Krill oil versus Fish oil

October 2010, Warren Matthews

Summary

From time to time our readers/customers ask about krill oil. Often this results from the promotion of this by Dr Mercola. Here is the latest one...

From time to time our readers/customers ask about krill oil. Often this results from the promotion of this by Dr Mercola.

Here is the latest one raised by Michael about a listing on Dr Mercolas site.

Michael comments:

Dr. Mercola's site just published opinion on krill vs. fish oil. Would love you to take a look and explain your opinion--there is some crazy responses (but i believe from most who think they are experts')

Thx Mike

p.s.--one did say that Byron Richards stated there are only 6 small studies on krill--but there was no response to that post--not surprising.

Warren responds:

Yes, Michael there has been very few studies on krill oil to date, and there is no evidence supporting the assertion that phospholipids are more bio-available than either the triglyceride or ethyl ester forms of fish oil.
Dr Mercola does make some pretty wild claims such as krill is 200 times less prone to oxidation than fish oil…primarily because of the presence of the astaxanthin, and of course the constant references to the improved bio-availability.

I have a lot of respect for Dr Mercola but I think that some of the references made in this article claiming the virtues of krill are over the top and his remarks putting all fish oils into the same basket are downright unfair. There are certainly some bad fish oils out there, but, there is also a lot of very high quality ones…ours included.

Interestingly, they do not publish actual lab data on the purity of the krill oil or data on the oxidation either.

I have posted below a copy of a blog article that I did some time ago relating to Dr Mercola’s krill oil. I have not checked whether the pricing is still the same, but I am sure that overall financial comparison will still be valid.
It started off with a posting on the blog:

Blog posted in August 2009

Question: from Marena

Please, enlighten me. What about the Krill oil that Dr Mercola sells? Please, tell me your truth. Many thanks.

Answer: from Warren

Krill oil is really an interesting product in that it is more hype than substance. A few years ago we were offered krill oil but decided to stay with our fish oil.

The reason being that it just didn’t make sense to change, and although that was some years ago I have seen nothing to change our position on this.

There are a number of things that don’t 'sit right' with me about krill oil.

1. The marketers of krill oil claim that it is more sustainable than fish oil. I really am at a loss to understand their reasoning on this. At the moment fish oil is not a drain on fish resources simply because the fish are not caught just for their oil. They are caught for their flesh for human consumption. A by-product is the fish oil of which 90% is used for industrial and agricultural purposes. Less than 10% is used for fish oil supplements. So, the use of fish oil for supplements has zero impact on the sustainability of fish.

On the other hand the krill is caught solely for the purpose of converting into oil for supplements. So, for each ton of krill that is caught there is one less ton of feed available for whales and other fish that depend upon it. The entire marine ecosystem starts with the krill. By reducing the amount of krill available in the oceans may have other long term implications. Therefore I would not personally use it.

2. The other argument used by marketers of krill oil is that krill has less contamination. This is a valid argument when comparing with some fish. However, it is possible to get the same level of purity with fish oil as with krill if it is handled and processed correctly so it you are using a good brand of fish oil this is not an issue unless it is not molecularly distilled. If it is not distilled then you have to be a lot more careful as the type and source of the fish is very important.
For example, the fresh New Zealand hoki that we use is totally different to most of the fish in the Northern Hemisphere which does have high levels of contaminants…but our NZ hoki is free of such contaminants. Have a look at our Buyers Guide for more info.

3. A big thing is made of the presence of astaxanthin because it is an antioxidant. No argument there but it is nothing to make a big deal about. For example, the typical level is only 0.3mgs per soft gel or 0.6mgs per daily dose. (That is what is in Dr Mercola's product). Interestingly, the level of astaxanthin in krill is quite low. Most of it is added after the ‘event’ to bring the levels up to that stated on the labels. They use the same astaxanthin in krill oil as we use in our Premium and QH Omega 3 Fish Oils.

All our fish oils contain mixed tocopherols and anti-oxidants and rosemary extract as well.

4. Krill oil will generally not 'repeat' on you like most fish oils. However, quality fish oil will not repeat either. The problem is that many do because of the way in which the fish is handled where the 'crude' oil is substandard. We don’t have that problem because we control the entire process.

And lastly there is the question of Omega 3 content and price.

A bottle of Dr Mercola’s krill oil has 60 caplets for $24.95 which contains:
EPA – 2,700mgs
DHA – 1,500mgs

In contrast a bottle of Xtend-Life’s Omega 3 DHA fish oil which has 60 soft gels contains:
EPA – 7,200mgs. That is just under 3 times as much.
DHA – 16,800mgs. That is more than 11 times as much.

Plus the Mercola product costs 45% more!

I hope that this answers your question Manena

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