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Rankings: best krill oil of 2019

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When it comes to omega-3 fish oils, you can go the traditional route and start taking generic fish oils, or you can double down on a new and exciting source of omega-3s—krill oil.

Currently the #2 omega-3 supplement on the market, krill oil could soon overtake fish oil—once the word gets out about their natural benefits (NutraIngredients-usa).

You see, krill oil is the Cinderella fish oil—more potent, easier to absorb, and naturally free of pollutants—but not drawing a lot of attention to itself.

We think that’s going to change. And soon.

In this article, we’ll answer your questions about krill oil, from the top 10 krill oil supplements to how it works and why you should consider it as a part of your daily health regimen.

Let’s get to it…

Top 10 krill oils

1. 1MD Antarctic Krill Oil

1MD krill oil

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For enhanced heart, joint, and cognitive support, trust 1MD’s Antarctic Krill Oil.

This is the most concentrated and bio-available krill oil on the market, giving you a whopping 1600mg of pure krill oil and delivering 320mg total of omega-3s.

  • EPA – 174mg
  • DHA – 120mg
  • Phospolipids – 550mg
  • Astaxanthin – 2mg

1MD uses a multi-stage oil extraction technology that boosts bio-availability and improves absorption—so you get every last drop of healing power from your krill oil supplements. And with this supplement, you get more astaxanthin than in any other krill oil on the market.

89% of users report improved joint health. 83% report improved mental performance. Nowhere else will you see results like that!

Non-dairy. Non-GMO. Gluten-free. Soy-free. Preservative-free. Natural lemon coating treatment gives you a pleasant aftertaste.

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2. Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil

Sports Research krill oil

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Sports Research Antarctic Krill Oil gives you more high-quality krill oil for your dollar. It contains 1,000mg of Krill oil per softgel, plus some of the highest levels of naturally occurring EPA, DHA, Phospholipids, and Astaxanthin on the market.

  • EPA – 128mg
  • DHA – 60mg
  • Phospholipids – 400mg
  • Astaxanthin – 1,000mg

This new advanced formula is made with Superba2 Krill Oil, clinically proven to increase omega-3 fatty acid levels in the body. Each softgel also contains 1mg of the powerhouse antioxidant astaxanthin.

This unique formula gives you less krill smell with no aftertaste. The phospholipid-bound omega-3 fatty acids are water dispersible, making them easier to digest than fish oil. Goodbye, gross fishy aftertaste!

We especially like that it’s sustainably sourced: Superba Krill is sustainably harvested and 100% traceable from sea to shelf. Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and IKOS 5-star certified Krill Oil (See IKOS independent testing in the image section).

“I just got my labs back and love my results. I have had chronically high cholesterol my entire adult life—as high as 305!! … My total cholesterol is now 187! I’ve NEVER tested that low. After just 41 days.”

 Gluten-free. GMP certified. Clinically proven.

3. Viva Naturals Krill Oil

Viva Naturals krill oil

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Viva Naturals Krill Oil gives you 1,250mg of krill oil in just 2 easy-to-swallow capsules—a high concentration you won’t find in most other competitors.

  • EPA – 165mg
  • DHA – 95mg
  • Phospholipids – 500mg
  • Astaxanthin – 1.6mg

But Viva Naturals isn’t just trying to rack up the omegas. Their goal is to give you total control…

If you take just one capsule a day, you’ll get everyday omega-3 support. But for the full benefit of krill oil, they recommend 2 capsules a day. Either way, this supplement will give you good results.

“Best Krill oil by far… I have been using it for years and it did improve my numbers and lowered my cardiac risk score from 4.5 to a 3! You do not need to take it every day since it is an oil. Just a few times a week.”

“I have arthritis of the thumb base in both hands. Very painful. After trying Viva Labs (Viva Naturals, now) for several weeks, I noticed that my thumbs were not hurting so badly. I continued to use the krill oil daily and have found that my thumbs are very mobile and, most often, pain-free.” 

They also take sustainability seriously. After catching their krill, they immediately process them on board the ship, eliminating the possibility of decomposition. That keeps the oil fresh and potent.

Friend of the Sea certified. 5-star certified by IKOS.

4. Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil

Bronson krill oil

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Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil gives you a high-quality formula that’s been consistently recommended by the foremost nutritional scientists like Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling.

Each 2-softgel serving gives you 1,000mg of krill oil.

  • EPA – 120mg
  • DHA – 80mg
  • Phospholipids – 200mg
  • Astaxanthin – 200mcg

And quality is assured. Krill are harvested from cold Antarctic waters, and all processing is done directly on the fishing vessels for maximum purity and potency. It’s also laboratory tested for heavy metals at an FDA cGMP-registered facility.

Non-GMO. Gluten-free. Soy-free. 100% pure. Heavy metal-tested.

5. Jarrow Formulas Krill Oil

Jarrow Formulas krill oil

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For a truly sustainable source of krill oil, turn to Jarrow Formulas Krill Oil. It’s extracted from krill biomass supplied only from vessels and facilities monitored by members of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

We also like that Jarrow Krill Oil is a low-temperature extract, rich in Omega-3 PUFAs (EPA and DHA). It gives you a full 1,200mg of krill oil, with 260mg total omega-3s.

  • EPA – 120mg
  • DHA – 70mg
  • Phospholipids – 70mg
  • Astaxanthin – 115mcg

The astaxanthin and phospholipid levels are lower in this formula than in others, but it still gets good reviews.

“I have been taking one pill a day for about 3 weeks. Wow, I can tell a big difference in my brain function. I don’t feel foggy and my recall has definitely improved.”

“I really like this brand of krill oil. No after-burps, the pills are easy to swallow and it’s high quality. Krill oil is a bit more expensive but I think worth the extra cost.”

Wheat-free. Gluten-free. Soybean-free. Dairy-free. Egg-free. Nut-free.

6. Renew Naturals Krill Oil

Renew Naturals krill oil

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Renew Naturals Krill Oil is a good option for your daily omega-3. Two softgels give you 1,000mg of Superba2 krill oil.

  • EPA – 120mg
  • DHA – 54mg
  • Phospholipids – 400mg
  • Astaxanthin – 100mcg

Because Renew Naturals is family owned and operated, they’re more personal and accessible than larger businesses. They treat their business as a calling, not a profit center.

They’re also committed to sustainability. Renew Naturals relies on the ECO-Harvesting system to ensure no other fish or animals are captured. The krill is brought aboard alive and fresh through a connected hose that protects their beneficial properties.

This allows for the freshest krill oil possible, is friendly to the environment, and is a gentle process that minimizes environmental impact.

Gluten-free. Soy-free.

7. Schiff MegaRed Superior Omega-3 Krill Oil

Schiff MegaRed krill oil

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For a small health boost that won’t break the bank, look for MegaRed Superior Omega-3 Krill Oil. Each softgel gives you 350mg of krill oil.

  • EPA – 50mg
  • DHA – 24mg
  • Phospholipids – 130mg
  • Astaxanthin – 17mcg

Not much in each pill, but here’s why that’s a good thing: There are 130 softgel capsules in each bottle, which means you can adjust your dosage to fit your personal needs. Even if you take 2–3 pills per day, each bottle will last more than a month.

Of course, Schiff claims their MegaRed is 3x more pure than regular krill oil—so we have to assume they think you only need one pill daily. What makes the difference? According to them, by removing salts and other impurities, they have the purest krill oil on the market.

“I’ve ordered several of these during the past year as I struggled with dry eye problems as a result of LASIK… I very rarely experience discomfort in my eyes anymore, and when I do, I realize it’s because I forgot my supplement that morning. Highly recommend for those that have gone through LASIK or currently experience some pretty bad dry eye problems!”

No added sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, gluten, or milk. No preservatives or artificial colors. Eco-friendly sourced to sustain a healthy krill population. Independently certified to the MSC’s standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery.

8. Origin Labs Jocko Super Krill

Origin Labs Jocko Super Krill

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Sometimes you gotta battle for your health. With Jocko Super Krill, you’ll do just that. Each 2-softgel serving gives you 1,000mg of krill oil for your daily omegas.

  • EPA – 120mg
  • DHA – 80mg
  • Phospholipids – 200mg
  • Astaxanthin – 200mcg

With higher than average omega-3 levels, this formula will help you knock out pain and support your heart and brain.

 “47 year old guy. Moderately active but had been in a lot of “minor” pain (that adds up) ankles, knees, shoulders, back… but feel much better when on Jocko super krill. Didn’t really think it was working until I went on a work trip for 5 days or so when 8 forgot it. Won’t do that again!”

The Jocko brand is one worth considering. Developed by a retired SEAL, veteran of the battle of Ramadi, and recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and other personal and unit awards. Jocko knows how important it is to have your body working for you—strong and capable.

Lab verified. GMP certified. FDA registered facility.

9. NOW Neptune Krill Oil

NOW krill oil

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NOW is a family owned and operated company that’s been supporting natural health and sustainability since 1968. And NOW Neptune Krill Oil carries the same quality standards they apply to all their products.

Each 2-softgel serving gives you 1,000mg of krill oil.

  • EPA – 120mg
  • DHA – 70mg
  • Phospholipids – 390mg
  • Astaxanthin – 750 mcg

NOW doesn’t hype their product, but their customers don’t mind:

“If you’re new to krill Supplements and you’re not sure where to start to sort through all the hype and find what’s effective, you’ll be glad you started here. I take this every day. No strange side effects!! I have nothing bad to say!! Buy this with confidence!! Five Stars!!!”

Clearly, it works—and well.

No yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, or egg ingredients. The softgel capsule is made with bovine gelatin.

10. NatureBell Antarctic Krill Oil

Naturebell Antarctic krill oil

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NatureBell is committed to providing pure, organic, high-quality products that exceed industry standards. That commitment shows in their willingness to give you a good Antarctic Krill Oil that’s also cost-effective.

Each 2-softgel serving gives you 1,000mg of krill oil, and each bottle will last you 3 months.

  • EPA – 120mg
  • DHA – 70mg
  • Phospholipids – 400mg
  • Astaxanthin – 1mg

This formula is pharmaceutical-grade with all-natural ingredients. It’s also third-party tested in the USA.

Soy-free. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. GMO-free.

What is krill oil?

Krill is a small, shrimp-like crustacean that grows in the cold Antarctic ocean. Only about 2.5 inches long, they’re a primary food supply for whales, penguins, seals, and fish.

live krill

Source: Oystein Paulsen

As it turns out, they’re also a terrific source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. According to some experts, krill oil is even better than fish oil.

One reason is that it’s far less likely to be contaminated by heavy metals and mercury. Because krill is at the bottom of the food chain and are harvested in the cold Antarctic waters, they aren’t exposed to as much pollution. And since they’re not contaminated, neither is krill oil.

Krill oil isn’t as well-known as its cousin fish oil, but it’s gaining a lot of attention from natural health experts because of its unique benefits.

In fact, it’s now the second-best selling form of omega-3s, right behind fish oil, according to krill supplier Aker BioMarine.

So let’s dig in and see why krill oil could make a smart addition to your health regimen.

Who should buy krill oil?

Anyone who doesn’t eat 1–2 servings of oily fish (sardines or salmon, for example) per week should take krill oil supplements. That includes children, adults, pregnant and nursing women, and seniors.

If you need omega-3 supplementation but don’t like the stomach upset or fishy aftertaste of fish oil, krill oil is for you.

People who should not take fish oil include:

Anyone taking Warfarin or similar anticoagulants: High doses of krill oil can thin the blood and prolong clotting times. Depending on your situation, you may need to avoid krill oil altogether or simply take a reduced dosage. Discuss possible interactions with your healthcare provider.

People with an implanted defibrillator to regulate the heartbeat: Krill oil could increase the risk of irregular heartbeat.

People who will be having surgery: Stop taking krill oil at least 2 weeks prior to your surgery, and make sure there’s no risk of bleeding before starting supplementation again.

Anyone with a shellfish or seafood allergy: krill oil is derived from krill, which is a shellfish, so it could trigger an allergic reaction in people with sensitivities or allergies.

How we ranked krill oil

We scoured the internet looking for the best sources of krill oil that provide the most benefits. When ranking krill oils, we look at:

  • The source of krill oils
  • The amount of DHA and EPA
  • The purity of the product
  • The presence of additional ingredients to help bioavailability and absorption
  • The presence of additional ingredients that water down the effectiveness
  • The reputation of the manufacturer
  • And more

According to our research, the products we’ve included in this article should be good sources for krill oil that can boost your health.

Benefits of krill oil

Experts agree, krill oil is an exciting alternative to traditional fish oil. It’s got all the benefits of omega-3 fish oil, plus a few other benefits you can’t get anywhere else.

What are the specific health benefits of krill oil?

Krill oil may be the most bioavailable source of omega-3.

The most unique benefit of krill oil is its bioavailability. Studies have found that krill oil is 40% more usable by your body (FoundMyFitness).

It’s got a high percentage of phospholipids (phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, and phosphatidylethanolamine) that make it both water soluble and fat soluble. Unlike fish oils that sit on top of the contents of your stomach, krill oil mixes with the food you eat, so it’s easier for your body to absorb.

But that’s not all…

With fish oil, EPA and DHA oils are delivered in either a triglyceride or ethyl ester form. While the triglyceride form is more bioavailable than the ethyl ester form, both need further processing to get into your bloodstream.

They need to combine with enzymes in your intestines that remove glycerol (if triglyceride) or ethanol (if ethyl ester), converting them into a free fatty acid form that can be transported into your cells.

That’s a lot of work your body has to do to absorb fish oil!

In krill oil, that’s not necessary. EPA and DHA can be absorbed intact because they come in a phospholipid form. Unlike triglycerides or ethyl esters, phospholipids can be transported intact as micelles (FoundMyFitness).

Krill oil has powerful antioxidant properties.

Krill oil has a naturally occurring carotenoid that other fish oils are missing, namely, astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin is what makes krill oil red (as opposed to the yellow color of fish oils). It’s a carotenoid antioxidant that comes from the krill’s favorite food, microalgae.

Why is this so beneficial?

Not only does astaxanthin keep krill oil from going rancid, it keeps your body young too. It’s a powerful free radical that protects your cells, cell membranes, organs, and body tissue from oxidative stress and inflammation.

Astaxanthin supports youthful skin, vision (especially depth perception), recovery after a hard workout, immunities, clear thinking, and more.

Krill oil is an anti-aging powerhouse.

The astaxanthin in krill oil has been found to reduce inflammation, decrease DNA damage, and increase the good HDL cholesterol.

These benefits could help fight cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and heart disease. At the very least, they’ll help you feel energized and healthy so you feel younger longer.

Krill oil could reduce arthritis pain.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is the inflammation marker that goes hand in hand with arthritis. As it turns out, krill oil has powerful anti-inflammation properties—which could help fight the pain and stiffness so common with arthritis.

And studies are backing it up…

In a 2007 study, osteoarthritis patients who had low levels of joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function in the knees and hips were given 300 mg of Antarctic krill oil daily. After just one month, these patients needed less pain-relief medication than participants who didn’t take krill oil (PubMed abstract).

A 2016 study found that 2g of krill oil a day effectively reduced pain and stiffness in adults with mild knee pain (NCBI).

Krill oil is good for the brain.

Studies have shown that krill oil is especially good for the brain (Sugasini). Here’s why…

The brain is about 60% lipid by dry weight, with DHA making up 10-20% of those lipids. Many supplements claim they supply DHA to the brain. And many probably would be—IF, that is, they could cross the blood-brain barrier so the brain could use them.

You see, the transporter at the blood-brain barrier requires a phospholipid form of DHA (Sugasini). Krill oil is one of the few supplements that has that built in. Its DHA-phosphatidylcholine cleaves with phospholipases to become LPC (DHA-lysophosphatidylcholine), so it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and do its work.

Krill oil can help fight inflammation.

Inflammation is at the root of many of the diseases of the 21st century, and krill oil is a powerful tool for fighting inflammation on a systemic level.

A 2007 study found that a daily dose of just 300mg of krill oil significantly reduces inflammation and arthritic symptoms within just 7–14 days (PubMed abstract).

But it appears that krill oil can also help fight inflammation in the gut. This is incredibly important because experts are beginning to isolate gut health as both the cause and the cure of many of the diseases we associate with old age.

So put away your ketogenic cookbook. You may not need it if you start supplementing with krill oil. In a 2016 study, it was found that krill oil improves the intestinal barrier integrity and controls the bacterial invasion of epithelial cells, reducing intestinal inflammation (PubMed abstract).

Krill oil supports a healthy heart.

Study after study confirms that krill oil could be good for the heart—helping raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, improving heart health overall, and even protecting against major cardiovascular events.

A 2017 study found that krill oil can reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (PubMed abstract). That’s a big difference from omega-3 fish oils, which are known to mildly elevate LDL (“bad”) cholesterol (Mayo Clinic).

A 2016 study found that krill oil lowered triglycerides in mildly overweight hypertriglyceridemic subjects almost as well as omega-3 fish oils—but with a dose that’s 4 times lower (PubMed abstract).

A 2015 study found that krill oil improves endothelial dysfunction and HDL in diabetes patients. The endothelium is a thin membrane lining the inside of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells control vascular relaxation and contraction, blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion (Cedars-Sinai).

Sure, this study applied to diabetes patients, but it raises the possibility that krill oil can achieve these same heart-healthy benefits for all of us. After all, if krill oil can correct endothelial dysfunction at all, it makes sense that it may reduce cardiovascular risk factors and protect against atherosclerosis too.

Krill oil may help with PMS symptoms.

A study comparing krill oil and fish oil for the management of PMS and period pain found that women taking Neptune krill oil experience significantly less pain and fewer emotional symptoms of PMS (PubMed abstract).

There seems to be anecdotal support for this benefit too. In our review of the top 10 krill oils, we found several reviews claiming krill oil had reduced or removed PMS-related pain and discomfort.

Side effects of krill oil

Side effects of krill oil tend to be mild. Look for:

  • Bad breath
  • Heartburn
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Loose stools

There seem to be fewer side effects with krill oil than with fish oil since krill oil has astaxanthin and phospholipids, which make it more bioavailable to the body.

Since fish oil sits on top of the food in your stomach, it can give you an oily aftertaste and burps. Krill oil, on the other hand, mixes into the foods you eat, so you don’t have the stomach upset that’s commonly associated with fish oil (SuperbaKrill).

Recommended dose of krill oil

The USDA recommends that you take no more than 3 g/day (or 3,000 mg/day) of EPA and DHA combined from your diet and supplements. They recommend your supplements supply no more than 2 g/day (2,000 mg/day) of that total.

But it is believed that krill oil is more than 3 times more effective than fish oil, which means 1,000mg of krill oil is about equal to 3,000mg of fish oil—giving you better results with less (Dr. Oz).

It’s probably a good idea to start at 500mg to 1,000mg of krill oil to fill your omega-3 needs. If you feel you need more, consult your healthcare provider.

Krill oil FAQ

Need more information? Here are answers to common questions about krill oil.

What are the benefits of krill oil?

Krill oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. So you get all the benefits of omega-3 fish oil, which may include:

  • Less inflammation
  • Lower pain levels
  • Protection against macular degeneration
  • Help with brain fog
  • Lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Lowered risk of cancer

It also provides some unique benefits you don’t usually see with traditional fish oil:

  • Built-in antioxidant benefits
  • Better absorption rate
  • Elevated mood
  • Better pain support
  • Improved brain health

Which is better: krill oil or fish oil?

Krill oil delivers the same omega-3s as fish oil, but it also contains naturally occurring phospholipids and astaxanthin. It’s these extra nutrients that make experts think krill oil may be better.

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant, and the phospholipids help your body absorb the omega-3s in krill oil. It’s these ingredients that make krill oil as much as 3x more effective than fish oil.

On a side note, krill oil is also better tasting, and the pills are smaller.

Is krill oil good for weight loss?

We saw no studies linking krill oil to weight loss.

What are the benefits of krill for skin?

Krill oil reduces photosensitivity and inflammatory response of the skin (Oregon State). This may provide some protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.

In addition, the astaxanthin in krill oil may help reduce the effects of aging skin. Its antioxidant activity and molecular and biochemical messenger properties may protect against the loss of collagen and elastin in the dermal skin layer—reducing sagging and wrinkles (NCBI).

What is krill oil made from?

Krill oil is made from a small shellfish that lives in the cold Antarctic waters. There are many types of krill, but most krill oil comes from the species Euphausia superba.

Related resources

Omega XL Review: the omega-3 super oil

Omax3 Review: the ultra-pure omega-3 supplement

Rankings: best fish oil of 2019

Summary

Krill oil isn’t as well known as fish oil, but it’s becoming a favorite source of omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Because krill comes from cleaner waters and is near the bottom of the food chain, it has fewer contaminants that could harm your health. It’s also got some additional ingredients that are proving to be incredibly helpful in boosting immunities, providing anti-aging support, and fighting the symptoms of chronic diseases.

For overall health, consider krill oil for optimal health and anti-aging.

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