What is the difference between krill oil and fish oil?

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What is the difference between krill oil and fish oil

In the realm of food supplements and healthy eating there are many options for you to consider when choosing the supplement that works best for you. Here at Omega 3 of Norway we offer high quality Norwegian red krill oil as well as fish oil, which both have many health benefits. But what exactly is the difference between Omega-3 fish oil and red krill oil and which one is better for you?  

The differences between fish oil and krill oil

While fish oil and krill oil share many of their health benefits, they differ in their origin and also have structural differences when it comes to their molecular makeup. Fish oil is made from fatty fish such as anchovies, mackerel or salmon and it contains the essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which mostly take the form of triglycerides in fish oil. Krill oil however, is gained from krill, which are a small crustacean that is mainly consumed by other sea creatures such as whales and penguins. When we talk about Antarctic Krill oil, like we do here at Omega-3 of Norway, we refer to a specific species called the Euphausia Superba, which live in the southern Antarctic Ocean. In krill oil, 30-65% of the fatty acids are stored in the form of phospholipids, and krill oil also contains the antioxidant astaxanthin that gives it its red colour. 

However their origin is not the only difference between fish oil and krill oil. While they both contain the essential Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that are essential for our bodies, these take different forms in the two oils. 

In fish oil, they mostly take the form of triglycerides which are a molecular structure combining three fatty acids such as EPA and DHA for example that are esterified (bonded) to a glycerol backbone. Some fish oil supplements also come in the form of concentrates, which contain fatty acids but in the form of ethyl esters. Read more about the difference between fish oil and fish oil concentrates.

In krill oil however, fatty acids take the form of phospholipids, which are among the most common fatty acids in our bodies and form the basis components of our cell membranes. The Omega-3s that are bound to phospholipids in krill oil can be absorbed quicker and more efficiently because of that. Additionally, phospholipids are soluble in water which allows the body to absorb the nutritional benefits more naturally and faster. This also means that the Omega-3s that we consume in this form, form a complete mixture in the stomach instead of sitting on top of the stomach fluid like it can be the case with other Omega-3s such as fish oil. 

The benefits of krill oil

Because of their small size, krill eat mostly phytoplankton and algae and sit very low in the marine food chain. Therefore they contain very small amounts of pollution and little contamination, which makes them a good and clean alternative source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Besides Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, krill also contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which is not found in most fish oils and gives the krill its red colour. Antioxidants help protect cells from being damaged by other molecules called free radicals and can improve the long term stability of these cells and therefore the oil. These antioxidants can prevent the fatty acids from oxidation and could therefore improve their shelf life without needing any additives to make them more stable. 

While krill oil and fish oil share many health benefits, the high degree of astaxanthin in krill oil could be an indication of its even better anti-inflammatory properties than fish oil has. Krill oil can have a positive impact on heart health and blood lipids when taken regularly, and works in similar ways to fish oil since it also contains the two Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. 

Krill oil vs fish oil, which is better for you?

Both fish oil and red krill oil are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and share most health benefits such as their impact on blood lipids, heart health and mental performance as well as their anti-inflammatory properties. However, some studies have shown that our body might absorb the fatty acids in krill oil better than those in fish oil because of their connection to phospholipids which can be more easily transported to and absorbed into our cells. Because krill oil contains antioxidants, its anti-inflammatory properties could also possibly have an even stronger impact. 

The water-soluble properties of the phospholipids in krill oil can also make for a more comfortable experience when consuming the capsules, and since they are not made of fish oil they can have a more neutral odour and taste profile as well. 

While both fish oil and krill oil contain certain forms of Omega-3, these words can not be used to describe Omega-3 in general since there is another, third, Omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for our body but not contained in marine oils. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is another Omega-3 fatty acid that is found in plant oils such as flaxseed oil or walnuts, but also occurs in meat and dairy of grass-fed animals. And while it is possible to cover your daily needs of essential Omega-3 fatty acids solely through your diet, it can be challenging to maintain this diet over long periods of time or while you are experiencing change in your life – read more about Which products provide abundant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. It might therefore be beneficial to look into acquiring a high quality fish oil or krill oil food supplement to make sure that your body has all it needs, even in the most turbulent times.

What is in Norwegian Krill Oil by Omega 3 of Norway?

The krill used in Omega 3 of Norway’s high quality red krill oil supplement is Antarctic krill, living in one of the world’s purest and cleanest ocean, the southern Antarctic ocean. It is sustainably sourced from schools of wild krill and to ensure a high quality product, we have full control over the production, from the harvest to the encapsulation process. With strict quality assurance measures in place, we are also able to fully trace the krill from its harvest, as well as the other raw materials used in the fabrication of the product. This traceability earned us the certificate by The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for producing the only red krill oil that is 100% traceable. The krill is caught using a patented Eco-harvesting method with a specifically designed vessel, that singles out unwanted by-catch of non-krill species and releases them back into the sea. So if you are looking for a high quality Omega-3 food supplement, make sure to head over to our shop and have a look at our range of products, both fish oil and red krill oil.