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Confusion between Fish Oil, Krill Oil, Cod Liver Oil as sources for Omega 3 Fatty Acids

by (9948)
Updated about 3 hours ago
Created February 15, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Many have said supplement with Cod Liver Oil. Some have said use just fish oil as CLO contains too much Vit A.

Some have said use Krill Oil as it is better than either CLO or Fish Oil. When I look at Krill Oil labels, the EPA plus DHA adds up to much less than either Fish Oil or CLO. I know I can just take more of the Krill gelcaps to get up to the level of 3000mg/day of EPA + DHA. And the Krill has Astaxanthin which I have read is very good for ones body..but I don't really know why. And neither fish oil or CLO has this ingredient.

Krill seems to cost more than double when comparing units of EPA + DHA. Is it worth the additional cost?

I did purchase Krill Oil once from Vitacost and right out of the bottle it tasted rancid.

Any direction would be appreciated.

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2401 · October 06, 2012 at 11:33 PM

The link that David Moss provided is dead. I did find the study citation, though, and it's a vendor study, not peer reviewed, and so, not published in a mainstream journal. Something seems "fishy" about such a study.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3
2401 · October 06, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Where are you getting your figures for absorption?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107
15593 · August 15, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Thanks Crowlover, interesting stuff. I've always thought carotenoids were a bit rubbish (though I have loads in my diet from plants anyway), but maybe I was wrong.

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4413 · August 15, 2012 at 1:11 AM

oH!!! lol. I did not see that.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 15, 2012 at 12:25 AM

OH and I should add that I opened a cap of Astaxanthin and put it on a scar and the scar GREATLY diminished! Plus I have several brown spots on hands and face and they are noticeably lighter too! For me, I think astax has been very helpful.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 15, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Thanks David.I did do a lot of things all at once- well sort of. First did a 90 day GI protocol to heal leaky gut followed by a high dose antioxidant protocol (high doses of Ubiquinol, R-La, Lycopene and others). My doctor at the time (Tony Perrone) was really succesful with getting TPO down into negative. Prior to him, none of my 5 NDs & MDs had even tried. Tony died sadly but his lectures are still on his website. He was so good. I don't think the TPO would have come down without the antioxidants and in fact I did a trial of not taking them & Tpo creeped back up.Its now 30-I want it lower

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2949 · August 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Crowlover - Morgan's question is over two years old...

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15593 · August 14, 2012 at 8:04 AM

@Crowlover. I'm still not sure about astaxanthin, personally- you may well be right. I was under the impression that its antioxidant activity was less than other carotenoids (and I'm not even too sure about the health benefits of *those*, myself). Your Tpo antibodies score is really impressive, but it sounds like you've made a lot of other changes simultaneously. I've also stopped sunburning now without krill- I assumed just due to higher SFA, o3, vit A.

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4413 · August 14, 2012 at 7:52 AM

The smell is rancid product Marilyn. Oxidized. Defeats the purpose.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:26 PM

@ MOrgan - I just Google searched Krill Oil liquid and there are many.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:24 PM

The only benefit to Krill is that it has asaxanthin (which I personally think is a very useful anti-oxidant and it has helped my skin a ton). Its less costly to take Fish oils (I use on Nordic Naturals) and to buy the Astaxanthin separately. Then you can vary your dose as well. I take 30 mg of Astaxanthin per day.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:22 PM

for what reason? That concerns me since if they are inexpensive they are probably oxidized. NO way. Nordic Naturals is who I trust.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM

oh, I should add that I don't take Krill rather take Astaxanthin separately. For Omega 3s and Vit A I take both Nordic Naturals cod liver (for the Vit A.) along with Ultimate Omega for EPA and DHA.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:17 PM

David I think you are really understimating how powerful an antioxidant Astaxanthin (in Krill) is. I personally have used it along with Ubiquinol, R-la and Lycopene to lower my Tpo Antibodies from 400 to 30 (considered "negative") and it has really helped my skin a lot. I NEVER sunburn anymore. It is so weird. I get really tan and don't burn. Used to burn after 20 mins. Went to Maui for 2 weeks and did not use Sunscreen once. The other 6 people with me had a lot of problems. I think Astaxanthin really helps.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM

David I so wanted to give you +1 here but you do not seem to know about asaxanthin - a very powerful antioxidant that is naturally occurring in Krill and shrimp. I take is separately as I take CLO for the Vit A as well as the Omega 3. Astaxanthin has really helped my skin. And I get tan now and never ever burn. So weird. Went to Maui with 6 friends and was the only one who did not use sunscreen at all and I tanned - didn't burn.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Xymogen you can trust!

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1655 · June 06, 2010 at 1:37 AM

Does anyone know a brand that sells Krill Oil as a liquid? I can't take softgels and I want to try (and I now use Nordic Naturals' Fish Oil liquid). Gratzie!

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10502 · March 18, 2010 at 7:11 PM

@Dave Mc --- did you see any differences?

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320 · February 17, 2010 at 5:54 AM

I use Now Foods 500mg - 2g per day for the last month and a half. I'm having my lipids tested this weekend, and am interested to see the difference, if any.

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9948 · February 16, 2010 at 4:09 PM

David, What brand of Krill do you use?

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15593 · February 16, 2010 at 8:56 AM

...The fact that the maintenance dose works so well, almost makes one suspect that it's largely not the omega 3 in the krill oil that is producing the effect. Otherwise, why would such a diminished dose keep producing the same benefits? For example, CLO would obviously produce benefits over and above fish oil (EPA/DHA being equal), via the vitamin D and vitamin A, but if you had adequate amounts of these there'd be no extra benefit. I'm wondering therefore whether if you had enough [whatever krill oil gives, choline, caretenoids etc] you'd get no more benefits from krill than fish oil?

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15593 · February 16, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Thanks Dave, looking on pubmed just now there are a couple of studies suggesting that krill oil gives relatively larger benefits. Unfortunately it's still sufficiently more expensive that it probably wouldn't be worth me getting it. One wonders why it is that krill oil would be so much better. If it's the phospholipids increasing absorption and digestibility, I wonder whether eating fish oil with SFA (also improves absorption) would produce comparable improvements. The neptune krill oil tested also includes choline, which improves cholesterol...

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11 Answers

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320 · February 16, 2010 at 7:04 AM

@ David Moss

"Krill oil doesn't have any significant extra benefits over fish oil to my knowledge and is normally more expensive, so unless you can find a better-priced version than fish oil, I'd not bother."

Don't agree with you on that one; this study showed a gigantic difference between krill oil and fish oil on LDL and HDL:

http://www.omegagen.com.au/omegaGen/PDFs/OmegaGen_NKO_Clinical_Course_Hyperlipidemia.pdf

On 1g of krill oil per day, HDL increased 43% and LDL decreased 32%. On 3g of fish oil, LDL decreased 4.5% and HDL increased 4.2%.

That, in my mind, is an incredible difference. Also, after the initial 12 weeks, participants cut back to 500mg and maintained the lipid levels, so the cost effectiveness gets pretty good.

Dr. Eades also looked at a study of krill oil on inflammation (can't post the link because I'm a new user and only get one (wtf?), but you can google it). This one was krill oil against a placebo, but 300mg gave some impressive results.

I'm sticking with the krill oil.

Dave

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15593 · February 16, 2010 at 8:56 AM

...The fact that the maintenance dose works so well, almost makes one suspect that it's largely not the omega 3 in the krill oil that is producing the effect. Otherwise, why would such a diminished dose keep producing the same benefits? For example, CLO would obviously produce benefits over and above fish oil (EPA/DHA being equal), via the vitamin D and vitamin A, but if you had adequate amounts of these there'd be no extra benefit. I'm wondering therefore whether if you had enough [whatever krill oil gives, choline, caretenoids etc] you'd get no more benefits from krill than fish oil?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107
15593 · February 16, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Thanks Dave, looking on pubmed just now there are a couple of studies suggesting that krill oil gives relatively larger benefits. Unfortunately it's still sufficiently more expensive that it probably wouldn't be worth me getting it. One wonders why it is that krill oil would be so much better. If it's the phospholipids increasing absorption and digestibility, I wonder whether eating fish oil with SFA (also improves absorption) would produce comparable improvements. The neptune krill oil tested also includes choline, which improves cholesterol...

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458
9948 · February 16, 2010 at 4:09 PM

David, What brand of Krill do you use?

E11b5316aba45546e6950f213bf983fa
320 · February 17, 2010 at 5:54 AM

I use Now Foods 500mg - 2g per day for the last month and a half. I'm having my lipids tested this weekend, and am interested to see the difference, if any.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
10502 · March 18, 2010 at 7:11 PM

@Dave Mc --- did you see any differences?

78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088
1655 · June 06, 2010 at 1:37 AM

Does anyone know a brand that sells Krill Oil as a liquid? I can't take softgels and I want to try (and I now use Nordic Naturals' Fish Oil liquid). Gratzie!

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:24 PM

The only benefit to Krill is that it has asaxanthin (which I personally think is a very useful anti-oxidant and it has helped my skin a ton). Its less costly to take Fish oils (I use on Nordic Naturals) and to buy the Astaxanthin separately. Then you can vary your dose as well. I take 30 mg of Astaxanthin per day.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:26 PM

@ MOrgan - I just Google searched Krill Oil liquid and there are many.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 15, 2012 at 1:11 AM

oH!!! lol. I did not see that.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052
2949 · August 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Crowlover - Morgan's question is over two years old...

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3
2401 · October 06, 2012 at 11:33 PM

The link that David Moss provided is dead. I did find the study citation, though, and it's a vendor study, not peer reviewed, and so, not published in a mainstream journal. Something seems "fishy" about such a study.

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22913 · June 06, 2010 at 1:18 AM

Phospholipid cellular absorption

makes krill oil worth it.

If you can absorb almost all of A and only a small percentage of B...

Look at the cost per absorbable EPA/DHA not the cost per available

0d821bf7d4028b84a6838062db0e9ce0
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754 · June 06, 2010 at 12:52 AM

one thing to add aside from the effect of krill oil on lipid profiles (where it beats everythign else I've seen)

The forms of EPA/DHA in krill oil, natural fish oil, and the 2 types of molecularly distilled fish oil are all different and differently absorbed. krill oil is about 90% absortion rate natural fish oil tryglyride form is about 66-69% molecularly distilled (ethyl esther form) fish oil is about 20% synthetic tryglyeride is lower than 20%

so in other words assuming 120mg EPA, 90mg DHA per dose of each of the above what you actually get in your body as far as the omega 3's you care about is

krill oil:108mg DHA, 81mg DHA Natural Triglyceride fish oil: 79.2mg EPA, 59.4mg DHA Ethly Esther oil (molecularly distilled fish oil):24mg EPA, 18mg DHA synthetic = not even worth using

additionally with a high fat (44g of fat in the meal was used in the study on natural and ethyl ester fish oil) the absorption rate of natural fish oil went up to 90%, and the Ethyl ester oil went up to 60%. Which I'm assuming would = 100% rate on the krill in the same situation.

so its something to think about when figuring out the bang for your buck in omega 3 sources.

personally I use Krill, natural and ethyl ester (cheap stuff) all with high fat meals if possible, depends on whats on sale/available.

good info from here

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2401 · October 06, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Where are you getting your figures for absorption?

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15593 · February 15, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Whether you want CLO or fish oil depends on what you want it for...

CLO will give you rather modest amounts of vitamin D and good amounts of vitamin A. If you're not getting either from other sources, then you'd likely need more vitamin D anyway. Since you get relatively more vitamin A than D (and the ratio's important), you'd never be able to take enough CLO to meet your vitamin D needs. Getting adequate vitamin A without CLO would be as easy as having liver every week or two, which would give you a tonne of other nutrients.

Since vitamin A+D are so vital, it would be best to have CLO than have none at all, but if you have to get other sources of A+D anyway, then it's probably better to just get fish oil, you can get more omega 3 cheaper that way.

Krill oil doesn't have any significant extra benefits over fish oil to my knowledge and is normally more expensive, so unless you can find a better-priced version than fish oil, I'd not bother.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM

oh, I should add that I don't take Krill rather take Astaxanthin separately. For Omega 3s and Vit A I take both Nordic Naturals cod liver (for the Vit A.) along with Ultimate Omega for EPA and DHA.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM

David I so wanted to give you +1 here but you do not seem to know about asaxanthin - a very powerful antioxidant that is naturally occurring in Krill and shrimp. I take is separately as I take CLO for the Vit A as well as the Omega 3. Astaxanthin has really helped my skin. And I get tan now and never ever burn. So weird. Went to Maui with 6 friends and was the only one who did not use sunscreen at all and I tanned - didn't burn.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:17 PM

David I think you are really understimating how powerful an antioxidant Astaxanthin (in Krill) is. I personally have used it along with Ubiquinol, R-la and Lycopene to lower my Tpo Antibodies from 400 to 30 (considered "negative") and it has really helped my skin a lot. I NEVER sunburn anymore. It is so weird. I get really tan and don't burn. Used to burn after 20 mins. Went to Maui for 2 weeks and did not use Sunscreen once. The other 6 people with me had a lot of problems. I think Astaxanthin really helps.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107
15593 · August 14, 2012 at 8:04 AM

@Crowlover. I'm still not sure about astaxanthin, personally- you may well be right. I was under the impression that its antioxidant activity was less than other carotenoids (and I'm not even too sure about the health benefits of *those*, myself). Your Tpo antibodies score is really impressive, but it sounds like you've made a lot of other changes simultaneously. I've also stopped sunburning now without krill- I assumed just due to higher SFA, o3, vit A.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 15, 2012 at 12:25 AM

OH and I should add that I opened a cap of Astaxanthin and put it on a scar and the scar GREATLY diminished! Plus I have several brown spots on hands and face and they are noticeably lighter too! For me, I think astax has been very helpful.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · August 15, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Thanks David.I did do a lot of things all at once- well sort of. First did a 90 day GI protocol to heal leaky gut followed by a high dose antioxidant protocol (high doses of Ubiquinol, R-La, Lycopene and others). My doctor at the time (Tony Perrone) was really succesful with getting TPO down into negative. Prior to him, none of my 5 NDs & MDs had even tried. Tony died sadly but his lectures are still on his website. He was so good. I don't think the TPO would have come down without the antioxidants and in fact I did a trial of not taking them & Tpo creeped back up.Its now 30-I want it lower

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107
15593 · August 15, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Thanks Crowlover, interesting stuff. I've always thought carotenoids were a bit rubbish (though I have loads in my diet from plants anyway), but maybe I was wrong.

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20 · October 24, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Krill oil has another benefit - the krill is very small, has a short life span and doesn't absorb the mercury and impurities from the ocean like bigger and older fish do, so it's cleaner and safer. You can buy the Walgreen brand for a fraction of the cost of the name brand krill oil. Same ingredients, but it has the fishy smell, whereas the expensive krill oil doesn't. I'll take the smell and save a bundle.

Wow, read this about the benefits of krill oil - http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/uncategorized/why-krill-oil/

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4413 · August 14, 2012 at 7:52 AM

The smell is rancid product Marilyn. Oxidized. Defeats the purpose.

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10768 · June 10, 2010 at 12:20 AM

The omega3 in krill has the same phospholipid structure that human cells do, making for easy adsorption with fewer metabolic steps.

Fish sources are structured differently than us, so the enzyme sets in our body have to convert it step by step... If you are the unlucky person who is short on some of those enzymes for fish oil conversion, you'll get even less benefit out of fish oil.

Krill oil seems the clear winner to me.

That aside, rancid is never a good thing.

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10 · August 09, 2012 at 9:20 PM

I decided to take both. I see more mood support from the Xymogen CLO I'm taking than the krill caps I'm taking. JMHO.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Xymogen you can trust!

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2401 · August 13, 2012 at 10:53 PM

I've ordered from Vitacost, too, but all my product has been fine. The alleged difference is that the structure of krill oil makes more bio-available than the other forms. The research, however, was all done in-house by the N. American distributor, Neptune, and has never been submitted for a peer-reviewed journal. So, while the theory that it's more bio-available is intuitively appealing, it hasn't passed the acid test of peer scrutiny or replication of experiment. Folks usually get suspicious of vendor-conducted research, and rightly so. I don't see why this situation should be any different.

I usually respect the opinion of Dr. Mike Eades highly, but in this case, he didn't cite any specific studies to back up the claims of KO's superiority. So, I'm siding with Chris Kresser, who remains skeptical of the bio-availability, until there's some reputable research on this issue.

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452 · August 09, 2012 at 9:32 PM
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0 · May 17, 2012 at 10:29 AM

How different are the the codliver oil and omega 3 atty acids?

Any idea from any one here on how frequently these can be taken..

http://www.internationaldrugmart.com/over-the-counter-meds/seacod-active.shtml http://www.internationaldrugmart.com/over-the-counter-meds/seacod-capsules.shtml

Both seem to look alike.

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566 · February 15, 2010 at 5:43 PM

I've been listening through Robb Wolf's podcasts and he makes a good case for finding inexpensive fish oil capsules (assuming you're looking for omega 3s). I think he talks about it in episode 12.

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4413 · August 13, 2012 at 11:22 PM

for what reason? That concerns me since if they are inexpensive they are probably oxidized. NO way. Nordic Naturals is who I trust.

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