The Oily Truth About Krill Oil!

krill oil The krill oil's still piping hot in the Net!

No, this is not another “krill-is-out-of-this-world-so-dump-the-fish” site, and neither am I going to hammer the krill nor ask you to wolf down the fish!

Rather, I’ll let you decide whether the whole krill story is overcooked or not. You do this by answering just four questions.

I'll provide some additional information along the way.

What About the Krill

Question 1: Which concerns you more?

A. the krill
B. the properties of krill oil

If you pick (A), then it’s not necessary for you to continue reading. Think about keeping them as pets! Go on if the properties of krill oil interest you.

Properties of Krill Oil

Question 2: Which property of krill oil do you think serves your health most?

A. Phospholipids
B. Astaxanthin


If you pick (A) because you think they are more beneficial to your health, then go for shrimp. Fish oil supplements contain very low or no phospholipids although.

This is taken from a krill supplement website.

Krill oil contains 40% phospholipids, which are building blocks for cell membranes and regulate cellular transport by functioning as “gate-keeper”.

The most predominant phospholipid in krill oil is phosphatidylcholine (PC), which is partially composed of choline, an important compound for brain development, learning and memory. PC increases solubility of cholesterol, thus lowering cholesterol levels. PC also protects our liver.

But do consider this:

For cholesterol management, brain or liver health (or any part of your body for that matter), just the PC alone is not going to do a well-rounded job long-term wise. Don’t try to kid yourself. There’s no ‘magic bullet’ on sale on earth; not from the krill, or any creatures of the deep.

The concept of ‘nutrient synergy’ applies here.

Dr. Ray Strand, MD has this to say:

“When you provide all the important nutrients together, one plus one is not two, but instead adds up to eight, ten, or even twenty. Cellular nutrition becomes potent because of the synergy it creates.”

Take cholesterol-balancing as an example. A good combination of ingredients, not just PC, is what you should be looking for. Take a look at all the ingredients present in this natural cholesterol-balancing supplement. Soy lecithin contains 10–20% PC.

A formulation base supplement such as this is one that you should consider for long-term help and for a more comprehensive balance, go along with a high quality Omega-3/DHA fish oil.



If the topic of antioxidants excites your curiosity, then astaxanthin (B) would most likely be your pick.

Astaxanthin is present in very small amount in krill oil. This is taken from a krill product website.

In direct ORAC comparisons (milligram for milligram) the value of krill oil astaxanthin was found to be:

  • 302 times more powerful than Vitamin A and E
  • 47 times higher than lutein and omega-3 fish oil
  • 34 times more that Co- enzyme Q10
  • 7.5 times more than seaweed astaxanthin
  • 6.5 times more than lycopene

Using the information given here, if I were to equal the ORAC value of 0.1 mg astaxanthin, I’d require 0.65 mg of lycopene. The 0.1 mg/g astaxanthin is derived from SuperBa’s krill oil certificate of analysis (2008).

Thus a 30-day serving of 1 g/day of krill oil will give you a total of 3 mg astaxanthin; and the equivalent lycopene amount is 19.5 mg (3 x 6.5).

The point I’m trying to get across is this:

In comparison to this premium fish oil product which contains 60 mg of lycopene, which is already three times more powerful than the krill, and another 17 mg of pure astaxanthin (from haematococcus pluvialis algae), the 3 mg of krill astaxanthin is really nothing to brag about.


If you picked (C) CONGRATULATIONS! You should be going for the DHA/EPA when shopping for Omega-3 oils. In fact, DHA is the proven supplement, not krill oil!

“50% more Omega-3's from krill oil are delivered to your body in every dose than fish oil!”

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Whether the DHA from the krill (in phospholipid form) is better absorbed by our body than the fish (in ester form) is still debatable. But rather than risking an argument, I’ll go along with the statement.

A bottle of Dr Mercola’s krill product has 60 caplets for $24.95 which contains:

EPA – 2,700 mg
DHA – 1,500 mg

In contrast a bottle of premium Omega-3 fish oil with 60 soft gels provides:

EPA – 7,800 mg. That is just under 3 times as much.
DHA – 18,000 mg. That is 12 times as much.

And even if the body can only absorb half this amount:

EPA – 3,600 mg. That is just under 1.5 times as much.
DHA – 9,000 mg. That is 6 times as much.

Dr Mercola’s product however costs 32% more!

Research and Studies

Question 3: Would you rather go for a product that has:

A. Less than 10 studies showing its effectiveness (krill oil)
B. Thousands of studies showing its effectiveness (fish oil)

It's your decision.

Purity and Freshness

Question 4: Is purity and freshness of the Omega-3 oils one of your your main concern?

A. Yes
B. No
Whether krill or fish, guaranteed of purity and freshness should be your TOP MOST PRIORITY. But if you don't really mind, seriously, then you're like playing Russian roulette with your liver!

"Krill is harvested from the Antarctic Ocean free from pollution and heavy metals. This makes krill oil a safe source of Omega-3."

I have no doubts about this. But to be on a level playing field, it's possible to get the same level of purity with premium fish oils if it is handled and processed correctly.

Again a detailed certificate of analysis is what you should be looking for to confirm this. You can also view the Omega-3/DHA Buyers' Guide for more information.

Another 'blow' from the krill:

“Some fish oil consumption commonly leads to side effects of fishy aftertaste, reflux or belching of fish flavors.”

This, however, does not occur for the purest forms of molecularly distilled fish oils unless you have some digestive ailments which could compromise your system.

Last but not least…

Fishery Concern: What They Say

The scientists:

“No one really knows how abundant krill are, with estimates ranging from about 200 million tonnes to 500 million. And no one really knows the exact numbers of whales, seals and penguins that rely on krill or how climate change will affect those populations or krill numbers.”

Dr Geraint Tarling of the British Antartic Survey:

“Focusing on large swarms can have a much larger effect on the environment that you would predict. Fishing out just a few huge super swarms may remove the majority of krill living in the entire ocean.”

Whole Foods Market:

“Consequently, at present we are choosing to discontinue the sale of krill supplements as we continue to evaluate this emerging research. Please consider alternatives to krill oil supplements such as fish oil or astaxanthin supplements.”

Adam Ismael, executive director of Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED):

“The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) actually just implemented new measures in November for the krill fishery, which further protects predator species that feed on krill, as well as protecting the krill fishery itself.”

Denzil Miller, executive secretary of CCAMLR, says:

“The idea of our guidelines is to spread out the catch once it reaches a certain size, especially in the south Atlantic where most of the krill fishing occurs. If they fail to do this, he said, the consequences could be disastrous, as krill catches were already increasing quickly.”

"We've got to get this one right, because if we don't there's a whole lot of dominoes that follow afterwards that just looks too horrendous to contemplate."

When you consider which natural supplements to take, part of the decision should be based on whether the product is being brought to market in a responsible, sustainable way.

What’s your say?

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