I’ve gotten so many emails from you all asking about the possible superior health benefits of krill oil over fish oil, we should discuss it here at the blog. Nutrition fads come and go and some of the claims are certainly amusing. If it’s not pomegranate it’s goji berries or acai. If it’s not red wine it’s kombucha. We’ve covered many of these in previous blog posts (see the links below). Krill oil is claimed by some to be superior to fish oil. No doubt, I think we all ought to be getting more Omega-3’s into our bodies. But should you go for the krill?
Krill are shrimp-like crustaceans and they are the primary food source of baleen whales (a single whale gleans 4 tons of these tiny shrimp every day). Krill feed on plankton and as such are a critical part of the increasingly fragile Antarctic ecosystem. In general, of course, all our oceans are a mess – whether from over-fishing or pollution or a combination thereof. There’s no question that Omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources are excellent for human health; the trouble is finding the best, safest, purest, and most environmentally responsible source.
There is nothing whatsoever “wrong” with krill oil. You need all the essential fatty acids you can get. For example – of course there will be individual exceptions here – I think wild Alaskan salmon ought to be included in your diet on at least a weekly basis. You can’t eat fish every day – and certainly not farmed, dioxin-loaded garbage or mercury-contaminated ocean-caught fish – yet these precious fats are absolutely vital for your health. So, unless you plan to eat wild Alaskan salmon for dinner from here until eternity, supplementation is a no-brainer. Like fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, krill are rich in both EPA and DHA. They also contain an antioxidant called astaxanthin, and you’ll see this being touted by some krill oil distributors as an advantage over fish oil. However, know that many fish, including salmon, are rich in astaxanthin as well (this is the chemical compound behind the pink).
The only “issue” here is choosing a top-drawer supplement. The cheap fish oil sitting on the shelves at Wal-Mart is not what you want to put in your body. There is a lot of bad fish oil out there, so you must choose a quality source. As with everything else in life, you do get what you pay for. My work in supplement research and development – extensive to say the least – makes me choose fish oil over krill oil. If I knew krill oil were inherently superior, I’d not only take it, I’d make it. One of the primary issues with both krill oil and inferior fish oil is burping. I’m not sure if fish breath is as bad as garlic breath, but it’s certainly up there. Rx-quality fish oil is incredibly pure and, thank goodness, burp-free. That said, there is nothing “wrong” with krill oil – there’s just nothing inherently “right” with it, either.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.