Krill Oil Vs. Fish Oil: The Face-Off

 By Anthoney J. Andersen –

Whether you are an exercise guru who works out four to five times a week (or more), or just someone looking for ways to improve their health, taking care of your body as you age is a vital component to living a long and prosperous life.

But what are some of the key elements to maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle?

One of the crucial factors to a healthy diet – especially as we get older – is to consume foods that will help you reduce your chances of experiencing certain cardiovascular diseases, such as a heart attack or stroke.

One of the most nutritional sources that will help decrease your chances of encountering one of those life-threatening diseases, are omega-3 fatty acids. Two of the most popular fatty acids are krill oil and fish oil. But which one will help you sustain a longer, and healthier life?

Let’s find out.


Don’t worry, your eyes are working just fine. The above statement is correct – not all fat is bad for you. In fact, omega-3 fatty acid is the one type of fats that you do not want to cut back on.

According to WebMD, omega-3 fatty acids are found in the fatty layers of cold water fish, shellfish, plant and nut oils, English walnuts, flaxseed and algae oils and fortified foods. Once consumed, omega-3s are converted into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

DHA and EPA are polyunsaturated fats that play extremely important roles in the body, specifically in the vision development and brain function of children.

Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, or those at risk of – or who have – cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death.

Other ways omega-3 fatty acids contribute to your overall health, include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Fish oil supplements can curb stiffness and joint pain.
  • Depression: Some researchers have found that cultures that eat foods with high levels of omega-3s have lower levels of depression. Fish oil also seems to boost the effects of antidepressants and may help the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: Some research suggests that omega-3s may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and have a positive effect on gradual memory loss linked to aging. However, that’s not certain yet.
  • Helps with cholesterol: People who follow a Mediterranean-style diet, tend to have higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which helps promote heart health. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, several studies have shown that fish oil supplements help reduce triglyceride levels (fats in the blood). Walnuts, which are high in alpha linolenic acid (ALA) – which can convert to omega-3s in the body – have been reported to lower total cholesterol triglycerides in people with high cholesterol levels.


Krill (Euphausia superba) is a small crustacean with an appearance similar to shrimp. Krill are found in the colder waters of the ocean – such as Antarctica, Canada and Japan – and primarily serve as a food source for other animals in the ocean – whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish, for example.

Krill contains an oil that is similar to the oils found in fish oils – the omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for the decrease in triglyceride levels, whereas, krill oil is used as a supplement to lower blood lipids.

According to, krill contain the antioxidant astaxanthin, which is what gives them and other crustaceans their bright red-orange pigmentation. Astaxanthin – along with other antioxidants – have multiple benefits not found in fish oil. These benefits include the fighting of free radicals that could cause various types of cancer, reducing inflammation around the body, boosting the immune system and even reducing sunburns.

Krill oil can also help reduce heart disease, high triglyceride levels, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, depression and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

One of the downfalls of krill oil is that it tends to be slightly more expensive that fish oil, at around 25 dollars for a 90-capsule bottle. A lot of athletes might say that the price for krill oil is justified because it helps with protecting the body’s joints, while reducing swelling and inflammation in sore muscles.


Fish oil supplements have been promoted as a way to protect the heart, ease inflammation, improve mental health and lengthen a person’s life. Fish oil is a great source of omega-3s, and therefore, reduces the risk of heart disease and heart arrhythmias. It also helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL), while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).

Fish oil is effective in preventing strokes, and regular usage of fish oil can help a person avoid sudden cardiac death.

Fish oil has also been publicized as a way to support weight loss. Research conducted by Professor Peter Howe at the University of Australia has shown that fish oil improves the efficacy of exercise in attempts to reduce weight. Volunteers who were given fish oil in their diet showed greater weight loss as compared to those who did not regularly consume it. Exercise – combined with fish oil – had a positive effect on body shape and composition on the participating patients.

Fish oil does have its downsides, though, which is that it can go rancid if not properly stored. This can lead to possible illness and ineffectiveness of the supplement, which means you basically wasted your money.

This can be prevented if you store fish oil supplements at room temperature – or lower – and make sure it’s kept away from direct sunlight. Fish oil is also cheaper than krill oil. A moderately priced bottle of fish oil can run around 20 dollars (containing 90 soft gels). You can probably find fish oil supplements even cheaper at places like Walmart or Target.


Even though krill oil and fish oil can contribute many benefits to your overall health and well-being, make sure you consult your healthcare provider before taking either one of these over-the-counter supplements.

People with a shellfish or seafood allergy – or those who have a blood coagulation disorder, or those taking blood thinners – should refrain from taking these supplements.