Improving brain health and optimizing mental capabilities is growing in popularity, but supplements that can improve both cognitive and physical performance are even more convenient. Popular news outlets have been touting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for years now, but this thorough analysis will give you more details.
While fish oil is a great way to achieve improved cognition and prevent inflammation, some forms are more useful than others. Comparing krill oil vs. fish oil will show you that these small crustaceans are superior to any other fish.
If you want to skip to the "Conclusion" at the bottom, that will give you a quick answer to help you choose krill or fish oil.
What Makes Krill Special?
Before discussing krill oil vs. fish oil, it's important to understand what krill is, how it lives, and how this separates it from other types of sea life. It is considered a crustacean (not a fish), which is at the bottom of the food chain. Because krill feed on phytoplankton, their nutrition content is immense for larger animals in the sea (including whales).
For the same reason krill make an excellent food source for seals, whales, jellyfish, and other ocean animals, they are useful for humans. One of the main benefits is the quantity and quality of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s – DHA / EPA
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids is important for a healthy diet, but there are many misconceptions. The primary benefit of having high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is to balance the omega-6 fatty acids that are most often found in the standard western diet.
Grains and animals that are fed grains often have fat in the form of omega-6 fatty acids, which creates an imbalance in the human body. This imbalance often leads to ill-health and only balancing with adequate omega-3 fatty acids can make a difference.
However, there are multiple types of omega-3 fatty acids. One misconception is that they are all equal. Flaxseed is touted as a new wonder product for omega-3s, but usually it is in the form of alpha lipoic acid (ALA), which is not well absorbed by the human body. In fact, the benefit of ALA comes after it is converted into DHA. The conversion rate is only 9 – 15%, though – not very useful!
All omega-3s are not created equal and in your quest to consume more, DHA and EPA should be the highest on your priority list. DHA is the primary structural component of the human brain. It also makes up portions of the cerebral cortex, retina, and skin. Replacing these vital systems with dietary DHA is of paramount importance, which is why fish oil supplements have become so popular in recent years.
Krill Oil Benefits – DHA / EPA
When comparing krill oil vs. fish oil, the content of DHA and EPA matters greatly. Krill has high quantities of DHA and EPA, but the benefit is how these fatty acids are stored. In krill a large portion of DHA/EPA is stored in a phopholipid with a phosphate group on the end. This means it is easier for humans to absorb, which makes it more efficient than fish oil.
Even though DHA / EPA are the same in fish oil and krill oil, the way they are contained in krill makes it far more bioavailable and useful for the human body. Studies suggest krill oil is 33% more effective than fish oil and 68% more effective than ethyl esters.
The krill oil benefits for DHA/EPA are related to bioavailability. Consuming any sea life for DHA will be more useful than flaxseed, but consuming krill specifically will be your best bet.
This is why our Krill Oil product has only 500 mg per serving. Your body will do far better absorbing the krill oil, which means you need less. Click here to find out more about our krill oil to improve cognitive abilities and prevent joint inflammation.
Improved Cognition – Memory & Learning
The primary advantage of krill and fish oil are for your brain and general cognition. Because supplementation includes DHA (what your brain is primarily made of), it is no wonder it helps to improve brain function.
Using DHA / EPA can improve learning ability and test taking on certain tests. Analysis of EEG showed shifts towards theta and alpha brain waves as well. Memory, both in young adults and in elderly, is improved through DHA alone even to the point of mitigating early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Krill and fish oil can also improve mood and reduce anxiety / depression symptoms. Many people who suffer from tension can find peace through omega-3 supplementation.
Krill oil specifically is associated with better memory and learning, which seems more advanced than fish oil. Some scientists believe this is the astaxanthin that has such positive effects on cognitive abilities.
Astaxanthin – Krill Secret Weapon
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is found most prevalent in krill.
Endurance athletes, such as soccer players and cyclists, found that antaxanthan helped to improve their power output and speed over distance. Some human trials even showed improved fatty acid oxidation (fat loss) with astaxanthin supplementation.
It is an added anti-inflammation agent as well, which is one of the reasons krill oil is superior to fish oil. Overall, DHA/EPA act as anti-inflammatories, but with additional benefits from astaxanthin, krill oil has the advantage.
Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil – Anti-Inflammation
Even though krill oil has an advantage with astaxanthin, both krill oil and fish oil exhibit tremendous anti-inflammation properties. EPA is not abundant in the human brain, but studies suggest it is beneficial because of the anti-inflammatory actions itself. DHA is a precursor to an anti-inflammatory agent called NPD1, which makes fish oil a useful tool to combat inflammation.
For athletes, joint health and comfort is of paramount importance. Performance athletes have it even worse because their training and competition regimens are often at odds with good health. Krill oil at 300 mg (which is a smaller dose than our 500 mg krill oil), was able to reduce joint pain by 20.3 – 28.9%.
When comparing krill oil vs. fish oil, there are actually relatively few differences when it comes to anti-inflammation. Even though krill oil has astaxanthin and is considered by experts to be more useful than fish oil, there is speculation this has to do with absorption.
Conclusion – Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil
From a very direct comparison of krill oil vs. fish oil, it is easy to see which one is better. For whatever physiological and evolutionary reason, krill oil benefits are far more pronounced than that of fish oil. This does not mean that fish oil will not be helpful, but only that krill oil is probably more better product for you.
If you find krill oil too expensive or you already have large quantities of fish oil, don't worry – fish oil is tremendously healthy as well. Taking fish oil (or eating fish) is far better than nothing.
For your brain, krill offers great anti-inflammatory benefits. By negating inflammation from sugar, gluten, and other stress, you can have a clearer head and improve memory, learning, and attentiveness.
Athletes can also see tremendous joint-health benefits from krill oil, which can improve performance and prevent injuries. Because krill oil is so superior, it is a perfect addition to your supplement collection to optimize physical and mental capabilities.