Fish Oil vS Krill Oil: How to Determine the Best Omega-3 Source for Your Patients 

Updated on September 22, 2023

As healthcare professionals, it is important to understand the vast benefits and different varieties of Omega-3s on the market. Understanding the differences between types of Omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil and krill oil, ensures that doctors, nurses, and nutritionists alike are able to successfully inform and help their patients make the best decision for their circumstance. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that play an important role for your body, providing numerous health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, decreasing inflammation, and so much more. Omega-3s are vital to whole body health and since our bodies cannot produce them efficiently on their own, it provides immense value for your career and your patients to be an informed expert.

For background, there are three main Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – found in foods such as flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – found in animal products such as fatty fish.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – mostly found in animal products such as fatty fish.
  • EPA & DHA are considered the most important Omega-3 fatty acids

The Emergence of Fish Oil Products

Since 90% of Americans do not eat enough seafood to get proper amounts of Omega-3s, fish oil became a popular supplement recommended for the American diet. Different fish products and oils have been used as medicines since the early 1800s. 

It wasn’t until the 1980s that pharmacies began to really stock up on and promote the benefits of these products, and it took until the early 2000s for the fish oil market to really take off. Fish oil supplements have played a major role in helping those who have insufficient levels of Omega-3s and have been a convenient alternative that can be incorporated into their daily lives.

But what exactly is fish oil?

Fish oil is created from the fat or oil extracted from fish tissue. Primarily, it is taken from fish already high in oil such as tuna, mackerel, anchovies, and herring. Unfortunately, it also has drawbacks.

  1. Lower Bioavailability: During its processing, fish oil often loses its phospholipids, and the resulting Omega-3s are bound to triglycerides which make them more challenging to be absorbed and digested by the body.
  2. Fishy burps: Because of the greater difficulty in digestion, the oils taken from these fish often leave a fishy aftertaste, leading to bad experience for users. Also, fish oil products that have been formulated to reduce the fishy aftertaste may use microencapsulation technology that can make it even harder for your body to absorb.
  3. Sustainability and purity challenges: Questions around purity and sustainability abound in the fish oil market. Many major fish oil supplement manufacturers have to further process their fish oils to purify it from contaminants  and climate change issues which have led to higher ocean temperatures have affected the supply of fish available. 

The Emergence of Krill Oil Products

Krill oil is relatively new to the health market and krill oil supplements made its debut a little over a decade ago. Krill Oil is prepared from a species of Antarctic krill, a shrimp like crustacean that is nutrient dense and is abundant in the pristine Southern Oceans in Antarctica.

Highly Sustainable, Krill is the largest animal biomass on earth; they’re highly efficient at reproduction and low in the food chain, making them abundant and a naturally clean marine source for Omega-3s.   

Krill oil delivers Omega-3s in a mix of phospholipids and triglycerides just like in a healthy fish diet. Phospholipids are part of every cell membrane and enable better Omega-3 absorption and easier digestion so there’s no fishy aftertaste. It is also a good source of choline, an essential nutrient that supports brain and nervous system health. In addition, products like Kori Krill Oil utilize astaxanthin as a natural preservative, which also gives the product its red color. Krill oil is backed by over 135 studies with 50+ human clinical trials supporting a wide range of health benefits including heart, brain, joint, skin, eye, women’s health and more. 

Fish Oil Versus Krill Oil

Both fish oil and krill oil are beneficial to your health, providing patients with the levels of DHA and EPA, that the body needs to thrive. However, there are some major differences. The Omega-3s found in krill oil are significantly more bioavailable than fish oil, allowing the body to utilize them more efficiently. Krill oil even delivers essential Omega-3s in its most natural phospholipid form for superior absorption (fish oil often loses phospholipids in processing, so its Omega-3s are neither digested nor absorbed well). In addition to its health benefits, krill oil is a more sustainable option.

Kori Krill Oil is backed by the world’s #1 maker of krill who pioneered the creation of a patented technology that harvests krill with minimal bycatch. Most bycatch occurs during fishing when nets are raised to the surface level which attracts natural predators who can get caught as the nets are raised onto fishing vessels. With EcoHarvesting® utilizes a vacuum technology the nets stay submerged while bringing the harvested krill on board without the need to raise and lower nets thereby minimizing chances for bycatch.

Choosing the Best Products to Supplement Your Patients Lifestyle

When choosing supplements, I recommend:

  1. Choosing the preferred method of supplementation:
    1. Capsules, gummies, chews, liquid supplements, and more – there are so many to choose from! Pick the one that would be easiest to incorporate into the routine you already have established (otherwise you could forget to take them!).
  2. Analyzing goals and needs:
    1. Diet, activities and more greatly impact what the body needs. In addition to Omega-3 supplements, there are so many others on the market that can help with a variety of health goals. I recommend people think about what they hope to address and discover products that help them reach those goals. 

At the end of the day, it is up to the patient to choose the health products that best fit and support their lifestyle. I recommend doing research and connecting with a primary care physician or other medical professional to make the choices that will be most impactful for your health.  

While finding the supplements that work can be a time-consuming process, once people find the perfect fit – it makes the process beyond worth it.

At Kori Krill Oil, we believe krill is a brilliant resource and it’s our mission to bring healthier solutions anchored in this superior source of Omega-3. As Chief Scientist, I am dedicated to studying krill and not only helping to increase awareness of Omega-3s, but also educating the world on krill oil and the many ways it can support our best health. 

Nils Hoem copy
Nils Hoem

Nils Hoem currently serves as Chief Scientist at Aker BioMarine in Oslo, where he has directed and participated in preclinical and clinical research as well as in process and product development.