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What the krill!?

Krill oil has received much publicity of late and has been touted as having numerous health benefits. But the question everyone is asking is; is it really any better than fish oil? Krill are shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the ocean, where they feed mainly on phytoplankton. They’re near the bottom of the food chain and are eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish.

Both oils contain a high portion of omega-3 fatty acids however, krill fatty acids are in the form of phospholipids. Fish oils, on the other hand, come in the form of triacylglycerol. It appears that omega-3 fatty acids in the form of phospholipids have a greater level of bioavailability and biological activity.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient often deficient in the modern diet. Both fish oil and krill oil help to supplement dietary sources to help achieve the vast health and performance benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids. These benefits include:

As yet, no studies have investigated the difference between krill oil and fish oil for exercise recovery.

Krill oil is also becoming popular due to it containing a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin. Antioxidants protect our body cells from damage from free radicals that are thought to contribute to certain chronic diseases. In addition, the presence of relatively high levels of omega-3 as free fatty acids may improve the bioavailability of the EPA and DHA in krill oil. Therefore it may be a combination of the omega-3s bound to phospholipids and the omega-3s as free fatty acids that enhance its bioavailability compared with fish oil.

Krill oil has several advantages when compared to fish oil. However, supplementing the diet with omega-3 is generally a good thing regardless of whether it is from krill or fish oil. Many benefits of omega-3 may be experienced through taking either type of oil.

Good quality krill oil can be quite expensive so fish oil supplements may be a better option. However, as krill oil has a higher degree of absorption by the body, lesser amounts are required when compared to fish oil, which may offset the extra expense.