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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:

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

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

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.7

In numerous studies, researchers have found links between omega-3 supplements and decreased anxiety levels.7

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.19

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.4

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.13 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.15,17 Astaxanthin boosts skin health and has been shown to increase good cholesterol levels.16,18 To see results, our research found that you need at least 2 mg of astaxanthin per serving.

What Dosage Should I Take?

Clinical studies link higher dosages of omega-3s (EPA and DHA) with better improvements in joint, cardiovascular, and mental health.19,20,21 That means, while a supplement should have a high krill oil dosage, it's important to look for high EPA and DHA content, as well.

For best results, we recommend at least 150 mg of EPA,120 mg of DHAand 1600 mg of krill oil.

Your Definitive Krill Oil Checklist

Picking any krill oil off the shelf may not give you the results you were hoping for. That's why it’s important to keep these additional tips in mind when shopping for a krill oil supplement.

Prioritize Quality 

It's vital to prioritize quality when searching for a krill oil supplement, even if that means paying a little more for a high-quality, safe, 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 krill oil supplement that offers a 100% money-back guarantee that shows the company's faith in its product. Look for brands that offer at least a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Beware Of These Ingredients

As our oceans become more polluted, certain heavy metals are starting to contaminate our fish supply. When fish eat other fish, they accumulate higher levels of contamination. Since krill only eat microscopic plants called plankton, they don't contain the following heavy metals often found in fish.20

Mercury

Experts warn that long-term exposure to this highly reactive metal may cause health concerns.18

PCBs

PCBs—or polychlorinated biphenyls—are a group of manufactured organic chemicals. PCBs account for 209 individually chlorinated chemicals.19    PCBs typically have a higher concentration in fish.

2021's Top 5 Krill Oil Supplements On The Market

We tested 72 different omega-3 supplements, and based on our 5 pillars of excellence: ingredient safety, projected effectiveness, value, return policy, and customer satisfaction, we discovered the Top 5 Krill Oil Supplements of 2021.

1. KrillMDTM

Total Ranking

9.8/10

A+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • 1600 mg of Pure Krill Oil with 174 mg of EPA, 120 mg of DHA
  • 550 mg of phospholipids
  • 2 mg of astaxanthin
  • 100% natural with zero synthetic ingredients
  • Lemon oil coated, easy-to-swallow pills
  • 90-day unconditional 100% money-back return policy

CONS

  • Due to popular demand, frequently out of stock
The Bottom Line

KrillMDTM by 1MD NutritionTM is Smarter Review's number one choice. This superior omega-3 supplement uses a scientifically studied krill oil formula that contains 1600 mg of krill oil, and 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 unconditional money-back guarantee.

1MD NutritionTM is endorsed by two 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. KrillWell

Total Ranking

9.1/10

A-

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Contains a potent dose of EPA & DHA
  • Contains powerful phospholipids and astaxanthin
  • Non-GMO & non-dairy
  • Made in USA
  • Gluten & Soy Free
  • 365-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Not endorsed by an MD
The Bottom Line

KrillWell by LiveWell Nutrition comes in a close second with its potent amounts of EPA and DHA in their sustainably-sourced krill oil.

It also contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin and is phospholipid-bound, ensuring increased bioavailability.

We also found that LiveWell recently opened an Amazon store where you can buy this krill oil supplement for a discounted price. It does, however, appear to be a new listing, explaining the lack of reviews.

*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. MegaRed Ultra Concentration Omega-3 Krill Oil

Total Ranking

8.4/10

B

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Many positive customer reviews*
  • 225 mcg of astaxanthin (from krill oil)
  • Krill-derived omega supplement

CONS

  • Only contains 750 mg of krill oil
  • Contains artificial sweeteners
  • No money-back guarantee offered
The Bottom Line

MegaRed by Schiff is a well-known and popular brand name. However, this product contains a significantly lower amount of krill oil than the others on this list. It also contains the artificial sweetener sorbitol. After thoroughly searching the website we cannot find any sort of money-back guarantee to be found. These setbacks bump it down our top 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. Kori Krill Oil Superior Omega-3TM

Total Ranking

7.7/10

C+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Derived from well-sourced, natural krill
  • High purity standard 
  • Gluten and GMO-Free

CONS

  • Contains only 250 mg of DHA and EPA
  • Only 1200 mg of krill oil per serving
  • Insufficient 120 mcg dose of astaxanthin
  • No money-back guarantee
The Bottom Line

Sustainably sourced from Antarctic krill, Kori Krill adheres to an extremely high standard of purity and quality. Unfortunately, one serving brings a wanting 1200 mg of krill oil. Its combined 250 mg of DHA and EPA is well below standard. With only 120 mcg of astaxanthin, Kori Krill offers limited benefit to skin health. Still, Kori Krill earns a spot in our Top 5 for their commitment to all-natural ingredients and total purity.

*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

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

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  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. "Omega-3 Supplements: In Depth." National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. N.p., Aug. 2015. Web. 24 June 2018. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3/introduction.htm
  4. 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.
  5. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution." Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. N.p., n.d. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
  6. "Essential Fatty Acids: The Work of George and Mildred Burr." The Journal of Biological Chemistry. N.p., 2012. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
  7. "Avoiding omega-3 deficiency." Igennus Healthcare Nutrition. N.p., n.d. https://igennus.com/nutrition/omega-3-science/omega-3-deficiences/
  8. Kidd, Parris M. "Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids." Alternative medicine review 12.3 (2007): 207
  9. DeFilippis, Andrew Paul, Michael J. Blaha, and Terry A. Jacobson. "Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular disease prevention." Current treatment options in cardiovascular medicine 12.4 (2010): 365-380.
  10. Dietary Supplementation of Krill Oil Attenuates Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Experimental Ulcerative Colitis in Rats,Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, November 30, 2011: 47(1); 49-58, T. Grimstad, et al.
  11. Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation and Anxiety in Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, November 2011: 25(8); 1725-34, J. K. Kiecolt-Glaser, et al. 11. Lobraico JM, DiLello LC, Butler AD, Cordisco ME, Petrini JR, Ahmadi R.
  12. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2015 Oct 14;3(1):e000107. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000107. eCollection 2015. PMID: 26504524
  13. 13. 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.
  14. Papanikolaou, Yanni, et al. "US adults are not meeting recommended levels for fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake: results of an analysis using observational data from NHANES 2003-2008." Nutrition journal 13.1 (2014): 1 Ulven, S. M., Kirkhus, B., Lamglait, A., Basu, S., Elind, E., Haider, T., ... Pedersen, J. I. (2011). Metabolic Effects of Krill Oil are Essentially Similar to Those of Fish Oil but at Lower Dose of EPA and DHA, in Healthy Volunteers.Lipids, 46(1), 37-46. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11745-010-3490-4
  15. 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.
  16. Tominaga, K., Hongo, N., Karato, M., & Yamashita, E. (2012). Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects. Acta Biochimica Polonica, 59(1), 43.
  17. Kidd, Parris. "Astaxanthin, cell membrane nutrient with diverse clinical benefits and anti-aging potential." Altern Med Rev 16.4 (2011): 355-64.
  18. 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.
  19. "Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Your Health." Wisconsin Department of Health Services. N.p., n.d. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/environmental/pcb-fish.htm
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  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7362115/
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6087749/
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  24. Schuchardt JP, Schneider I, Meyer H, Neubronner J, von Schacky C, Hahn A. Incorporation of EPA and DHA into plasma phospholipids in response to different omega-3 fatty acid formulations - a comparative bioavailability study of fish oil vs. krill oil. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2011;10:145. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-10-145