Fish Oil or Krill Oil…That is the Question
There’s no denying that omega-3 fatty acids are critical players in promoting good health. In fact, the importance of consuming therapeutic doses of healthy omega-3 fats from dietary sources and supplements is widely recognized by both conventional and alternative medicine. And while most Americans assume they consume enough omega-3 fats in their diets, it is this very assumption that leads to nearly 96,000 deaths each year due to omega-3 deficiency.
For years, fish oil supplements were the best answer to this growing epidemic. But recently, krill oil has become a popular alternative, muddying the waters for those interested in optimizing omega-3 levels for maximum health benefits.
So Which is Better, Fish Oil or Krill Oil?
While they have many similarities, clinical research indicates fatty acids from each source benefit the body in different ways. For some people, fish oil is the way to go. For others, krill oil is the best bet. And for those that can afford it, taking both may very well be the best of both worlds.
So I’ve come up with a few guidelines that make it easy to know which is best to meet your health needs.
Fish Oil — The Top Choice for Brain and Heart Health
Fish oil still reigns as the most concentrated source of the two most critical omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is why most physicians remain confident in their recommendation of fish oil for heart, brain and vision support.
One study found that getting roughly 1,000 mg of Omega-3s every day reduced heart attack risk by 40 percent, while consuming 2,100 mg of these essential fats on a daily basis reduced heart attack risk by an impressive 65 percent! While krill oil contributes to some incredible health benefits, these dose-dependent results were thanks to EPA and DHA doses that would be nearly impossible to match using krill oil (which we’ll get into in a minute).
Fish oil’s high concentration of these essential fats also makes it especially beneficial for the brain. Nearly 60 percent of the human brain is comprised of fats, with 15-20 percent of the cerebral cortex — a part of the brain that plays a key role in memory, perception, language and thought — being made up of the omega-3 DHA.
Studies have shown that those suffering from cognitive decline have dramatically low levels of DHA, yet those taking a daily omega-3 supplement high in DHA stand to reduce brain health issues by up to 60 percent.
It is believed that this fatty acid is so invaluable to the brain because it contributes greatly to the formation and protection of the myelin sheath, a layer of fat that coats every axon in the brain, helping to ensure the efficient transmission of messages sent between brain cells.
Now that we have seen what fish oil has to offer, how does krill oil measure up? Keep in mind researchers are still in the beginning stages of discovering all that krill oil can do, but what we’ve learned so far is rather impressive.
Krill Oil — The Top Choice for Joint Health and Cellular Hydration
Made from little shrimp-like creatures called krill, krill oil contains only one-third of the EPA and DHA found in fish oil — but, don’t let the smaller doses fool you. Krill oil still packs a serious punch in other ways, and has some unique properties that fish oil lacks.
Most notably, krill oil contains astaxanthin, a natural carotenoid that gives krill, as well as salmon and shrimp, their pink and rosy hues. Not only is astaxanthin considered one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world, it has the unique ability to cross the blood brain and the blood retina barriers, adding additional support and protection for the brain and eyes.
Krill oil also delivers fatty acids to your cells in an incredibly fast and effective way. Because the omega-3 fats are caged in phospholipids, compounds that are both fat-soluble and water-soluble, krill oil is capable of quickly penetrating cellular walls to deliver nutrients to your body FAST!
Because your cells can absorb the omega-3s and astaxanthin from krill oil like a sponge, these nutrients work quickly to nourish, hydrate and protect, promoting a healthy inflammatory response throughout the body. For this same reason, krill oil is typically more concentrated than fish oil, so you have to take less pills per day and/or smaller pills. I know this is important for many people.
Impressive research has shown that krill oil is extremely effective at combating joint pain. One study even found that krill oil can cut markers of inflammation by 30 percent in just 14 days!
Pick One or Both
Personally, I take both fish oil and krill oil daily, and have experienced tremendous health benefits from doing so. My joint discomfort has gone down since adding krill and I like knowing I’m getting the trusted and proven health benefits of fish oil.
While both fish oil and krill oil support a wide range of health benefits, if heart health is your primary concern I would highly recommend you go with fish oil. No other supplement can match its potent doses of EPA and DHA. If joint health is your main concern, then krill oil is better choice, due to its ability to quickly promote a healthy inflammatory response and provide relief to achy joints.
I hope I’ve gotten you excited about the many health benefits of fish oil and krill oil. I encourage you to try either or both of these products.