Krill Oil vs Cod Liver Oil – Which Is Better?
To the untrained eye, the many different fish oil supplements available on the market appear to be interchangeable. Krill Oil, cod-liver oil and fish oil are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and are recognised as important health supplements by a growing number of people. Is there any real difference between Krill Oil and cod liver oil, and is one better than the other?
This article addresses what the main differences are and the reasons I feel that Krill Oil is the better choice.
What is the difference?
1) Different source
Fish oil is refined from raw fish biomass, usually from by-products of the fishing industry. There are two potential problems with this. Firstly, fish oil production contributes to the problem of over fishing in the world’s seas, putting pressure on different fish populations. Secondly, large fish, such as tuna and cod, frequently accumulate high levels of contaminants, such as mercury and other heavy metals, along with plastic micro beads. This, unfortunately, sometimes finds its way into fish oil supplements.
Krill Oil, on the other hand, is extracted from tiny, prawn-like creatures that occupy a far lower position on the food chain. They feed directly on the microscopic plankton that live at the lower levels of the Southern Ocean. They are therefore free of many of the contaminants typically found in larger fish. The source is pure – and also more sustainable. Krill is harvested under the strictest regulations, controlled by the international Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
2) Different Omega- 3 Structure
Krill Oil has a different omega-3 structure to fish oil. In fish oil, the fatty acids are bound together into Triglycerides. Krill Oil, on the other hand, contains omega-3 in a Phospholipid structure. The difference comes from where each compound is digested in the human body. Triglycerides begin to break down in the stomach. This means that not as many of the omega-3 fatty acid compounds make it through to your intestines.
It also has the unwanted side effect of releasing bonded amine compounds, which are the source of the fishy burps that some people experience. Phospholipids, on the other hand, cruise straight through the stomach into the digestive tract, where they metabolise in the small intestine. This makes them more immediately bioavailable, as more of the fatty acids are absorbed directly into your bloodstream, and there is no chance of the fishy smells reappearing as burps.
Advantages of Krill Oil over Fish Oil
If these are the main differences, what practical advantage do they give Krill Oil, as opposed to fish oil alternatives?
1) Better absorption
The high phospholipid content of Krill Oil means that a greater proportion of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids reach your lower intestine, without being destroyed by stomach acids. This makes Krill Oil up to 15% more bioavailable than fish oil i.e. the active components are more easily absorbed into your bloodstream.
2) More effective
The Omega-3 Index indicates the presence of effective omega-3 fatty acids (in EPA and DHA form) as a percentage of a red blood cell count (RBC). Omega-3 index values of higher than 8% are seen as medically desirable, as tests have shown they decrease the risk of primary cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death.
Medical tests carried out in 2013 found that subjects treated with Krill Oil displayed an increase in their Omega-3 index double that of subjects treated with fish oil (a change of 1% for Krill Oil, compared to 0.4% for fish oil. Subjects treated with a placebo saw a reduction in their Omega-3 index of 0.1%)
3) No side effects
Krill Oil is less likely to cause embarrassing and unpleasant side effects, such as fishy burps.
4) More powerful antioxidant effect
Krill Oil contains a powerful, natural antioxidant called antaxanthin. This attractive red compound is what gives Krill Oil its distinctive colour, and is found in the outer shells of Krill. This antioxidant is not present in fish oil.
5) More sustainable
Krill Oil is extracted from strictly controlled Krill stocks in the Southern Ocean. These are managed under international treaty controls to respect marine biodiversity and manage Krill resources in a sustainable way. Krill Oil does not put pressure on already overburdened fish populations, in the way that fish oil manufacturing does.
Order Krill Oil capsules:
Krill Oil has many advantages over cod liver oil. If you are new to the supplement, why not try it for a few months on a regular basis and compare the difference to other fish oil products? I would recommend Hellenia Healthfood’s K-REAL krill oil capsules, the purest and most bioavailable krill oil supplement currently available on the market. You can order K-REAL directly from their website by clicking here.
NUTRITION TIP: Keep salt to a minimum.
This prevents your body from holding excess water. When it comes to cooking, substitute salt for garlic, chilli, paprika, turmeric and Cajun spices.
Thanks for reading,
Hot off the Chest Press.