Krill oil has gained a lot of attention in recent times. But what makes it any different to fish oil? We delve deeper to understand just why this popular source of omega 3 is worth the extra investment.
For many years, we have been told that we should be taking some kind of fish oil supplement, for our general health and wellbeing. Most of us don’t really know why we should be taking it, but because our parents or a reputable health magazine told us we should, we do as we’re told.
Whoever told you to do this is right. Fish oil in any guise is very beneficial to health, as it is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, called EPA and EHA. These are required for many different bodily functions, as well as keeping our brains and eyes working well. Without a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids in our diet, our health will certainly suffer.
Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids Through Fish Oil or Krill Oil
Why should you be taking omega 3? Let’s give a quick recap before we move onto the main body of our article. According to research, omega-3 fatty acids can help with the following:
- Help to fight depression and anxiety
- Help to improve eye health
- May help to improve brain health of an unborn baby
- Helps to reduce the chances of developing heart disease
- Can reduce blood pressure
- Reduces the levels of bad cholesterol, and increases the good
- Can help to reduce inflammation
- Helps to reduce metabolic syndrome
- Can help to fight autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis
- Helps to fight Alzheimer’s Disease and mental issues related to age
- May help to prevent certain types of cancer
- May help to improve joint and bone health overall
- Helps to reduce the amount of fat in your liver
- May promote a better quality of sleep
- Beneficial for skin
- May help to reduce menstrual pain in women
For many years, there has only been one choice – fish oil. A fish oil supplement is usually something you usually take once per day, and you swallow the capsule whole. The two downsides? The capsules are large, which can make it hard to swallow. They also tend to leave behind a rather fishy aftertaste.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is a supplement taken to give someone a higher amount of omega 3 fatty acid benefit in their diet. As we mentioned before, not everyone likes fish enough to eat it on a regular basis, and as a result, a supplement is the only option.
Fish oil has been around for years, and it is extracted from several different types of fish, including cod, herring, tuna, and other fish which are considered ‘oily’. The oil comes from the flesh of these fish, and as such, it is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA.
Fish oil supplements are very easy to come by and are available in most health care stores and even supermarkets.
What is Krill Oil?
On the other hand, krill oil is a relative newcomer to the supplement world. Krill oil is another omega 3 supplement and it works in a very similar way to regular fish oil. The difference is where it comes from. Krill oil is extracted from krill, a very small crustacean which is found in the Antarctic Ocean. Krill is the food of choice of many sea birds, whales, seals, and penguins.
Krill oil is also an excellent source of DHA and EPA (omega 3 fatty acids), but it is less easy to find on the general market, because it is so new. You will usually only find krill oil online at the moment, however this could change in the future, as more people choose it over its original rival.
What is The Difference Between Krill Oil And Fish Oil?
Both fish oil and krill oil are rich in EPA and DHA, omega 3 fatty acids, but the main difference comes down to is structure.
Fish oil’s main structure is a triglyceride, whereas krill oil’s main structure is a phospholipid. It is thought that phospholipids are absorbed into the body quicker and easier than a triglyceride. As such, one main benefit in the camp of krill oil is that it is absorbed faster, and therefore the benefits arrive faster too.
Krill oil supplements have a red tinge to them, and this is because krill oil has a naturally occurring antioxidant contained within it, called astaxanthin. This has many health benefits of its own, which we’ll discuss below. Fish oil on the other hand doesn’t contain this antioxidant.
Aside from their general make up, the added antioxidant, the colour, and price/ease of finding the supplements, both krill oil and fish oil have the same benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.
Having said that, the differences don’t really stop there in terms of pitting the two against each other. Let’s compare a little more, lay the differences out in full, and see where we end up.
Krill Oil is Absorbed Into the Body Faster
We mentioned the krill oil is a phospholipid in its structure, where as fish oil is a triglyceride. This means that the body absorbs krill oil faster than regular fish oil, however the exact benefit of this added speed is still to be discovered, as more studies take place.
Because krill oil is relatively new, we don’t know absolutely everything there is to know yet, and that probably wont come for a few years yet. There are undoubted benefits of krill oil over fish oil, but it comes down to personal choice in the end.
Astaxanthin Has Additional Benefits
We mentioned that krill oil contains a naturally occurring antioxidant called astaxanthin, but fish oil does not. Astaxanthin is quite powerful and it is this which gives the supplements that iconic red tinge.
Again, the overall benefits of astaxanthin are still being discovered, but many believe that it also helps to give krill oil supplements a longer shelf life, by protecting it for a longer amount of time.
Fish Oil is Cheaper and Easier to Find
Regular fish oil is far cheaper than krill oil, and much easier to find on the general market. Krill oil is mostly only available online and at a higher price. Whether this changes or not in the future remains to be seen, but for now, the harvesting process of krill means that prices are higher. The newness of the supplements also means that they haven’t made it onto the high street or into supermarkets just yet.
On the other hand, fish oil supplements have ben around for a long time, and as a result the prices are much lower, and you can find them quite easily too. For many people, price is a deal breaker, and that is why fish oil remains popular.
Krill Oil Doesn’t Have a Fishy Aftertaste
This is a big difference between the two. We mentioned earlier on that regular fish oil supplements are quite large and as a result, you may have a fishy aftertaste to contend with. This often puts people off taking the supplements, and some people find them difficult to swallow whole.
Krill oil supplements on the other hand have no taste at all, and are much smaller than regular fish oil supplement capsules. This is a major tick in the krill oil box, and can be another deal breaker for many people. Having said that, one of the side effects of krill oil is a slightly fishy taste, but whether or not you actually develop this side effects depends on you as an individual.
Which is The Winner – Fish Oil or Krill Oil?
The final choice you make is yours. It all comes down to personal preference and it really depends upon the main factors – whether you are prepared to deal with a fishy aftertaste for a cheaper price and an easier to find product, or whether you are more about not having to deal with that aftertaste, and you don’t mind spending a little more to gain a few extra benefits.
Many experts believe that krill oil is a superior product to fish oil, but that are many more studies going on, and more to come, which will either prove or refute those claims. Both products have fantastic benefits to overall health and wellbeing, and both are fantastic ways to give your body the omega 3 fatty acids it needs, if you’re not the world’s biggest fish-eating fan. Not everyone is, and if you’re really not into oily fish of any kind, or you struggle to get at least two portions per week, then supplement is the best choice for you.
If we had to really pick a winner, it would be krill oil, for the additional benefits and the lack of a fishy aftertaste. Despite that, regular fish oil supplements are still a fantastic choice and one which is certainly far, far better than nothing at all.
Always Speak to Your Doctor Before Taking Any Dietary Supplements
Whilst further studies are needed to really ascertain the true side effects of krill oil, we should point out that before you start taking any kind of supplement at all, you should speak to your doctor. This includes fish oil and krill oil supplements.
If you have a shellfish allergy or an allergy to any type of fish or seafood, you should speak to your doctor before you even consider taking a supplement such as this. In addition, if you are currently taking any medication to thin your blood, or you have any type of blood or clotting disorder, you should also talk to your doctor. The reason is that such supplements are linked to affected clotting, so it is always better to be safer than sorry, and talk things out with a health professional ahead of time.
If you are given the green light to begin taking an omega 3 supplement, you should then shop around for the best choice for you. Everyone is individual and that means that one size certainly doesn’t fit all. By being careful with your final choice and doing your research, including reading reviews, you will find a good fit, which gives you all the benefits you have been looking for.