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Krill Oil: The Best Form of Omega-3s?

We Found The Answers. Plus, What To Look For In An Omega-3 Supplement, And Our Top 5.

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Our bodies need omega-3 fatty acids for smooth joint movementbalanced cholesterol, and even mental health. Unfortunately, we can't produce these nutrients by ourselves, so we need to get them through our diets. To make matters more complicated, our bodies don't effectively absorb omega-3s from fish or fish oil.

That's why Americans seeking to improve their overall health are turning to krill oil supplements. Derived from tiny, shrimp-like ocean dwellers, this omega-3 source has unique properties that significantly increase its absorbability. 

To help you find the right krill oil supplement for you, Smarter Reviews compiled months of research into this quick guide. We'll show you what to look for, what to avoid, and even reveal the top 5 krill oil supplements on the market today.

Studies Show Omega-3s Can Help:

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Omega-3 fatty acids are rich in heart-healthy HDL cholesterol, also known as "good" cholesterol. HDL helps dislodge bad cholesterol from your arterial walls, supporting cardiovascular health and reduced risk of heart health issues.1

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Krill omega-3s are shown to ease strained muscles around the joints. This gives your joints more room to move, helping increase mobility while combating one of the biggest causes of joint discomfort.2

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Omega-3s are a key building block for brain cell membranes. Studies show that by giving your body a consistent supply of high-quality omega-3s, supplements help support optimal brain function and memory.3

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In numerous studies, researchers have found links between omega-3 supplements and decreased anxiety levels.4

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By helping combat muscular stress, omega-3s support relaxed, ache-free muscles. On top of promoting your overall comfort, this helps sustain an active lifestyle.5

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Omega-3s make up a large portion of the macula, a part of the eye that focuses our vision. Supplements help give your body the resources it needs to keep your macula healthy long-term.6

Frequently Asked Questions

What is krill?

Krill are tiny shrimp-like ocean dwellers.

What is krill oil good for?

Since krill oil is a good source of omega-3s, it can support a healthy heart by regulating triglyceride levels, and alleviate common joint discomfort according to scientific studies.

Omega-3’s can also enhance your vision, promote a good mood, and encourage a sharper mind because significant portions of the brain and eye retina are made up from Omega-3 DHA.

Why are omega-3s so important?

Omega-3 EPA and DHA are fundamental building blocks for great whole-body health. The integrity of every single cell in your body depends on your omega-3 EPA intake. Also, your brain and eye retina need enough omega-3 DHA to function properly. Unfortunately, our bodies can’t produce them, so we must get them through an outside source.

How much omega-3 per day?

It's important to clarify that you’re taking krill oil for its omega-3 content. So how much krill oil you take does not matter. What matters is the omega-3 EPA and DHA dosage. With that said, a number of health authorities say to aim for at least 250mg of omega-3 EPA and DHA combined.

Is krill oil better than fish oil?

There are 3 main reasons why krill oil is the smart choice.

First is safety. Unlike some sources of omega-3s that are exposed to heavy metals and toxins, Antarctic krill oil is usually considered a safer option because its exposure to contaminants is significantly less.

Secondly, the body absorbs omega-3s from krill much easier than fish oil thanks to phospholipids — which are compounds naturally found in krill oil.

And finally because krill oil contains a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin that supports your skin and heart health.

Why Krill Oil Has The Most Effective Omega-3s

In clinical studies, krill oil is shown to be significantly more absorbable by our bodies, making it more effective at supporting heart, joint, and mental health.That’s because, unlike fish oil, krill omega-3s come in a unique phospholipid form.

This increased absorbability makes krill omega-3s the best way to support balanced cholesterol, smooth, comfortable joints, and a clear, relaxed mind.

But that’s not the only advantage of krill oil’s unique form.

Advantages Of Krill Oil

Safety

Toxic contaminants such as mercury and PCBs are known to accumulate in some of the larger fish used to create fish oil. These heavy metals can cause serious health risks, especially to children and pregnant women. On the other hand, krill are too low on the food chain to accumulate toxic heavy metals, making them safe to consume.

Purity

Quality krill oil is held to an extremely high purity standard. As a result, it’s known to have less of the “fishy” aftertaste found in most fish oil.

Astaxanthin

This powerful antioxidant isn't available in fish oil, but it's found in high quantities in lobster, crayfish and krill.8,9 Astaxanthin boosts skin health and has been shown to increase good cholesterol levels.10,11 To see results, our research found that you need at least 2 mg of astaxanthin per serving.

There’s just one catch, though: The quality of the formula. That's why it’s important to keep a few things in mind when shopping for a krill oil supplement.

What To Look For in a Quality Krill Oil Supplement

Krill from Antarctica 

The quality of krill oil depends on where the krill were caught. Unfortunately, most of our oceans are exposed to large amounts of heavy metals and toxins. This means, the sea life living in those waters are often tainted with harmful chemicals.

Meanwhile, Antarctica is far away from heavy pollution. Best of all, this “icy land” is known to have the cleanest waters which are virtually free of contaminants.

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So for the safer, high-quality krill oil you deserve, look for Antarctic Krill Oil. You’ll be doing your health a BIG favor.

Omega-3 EPA & DHA  

Krill oil's major health benefits come from its high amounts of Omega-3 EPA + DHA. These compounds are the most potent types of omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs to support your heart, brain, vision, and joints.

Phospholipids  

These special compounds increase the bioavailability and absorption of krill oil for greater omega-3 benefits. They’re also an important building block for all the cells in your body for optimal health. Phospholipids are naturally found in krill oil.

Astaxanthin  

This powerful antioxidant supports your health from head to toe by reducing oxidative stress. Some of its benefits include promoting youthful-looking skin and supporting your heart, brain, and eye health. Astaxanthin is naturally found in krill oil.

Third-Party Testing  

An independent organization will often examine a formula for purity, safety, and quality. It ensures there’s no deception and offers you peace of mind.12,13 So, make sure to look for a “third-party tested seal."

What Dosage Should I Take?

Through the years, there’s been countless studies on both types of omega-3 fatty acids along with all the wonderful health benefits.

However, there’s one question many people are left to wonder: What’s the ideal amount you need to consume each day?

Well, according to a number of high-ranking health organizations, the answer is at least 250 mg of EPA and DHA combined.

Ingredients To Avoid

Ethyl Ester

This synthetic form of omega 3 is inferior to other kinds like triglycerides and phospholipids. In fact, studies suggest that ethyl esters are the least absorbable and most likely to spoil.17,18,19 But some companies still use ethyl ester because it’s cheaper to produce.

Artificial Flavors

The two usual suspects are sorbitol and ethyl vanillin. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener and ethyl vanillin is a cheap, synthetic substitute. They offer zero health benefits and can cause undesired digestive issues from diarrhea to bloating.

What Else To Consider

Sustainably Sourced 

Penguins, whales, and fish depend on krill to survive. So, it’s important to NOT catch excessive amounts of these tiny creatures — or else Antarctica's wildlife may suffer from starvation. An easy way to help is to look for the Friend of the Sea Certification or MSC Certification.

Prioritize Quality  

Make sure to prioritize quality when searching for a krill oil supplement — even if that means paying a little extra for a safe, effective, and clinically-tested formula. Your health is far too valuable to take such a gamble.

Money-Back Guarantee  

It’s always a good idea to invest in a health formula that offers a 100% money-back guarantee. This shows the company’s confidence and faith in its product. So, look for brands that allow you to try their formulas for at least 90-days, risk-free.

2024's Top 5 Krill Oil Supplements On The Market

We tested 71 different omega-3 supplements based on our 5 pillars of excellence: ingredient safety, effectiveness, value, return policy, and customer satisfaction. So, with that in mind, here are the top 5 krill oil formulas of the year.

1. KrillMDTM Antarctic Krill Oil

Owned by the Smarter Reviews Group of Companies

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a bottle of blue liquid

Total Ranking

9.8/10

A+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • 1600 mg of Pure Antarctic krill oil
  • 294 mg EPA & DHA
  • 550 mg of phospholipids
  • 2 mg of astaxanthin
  • No unnecessary fillers or additives
  • No PCBs or mercury
  • No fishy aftertaste
  • 3rd party tested
  • Sustainably sourced with Friend of the Sea Certification
  • Easy-to-swallow soft-gels
  • 90-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Frequently out of stock due to high demand
  • Only sold in the U.S.
The Bottom Line

KrillMDTM Antarctic Krill Oil by 1MD NutritionTM is Smarter Review's number one choice. This superior omega-3 supplement uses Antarctic krill oil that provides 174 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA—one of the best omega quantities and ratios we've seen.

Additionally, they also provide 2 mg of astaxanthin and 550 mg of phospholipids. It's clear that 1MD NutritionTM has done their homework. 

We verified that their formula doesn't contain synthetic fillers or artificial ingredients. 1MD NutritionTM stands by their products by offering a generous 90-day money-back guarantee.

1MD NutritionTM is endorsed by five board-certified doctors, and this is the only brand we found to work with top physicians. They also offer bundled discounts— click below to learn more about their specials.

*Results are based on users' personal experiences collected on this page and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using these products. Please see product website for more information.

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2. Kori Krill Oil Superior Omega-3

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Total Ranking

9.1/10

A-

Overall Grade

PROS

  • 1200 mg of Antarctic krill oil
  • 250 mg of EPA and DHA
  • Phospholipids
  • Gluten and GMO-Free
  • No fishy aftertaste
  • Third party tested
  • Sustainably sourced
  • Easy-to-swallow soft-gels

CONS

  • Contains sorbitol, an artificial flavor
  • Insufficient 0.12 g dose of astaxanthin
  • 14-day money-back guarantee
The Bottom Line

Sustainably sourced from Antarctic krill, Kori Krill adheres to an extremely high standard of purity and quality. Its earned its spot in second place because it meets the omega-3 guideline, is third party tested, and contains phospholipids.

Unfortunately, one serving only provides a tiny portion of astaxanthin and an artificial flavor. Furthermore, it's 14-day guarantee is too short of a duration to see if it brings you any benefits.

*Results are based on users' personal experiences collected on this page and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using these products. Please see product website for more information.

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3. KrillWell

Owned by the Smarter Reviews Group of Companies

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Total Ranking

8.4/10

B

Overall Grade

PROS

  • 1500mg of Antarctic krill oil
  • Phospholipids
  • No unnecessary fillers or additives
  • Non-GMO, non-dairy, gluten free, soy free
  • Third party tested
  • Sustainably sourced
  • 365-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Below omega-3 dose guidelines
  • Insufficient amount of astaxanthin
  • Not endorsed by a doctor
The Bottom Line

KrillWell by Live Conscious comes in third with its large amount of sustainably-sourced Antarctic krill oil.

It also contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin and each omega-3 nutrient is phospholipid-bound to increase bioavailability.

What amazes us the most about Live Conscious is their 365-day, money-back guarantee. It’s the best one we’ve seen for krill oil supplements which is a big reason why KrillWell took the third spot on our list.*

*Results are based on users' personal experiences collected on this page and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using these products. Please see product website for more information.

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4. MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil

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Total Ranking

7.7/10

C+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • 1000 mg of Antarctic Krill Oil
  • 188 mg of EPA & DHA
  • Phospholipids
  • Many positive customer reviews*
  • Well-known brand

CONS

  • Below omega-3 dose guidelines
  • Only contains 0.05 g of astaxanthin
  • Not third party tested
  • Contains sorbitol, an artificial sweetener
  • 30-day money-back guarantee if product is not opened
The Bottom Line

MegaRed by Schiff is a well-known and popular brand name. However, this product contains a significantly lower amount of omega-3 EPA & DHA than the others on this list. It also contains the artificial sweetener sorbitol. After thoroughly searching the website we cannot find any sort of third party testing claim. Also, be wary, their money-back guarantee only applies to unused products. These setbacks bump it down our list.

*Results are based on users' personal experiences collected on this page and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using these products. Please see product website for more information.

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5. Omega XL

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Total Ranking

7.0/10

C-

Overall Grade


PROS

  • 300 mg proprietary blend
  • Has only 40 mg of mussel oil

CONS

  • Amounts of EPA and DHA are not specified
  • Many customers are unhappy with the product overall*
  • 90-day (conditional) guarantee
The Bottom Line

Omega XL is a mussel source omega product. It contains a 300 mg proprietary blend. The amounts of EPA and DHA in this product are not specified. We found the product only offers 40 mg of mussel oil, which is obviously low and not krill-based. We found many negative reviews about the product on Amazon. They offer a 90-day conditional money-back guarantee that does not include shipping. Ultimately, this was the bottom of our top five.

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CITATIONS

  1. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids." University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 5 Aug. 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
  2. Rajaei, Elham et al. “The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Patients With Active Rheumatoid Arthritis Receiving DMARDs Therapy: Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial.” Global journal of health science vol. 8,7 18-25. 3 Nov. 2015, doi:10.5539/gjhs.v8n7p18
  3. "Avoiding omega-3 deficiency." Igennus Healthcare Nutrition. N.p., n.d. https://igennus.com/nutrition/omega-3-science/omega-3-deficiences/
  4. Id
  5. "Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Your Health." Wisconsin Department of Health Services. N.p., n.d. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/environmental/pcb-fish.htm
  6. Hodge W, Barnes D, Schachter HM, et al. Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Eye Health: Summary. 2005 Jul. In: AHRQ Evidence Report Summaries. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 1998-2005. 117.
  7. Fontani, G., et al. "Cognitive and physiological effects of Omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in healthy subjects." European journal of clinical investigation 35.11 (2005): 691-699.
  8. Takaichi, Shinichi, et al. "Fatty acids of astaxanthin esters in krill determined by mild mass spectrometry." Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 136.2 (2003): 317-322.
  9. Kidd, Parris. "Astaxanthin, cell membrane nutrient with diverse clinical benefits and anti-aging potential." Altern Med Rev 16.4 (2011): 355-64.
  10. Tominaga, K., Hongo, N., Karato, M., & Yamashita, E. (2012). Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects. Acta Biochimica Polonica, 59(1), 43.
  11. Yoshida, Hiroshi, et al. "Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia."Atherosclerosis 209.2 (2010): 520-523.
  12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889157519305137
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4678768/
  14. "Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Your Health." et. al. at 1
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17087052/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7362115/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21063431/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1826985/
  19. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11746-015-2612-9