What’s Best? Krill Oil or Fish Oil

Updated on February 14th, 2020
krill oil vs fish oil

When looking for the best omega-3 supplements, you may come across the krill oil vs fish oil debate. Both the oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for your body. Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish and krill oil can be classified as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which support a healthy brain functioning(1) and heart health amongst other benefits.

Let’s first understand what krill and fish oil is- Krill oil is obtained from tiny, cold-water, shrimp-like crustaceans known as krill. On the other hand, fish oil is extracted from fatty fishes like herring, sardines, salmon, and albacore tuna. Krill oil is red while fish oil is either gold or yellow. Apart from the color markers, there is a marked difference between krill and fish oil.

What Are the Benefits of Krill and Fish Oil?

Given that both the oils are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, let us first have a look at the key benefits offered by this bio compound. Here are the possible advantages of having sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in your system:

  •  Studies have discovered that regularly consuming omega-3 decreases your chances of developing anxiety or depression. Further, those already struggling with the same can notice an improvement in their symptoms upon consuming omega-3 fatty acids. Individuals struggling with psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia will notice mood stabilization with omega-3 supplementation. It also helps in curbing violent behaviors.
  • Considering DHA is a major structural component of the retina in the eye, the deficiency of DHA could lead to various vision-related conditions. Experts have discovered links between reduced risk of macular degeneration due to the consumption of omega-3.
  • Omega-3 is essential for the healthy development of infants and babies. Supplementation offers benefits like higher intelligence, fewer behavioral problems, better problem-solving, communication and social skills, and decreased risk of developmental delay.
  • It boosts heart health by reducing triglycerides, controlling blood pressure, raising good HDL cholesterol levels, preventing harmful blood clots, preventing plaque deposition in the arteries, and reduce inflammation.
  • Those suffering from Metabolic Syndrome will notice improved insulin resistance, reduced inflammation, and fewer heart disease risk factors when consuming omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Researchers have observed that those having a higher omega-3 intake display lower inflammation markers. It is also rather effective against non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) and helps in easing menstrual pain.
  • Omega-3s can help fight autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, asthma, and even psoriasis.
  • Scientists have discovered the connection between low DHA levels and corresponding low melatonin levels. Studies indicate that omega-3s help enhances the length and quality of sleep.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids help battle signs of aging displayed by the skin and also reduces the occurrence of age-related mental decline through conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

[ Read: Benefits of Fish Oil ]

Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil: Which Scores Better?

The best krill oil and fish oil are capable of offering similar health benefits considering that they are both rich in omega-3 fatty acids, predominantly DHA and EPA. However, it must be noted that the structural composition of krill oil omega-3 fatty acids is different from fish oil. Thus, there is a difference in the way the body makes use of krill oil compared to fish oil.

Let us see how the oils fare when pitted against each other.

1. Krill Oil Is Easier to Absorb

Even though krill oil and fish oil are both excellent sources of EPA and DHA, studies(2) indicate that the human body may absorb krill oil better than fish oil. This is because fish oil contains fatty acids in the form of triglycerides, while krill oil contains the same in the phospholipid form.

Experts believe that phospholipids are more effective and easier to absorb than triglycerides. Thus, even though one consumes a lower dosage of krill oil compared to fish oil, the increase in EPA and DHA in both cases will be near about the same. This proves the potency of krill oil against fish oil.

2. Krill Oil Contains More Antioxidants

Krill oil contains astaxanthin, which is a highly powerful antioxidant. On the other hand, there are only a few fish oil with astaxanthin. In addition to repairing the damage caused by oxidative stress, astaxanthin also imparts anti-inflammatory properties, which improve heart health(3).

In fact, astaxanthin is responsible for granting the deep shade or orange in krill oil.

[ Read: Benefits of Krill Oil ]

3. Krill Oil Is Better for Heart Health

Turmeric Heart Health

Krill oil vs fish oil for cholesterol- One needs to remember the vital role played by astaxanthin in improving heart health. It not only increases the efficacy of krill oil but also helps it in outperforming fish oil.

In a controlled study(4), it was discovered that both krill oil and fish oil improved the risk factors associated with heart conditions. However, krill oil was found to be more potent in lowering blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and bad LDL cholesterol. This trend continued even though the dosage of krill oil was lower than that of fish oil.

4. Fish Oil Is Cheaper and Easily Available

The greatest advantage of fish oil over krill oil is that it is not only readily available but also cheaper than krill oil. While factoring in the expenses involved in extracting krill oil as compared to fish oil, it becomes evident that the end-product costs as much as ten times more than that of fish oil. This does not mean that fish oil is cheap; it is only cheaper and more accessible.

Potential Side Effects of Krill Oil and Fish Oil

Supplementation of krill oil and fish oil is considered to be safe when consumed within the recommended dosage. Here are the potential downsides to consuming krill oil or fish oil:

  • Krill or fish oil can cause stomach-issues and gastrointestinal upset in some individuals, which can be avoided by consuming it with meals.
  • The oils can increase your bleeding risk, lower blood pressure, and impact blood sugar levels, which can be adverse for those suffering from conditions like low blood pressure, hypoglycemia, and diabetes.


Krill oil and fish oil are both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which the brain requires for proper functioning. Supplementation may help in reaching your recommended daily dosage of omega-3 fatty acids, which can grant you a wealth of health benefits. While krill oil is considered to be more effective, fish oil is more affordable and readily available. With the comparison outlined above, you can decide what best suits your requirements.

[ Read: Benefits of Tea Tree Oil ]


1. What is the difference between krill oil and fish oil?

The key differences include:

  • Krill oil is extracted from cold-water crustaceans known as krill. On the other hand, fish oil is extracted from fatty fish
  • Krill oil is a deep orange, while fish oil is yellow or golden
  • Krill oil has lesser chances of being contaminated with mercury when compared to fish oil

2. Is krill oil better than fish oil?

Krill oil is proven to be more beneficial than fish oil, mainly because it can be absorbed easily.

3. Is krill oil the same as fish oil?

Krill oil is not the same as fish oil; the differences between the two have been highlighted above.

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