As krill oil gains popularity across the supplement space, you may be wondering why people choose to use it. Many gymgoers tend to think about whey protein, pre-workout, and even multivitamins as the main focus supplements. Cue krill oil. Krill oil has seen an increase in popularity as a means of ingesting more omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are ALA, EPA, and DHA, and they may be helpful for the development of the eyes and brain. (1) Krill oil is often compared to fish oil, but krill oil may be more absorbable due to its phospholipid content and may provide more antioxidants. (2)
One study suggests that krill oil may be helpful for boosting brain function, reducing joint inflammation, and increasing the bioavailability of other supps, making them more available for our bodies. (3) Although there are many studies that demonstrate krill oil’s potential benefits, it can still be confusing as to what you should look for in your supp. It’s vital to keep ingredients, dosage, sustainability, and price in mind when making a pick. We picked the best krill oil supplements and geared them toward a diverse audience, including those who may need krill oil for heart health, lower cholesterol, or just a solid dose of omega-3s.
Best Krill Oil Supplements
- Best Value Krill Oil: BulkSupplements Krill Oil
- Best Krill Oil For Cholesterol: NOW Supplements Neptune Krill
- Best Krill Oil For Pescatarians: Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
Best Value Krill Oil
One major factor when it comes to picking the right krill oil supplement for your lineup will be the price point. With a high-quality product and an excellent price tag, this krill oil is a top choice, in our opinion.
BulkSupplements Krill Oil
BulkSupplements Krill Oil contains 1,000mg of krill oil per each two soft gel serving. This supp also includes 300mg of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA derived from krill oil, gelatin, glycerin, and water, making it a fairly straightforward supplement. The capsule is made from gelatin, so it may not be suitable for those who practice pescetarianism. The beauty of BulkSupplements is that they have a varied selection of bulk buys. This krill oil supplement comes in 100, 300, and even 10,000 pill buying options.
BulkSupplements sells their products, well, in bulk, meaning they offer a very cost effective krill oil option. Their product is lab tested for purity and potency.
Their krill oil is lab tested for purity and label accuracy, which is a somewhat underrepresented aspect across a lot of the krill oil market. They guarantee that their product is free from sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, corn, and additives — a nice reassurance for people who have specific dietary needs. Despite paying heed to getting tested for label accuracy, it lacks any certifications for sustainability like some of its competitors. That isn’t a deal-breaker for some, particularly those who value cost-efficiency more, but it is something to be aware of.
Who Should Take BulkSupplements Krill Oil
- People who want certificates of analysis. BulkSupplements will provide them upon request to prove that each batch is tested for purity.
- Customers who want to purchase up to 10,000 capsules at a time, which costs around $0.12 per serving and can (ultimately) save a considerable amount of money.
- Those who want a supp that’s free from sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, corn, and additives.
Who Shouldn’t Take BulkSupplements Krill Oil
- Folks upset by a lack of certifications for sustainability from organizations like MSC or Friend of the Sea.
- People who want specifics as to the origin or the krill used. BulkSupplements doesn’t reveal the country of origin for their krill, as it’s sourced from various places.
- Anyone who follows a kosher, halal, or pescatarian diet.
When push comes to shove, it is going to be quite difficult to find a better bang for your buck when it comes to buying krill oil. The sheer volume available to purchase by BulkSupplements dwarfs their competitors. With that benefit does come tradeoffs, though. Sourcing krill from various sources means that there isn’t a specific origin to point to that will coincide with the batch you receive. The purity testing was enough to still earn a respectable rank on our list, and for anyone looking to buy in bulk, you found your match.
Best For Cholesterol
Cholesterol is necessary for our bodies to build cells, but too much LDL cholesterol can be a bad thing. Heightened LDL cholesterol can generate heart problems and clog your arteries, and krill oil may be an effective way to help manage it. (6) NOW supplements designed their krill oil with cardiovascular health in mind.
NOW Supplements Neptune Krill
NOW takes the unusual avenue of using Neptune Krill Oil (NKO), which may contain more phospholipids than most of its competitors. Research has found that these fats may be significant with regard to managing cholesterol and more effective at reducing glucose and triglycerides when compared to fish oil. (6) However, it is best to talk to your doctor before beginning any new supplementation regimen, especially if you have an existing condition like high cholesterol.
A high phospholipid krill oil that carries rigorous certifications for both sustainability and potency. Each single-softgel serving provides one gram of krill oil and 250 milligrams of Omega-3.
The bottle of NOW’s krill oil specifically states that it is designed with cardiovascular health in mind. One study found the effectiveness of NKO for combatting high cholesterol to be statistically significant. The study found that supplementing with NKO could be effective at reducing overall cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels as well as increasing HDL levels. (6) In addition, this krill oil carries certifications from third-party tester UL and sustainability organization Friend of the Sea. This supp costs just around $0.50 per serving and each serving is two capsules.
Who Should Take NOW Supplements Neptune Krill
- Anyone looking to prioritize phospholipid content in their supplement.
- Those who specifically want to target lowering their bad cholesterol will like the additional benefit that an NKO source (like this one) may provide.
- People who prefer certifications from Friend of the Sea and a third-party testing organization.
Who Shouldn’t Take NOW Supplements Neptune Krill
- Folks who cannot consume bovine gelatin — they’re pork-free, but still may be off-limits for certain consumers.
- Conservative spenders. Although this won’t break the bank, it is more expensive than some other options on our list.
- Those who like a multitude of bulk buying options. This supp is only available in a 60-serving bottle.
Certified sustainable by Friend of the Sea and made with Neptune krill oil, this supp holds up against our other competitors. The potential to help with maintaining healthy cholesterol and the additional phospholipids make this a major contender for anyone seeking krill oil for heart health.
[Related: The Best Types Of Supplements For Performance, Weight Loss, And Health]
Best Krill Oil For Pescatarians
Although many krill supplements seem like they would be acceptable for a pescatarian diet, many of the capsules contain gelatin. This pick is made from tilapia gelatin, making it a suitable choice for those avoiding any land animal products.
Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
With an unusually high dose of 330 milligrams of omega-3s per serving, Viva Naturals stands out for its potency and for its rigorous testing: it’s not only been third-party tested for label accuracy, but it also carries certifications from both Friend of the Sea and The International Krill Oil Standard (IKOS). IKOS tests for contaminants and stability, as well as for label accuracy.
A particularly potent krill oil that carries multiple certifications for purity and sustainability. Pescetarian-friendly, each two-capsule serving provides 1,250 milligrams of krill oil.
This pick contains a whopping 1,250mg of krill oil per serving, which boasts 90mg of DHA and 165mg of EPA. They provide multiple buying options in the form of one bottle, four bottles, or six bottles, which provides the opportunity to save a decent chunk of change. If you opt for one bottle — which contains 30 servings — you’ll pay around $0.83 per serving. Whereas, if you choose to buy six bottles up front, the price per serving drops considerably.
Who Should Take Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
- Anyone who would value their multiple certifications for purity and sustainability.
- Pescatarians — the capsules are made with tilapia gelatin, so they contain no pork and/or beef.
- Those who want to bulk buy their krill oil for a sweet price drop per serving.
Who Shouldn’t Take Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
- Anyone not prepared to buy into the pricier end of the krill oil market.
- People who are not comfortable swallowing larger capsules.
- Those who prefer a single pill serving as this requires two pills per serving.
Having a higher price tag and being larger in size versus comparable krill oil capsules are knocks against Viva Naturals. However, their certifications for sustainability and access are enough to slot them toward the top of our rankings — especially for our pescatarian friends.
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Benefits of Krill Oil Supplements
While most omega-3 supplements are derived from fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, and mackerel, krill are crustaceans that are usually sourced from Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
They’re tiny, about one or two centimeters long, and as a trophic level connection — meaning they’re at the bottom of the food chain — they’re enormous in number. It’s estimated there are 379 million tons of Antarctic krill swimming around the ocean, making this species the one with the largest total biomass. Maybe we can learn a thing or two about bulking from them.
Fish Oil vs. Krill Oil
So why consider krill oil instead of fish oil? Both are great sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, but there are a few reasons some folks prefer krill.
Krill oil contains more phospholipids, which may help the omega-3s to better absorb. (10)(11) It’s been shown in studies that while fish are one to one and a half percent phospholipids, krill are 40 percent phospholipids, making them far superior for those concerned with phospholipid intake. (9) Some research has found higher concentrations of EPA and DHA in participants taking krill oil versus fish oil, though more research is needed. (1)(12)(13)
Krill oil contains more antioxidants, like astaxanthin. In addition to potential benefits for heart health, astaxanthin acts as a natural preservative, so krill oil is less likely to go rancid on the shelf than fish oil. (14)
As they’re abundant in nature and reproduce quickly, there’s an argument that krill is a more eco-friendly option, although it’s important to look for certifications (see below) if sustainability is a priority. Because of their short lifespans, they’re less likely to be exposed to mercury and other toxic chemicals. Krill oil may also be less likely to produce the “fishy burps” that fish oil does.
How We Chose the Best Krill Oil Supplements
Although it may be surprising to some, there is actually a lot of variety when analyzing the reasonable options on the market for krill oil. Different producers can aim their products at offering something specific that they feel the rest of the market is lacking. That is good news for consumers, but it also means there are more variables to take into account when trying to make the most beneficial purchase. Here is what we looked at when selecting our top choices.
No secret here, if someone is looking to purchase krill oil, there is likely to want some supplementation to their omega-3 intake. When grading each product, one should consider what the intent of the manufacturer is — although all krill oil will have omega-3 content, it may not be the only focus — and how heavy of a dose is provided per serving.
Dovetailing off of omega-3 content, understanding the dosage of anything else added to the formula is also something to be keenly aware of. For example, if a consumer is looking to increase their omega-6 intake alongside their omega-3 intake, there may be large discrepancies in the dosage of omega-6 across products. This may be true for DHA and EPA, phospholipids, or astaxanthin dosages as well.
Additionally, dosage helps signify the cost efficiency of a product. The higher the dose (assuming that’s desirable) paired with a higher amount of servings at a lower cost will obviously rank higher and have a larger impact on a consumer’s purchase.
[Related: Nutrition For Bulking: 10 Tips For Intelligent Muscle Gain]
Third-Party Purity Testing and Sustainability
If there is a krill oil supplement on the market and it hasn’t been third-party tested for purity and label accuracy, it is probably going to fall behind those that have — it certainly affects our ranking. Knowing that you are getting what you pay for is important, not only from a cost-efficiency standpoint but also so you know what you’re putting into your body. Label accuracy is another thing that products can be third-party tested for and they should be. Unfortunately, not all products are.
This is not to say that a supplement manufacturer would print inaccurate labels, it just offers peace of mind knowing that the dose of a particular ingredient listed on a label is the dose you are consuming. When it comes to sustainability, this isn’t a requirement of every consumer so we can’t have it influence our rankings as heavily, but we do have to take it into consideration.
Having sustainability certification or not doesn’t necessarily have a negative effect on the product itself, but having transparency around the production of something you will spend money on and consume can certainly be worth knowing.
How Much Do Krill Oil Supplements Cost?
Krill oil is a rather cost-effective fish oil supplement that still carries a host of potential benefits you might expect from more expensive fish oils, such as supporting brain function, inflammation, and cardiovascular health. While some omega-3 supplements can cost an arm and a leg, or more appropriately, a fin and a tail, krill oil supps tend to be fairly inexpensive.
|Best Value Krill Oil
|BulkSupplements Krill Oil
Per serving: $0.36
|Best Krill Oil for Cholesterol
|NOW Supplements Neptune Krill
Per serving: $0.41
|Best Krill Oil for Pescatarians
|Viva Naturals Antarctic Krill Oil
Per serving: $0.83
Krill oil supplements can range in price depending largely on how many servings are included in the container, as well as the potency of each serving. You’ll generally find that krill supps cost somewhere around $18 to $50 with the price per serving being relatively low at about $0.40 to $0.83.
What To Consider Before Buying Krill Oil Supplements
When picking a krill oil supplement, you will want to consider a few varying factors to make sure you’re selecting a supp that best suits your needs. Price, dosage, type of krill, sustainability, third-party testing, and serving size are a few of the important factors you’ll want to weigh before your purchase.
The price of krill oil supplements will definitely vary. Some of the major factors that will influence price will be ingredient lists, dosages, certifications, and sustainability practices. Generally speaking, the price of a supp will spike with the addition of more ingredients. It will also vary depending on the dosage. If a supp has a much higher dose of krill oil or omega-3s compared to another pick, it will probably be more expensive.
Similarly, any sustainability measures taken or third-party testing done on the supp will usually up the price of the product. These factors may not be important to some people, but for others, they may be uncompromisable components to picking a krill oil that’s best for them.
It may be that you want to avoid mercury, support sustainable fishing practices, or want third-party testing done to ensure the effectiveness of your supp. Either way, these generally tend to up the price of a supplement. While krill oil does have some interesting evidence suggesting its superiority to fish oil, it’s worth remembering that fish oil is considerably cheaper. Even if krill oil may absorb better, the cents-per-gram-of-omega-3s’ value is better with fish oil.
Each of our picks packs distinctly different dosages for almost every ingredient. They have varying dosages for krill oil content, omega-3s, EPA, DHA, phospholipids, and astaxanthin. Some may skip on one or more of those ingredients entirely. It’s always best to think about what your needs are for krill oil — lowering cholesterol, joint health, brain function, etc. — and optimize dosages for these specific ingredients based on your goals.
Always be sure to read the label closely: The amount of krill oil is always more than the actual dose of omega-3 fatty acids. That isn’t really ever explicit in product labeling, so it is good to be conscious of it when making the most educated purchasing decision.
Type of Krill
We provided options on this list that contain regular krill oil and Neptune krill oil (NKO). Although they are similar, it’s best to opt for NKO if your main focus is phospholipid intake. Although the choice of which type of krill oil you want to add to your stack may not make or break the benefits you reap, it’s good to be mindful if you have a certain goal in mind.
It’s not a priority for everyone, but many krill oils stand out in the market with certifications from organizations that verify their practices with regard to environmental sustainability. The International Krill Oil Standard (IKOS), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and Friend of the Sea are all good options.
This may not be important to some, but for others, third-party testing may be a major component of how you choose your krill oil supp. Label accuracy and purity can majorly affect the supplement’s integrity, which can be important for some folks. You may be vehemently against a krill oil supplement that contains mercury, or that isn’t tested for quality. Each person’s needs will be different, but it is worth thinking about whether these factors play into your needs. If a supplement has been third-party tested, we’ve called it out on this list.
[Related: The Lifter’s Guide To Magnesium: What This Nutrient Does For Strength]
Supplementing with krill oil may provide some major benefits to anyone who is looking to boost their heart health, decrease inflammation, or lower bad cholesterol. Krill is high in omega-3s and contains fatty acids DHA and EPA, which can be essential to brain function. Krill may be a more absorbable form of omega-3s and may be great to pair with other supplements as it can help boost their bioavailability. (3) No matter what your reasoning is for adding krill oil to your lineup, it is packed with the potential to improve mental health, support healthy brain function, and boost heart health.
Krill oil’s high content of fatty acids, easily absorbable phospholipids, and lesser fishy taste make it a more enjoyable way (than fish oil) to consistently intake omega-3s as part of a well-balanced diet — for some. Although it’s just gaining momentum in popularity — especially compared to omega-3 supps, or tried and true fish oil — the research is compelling. As always, make sure you speak to a doctor before making any changes to your diet and supplement regimen.
Is krill oil necessary for me to take?
Although krill oil isn’t necessary to take, it may be helpful for a host of reasons. Some of the conditions it may benefit are inflammation, heart conditions, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and depression. (4) It is extremely important to consult with your healthcare provider before self-prescribing or replacing existing medication with krill oil.
What is the best krill oil supplement?
A lot of people have preferences and opinions about which krill oil supplements are the best, and you’ll likely never get the same answer from two people. Our favorites come from Legion, Onnit, and Nordic Naturals.
Why should I take krill oil instead of fish oil?
Krill oil has its own set of unique benefits that may make it a better choice for you over fish oil or omega-3 supplements. Krill oil has a higher count of phospholipids, which may be beneficial to those who suffer from high cholesterol or need to lower LDL and triglycerides. (6) Krill oil also tends to have less of a fishy taste than fish oil, so if that’s something that is holding you back from taking an omega-3 supplement, krill oil may be a great option to replace fish oil.
Is taking krill oil bad for the oceans?
If sustainability is something that you’re passionate about, there are ways to supplement with krill oil that are ocean-safe. You’ll want to choose a krill oil supplement that has been certified by either the International Krill Oil Standard (IKOS), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), or Friend of the Sea. This will allow you to get your daily dose of krill oil without compromising your personal set of ethics.
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