Krill Oil Versus Fish Oil - The Battle of the Omega-3s?

Why Should I Consider Taking an Omega-3 Supplement?

Fish oil and krill oil supplements are both quality sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Though more research is necessary to point to a clear winner in the battle of which is better, krill or fish, the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is sound. Omega-3s have been shown to: Reduce inflammation in blood vessels, joints and elsewhere having a positive impact on many different diseases including asthma, heart disease and arthritis. Offer some protection against age-related cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Reduce triglyceride levels, a risk factor for heart disease. Improve overall cardiovascular health, reduce risk of stroke and death from heart disease. Significantly reduce inflammation, joint pain and stiffness for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Boost prenatal health, as DHA appears to be an important factor in visual and neurological development. Help alleviate some symptoms of depression.

What Is the Difference Between Fish Oil & Krill Oil

So fish oil and krill oil are both great sources of omega-3s and yet there are differences. In the quest to find the most effective and effective supplements, which one wins? Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which you can take as a supplement to help relieve arthritis symptoms, maintain heart health and even lower cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic. So where does the fish oil in most supplements come from? Generally, various fish are used in the production of fish oil supplements unless specifically stated otherwise on the supplement. Fish oil for omega-3 fatty acid supplements usually comes from small, oily cold water fish like anchovies, herring, pilchards, mackerel and sprats. According to the United States Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, herring is the most typically used to produce fish oil because it has a very high concentration of oil in its body.

Krill oil is derived from small crustaceans that inhabit the icy waters around the Antarctic. The marketed benefits of krill oil over fish oil are:

Its omega-3s are more bioavailable and readily absorbed by the body It also contains choline in addition to its omega-3s It is a cleaner, safer product as it is harvested in less contaminated waters It is more sustainable and environmentally sound

Which Omega-3 Supplement is Better, Fish Oil or Krill Oil?

So what is true and what is pure marketing trickery? It does appear that the omega-3s in krill oil are more readily absorbed in the body than fish oil at equal doses, suggests a 2004 study. From a consumer’s perspective, this means you would need to take less krill oil than fish oil to get the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Still it is wise to note that krill oil is significantly more expensive, so economically there may be little difference although many of us would prefer to swallow one pill over three.

As for sustainability, it would appear that the claims made by krill oil producers are not as air tight as they might at first appear. Some retailers like American health chain Whole Foods, have pulled krill oil supplements from their shelves as they have serious concerns about sustainability. Krill are a major source of food for marine animals like penguins, seals and whales. Some recent research has demonstrated that where krill fisheries operate, there has been a decline in the populations of krill eating predators.It is clear that more research is necessary to establish any real clinical differences and both fish oil and krill oil are excellent sources of the important omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. If you are considering adding fish or krill oil supplements to your diet, consult your physician or appropriate health care provider first as both may interact with some drugs including blood thinners.

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