noted that the aforementioned research only examines the effects of the oil on blood levels, which is only one indicator of their possible advantages. The effectiveness of these items for the specific purposes that individuals are interested in, such as bodybuilding or heart health promotion, has not been studied to see if one is superior to the other in any way.


Bad breath
Omega-3 supplements do not pose any substantial hazards, however they may cause a person to have bad breath as a side effect.

Omega-3 supplements, such as krill oil and fish oils, do not appear to have any significant negative effects when taken as directed by a physician.

Minor side effects may include the following:

Omega-3 supplements, such as krill oil and fish oil, may also interact badly with blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin (Coumadin), if used in high doses.

Due to the fact that omega-3 fatty acids contain minor anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties, this is the case. However, in order for these negative interactions to occur, a person needs typically consume between 3 and 6 g of fish oil per day.

Recommendations for dosage

When it comes to omega-3 supplements, the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) cautions that there is no set upper limit. Taking more than 900 milligrammes (mg) of EPA and 600 milligrammes (mg) of DHA per day, on the other hand, can decrease a person’s immune system by reducing natural inflammatory responses.

According to the ODS, daily intakes of omega-3 fatty acids for men are around 1.6 g per day and 1.1 g per day for women, respectively.

The ODS also recommends that dietary supplements should not include more than 2 g of EPA and DHA per day. A person should carefully study the supplement labels to learn how much of each chemical is contained in each capsule before taking it.


rheumatoid arthritis
Omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

As reported by the ODS, an estimated 7.8 percent of adults and 1.1 percent of children in the United States consume omega-3 fatty acid supplements in the form of fish oil, krill oil, or animal-free alternatives such as algal oil or flaxseed oil, among other types of omega-3 fatty acids.

If krill oil is as effective as or better than fish oil, the scientific evidence is still equivocal at this time. So far, the majority of the research into the health effects of omega-3 fatty acids has been conducted using fish oil as a model. At the moment, there isn’t a lot of information available on krill oil.

It has been shown that taking omega-3 supplements can be beneficial in terms of lowering triglyceride levels and alleviating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. In terms of whether they can minimise heart disease or improve general cardiovascular health to the same level as eating whole fish, the evidence is equivocal at this time.

According to the National Institutes of Health, eating fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, can provide a broader diversity of nutrients than supplementation and has been shown to promote cardiovascular health.

Finally, taking either krill oil or fish oil supplements can help increase a person’s overall levels of omega-3 fatty acids, while it is currently unknown whether one is superior to the other in terms of effectiveness.

Obianuju Chukwu

She has a degree in pharmacy and has worked in the field as a pharmacist in a hospital. Teaching, blogging, and producing scientific articles are some of her interests. She enjoys writing on various topics relating to health and medicine, including health and beauty-related natural treatments, the nutritional worth of various foods, and mental wellness.