When it comes to cardiovascular health, the terms DHA and EPA are often thrown into the table. These are basically the good stuff your heart and blood vessels need to be in good condition especially with health threats brought by aging. But there are several other health benefits that these two provide the body. However, what is brewing in the market today is the question on which one is the better source; fish oil or krill oil?
What are essential fatty acids?
When we talk about fish and krill oil, it is important that we understand what essential fatty acids are. These are classified as polyunsaturated fatty acids that are necessary for the body to perform its metabolic functions. Since the body cannot produce this, it has to be acquired through our diet.
Whole food sources include shrimp, tuna, halibut, trout, sardines, cod and spinach. Another option is to take supplements to supply you with the recommended daily intake.
To narrow it further, one of the essential fatty acids that our body needs – and something you can get out of fish and krill oils – are omega-3 fatty acids. This is the major selling point of fish and krill oil supplements, and the bearer of the numerous health benefits.
Let’s take high cholesterol levels, for instance, since this is a common problem people struggle with. Instead of taking statins to control your bad cholesterol levels, taking supplements can help you prevent it from spiking up. You also avoid the side effects that comes along with maintaining these medications. This is just one condition that you can steer away from, just imagine how much your are saving in medicine expenses with the number of conditions that Omega-3 can help you avoid?
What good can you get from Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
I am sure you might have heard of omega-3 fatty acids and what it does for heart health. There are many research studies available to support this. But it actually has a lot to offer when it comes to overall health, which makes it a very important nutrient to be included in your daily health arsenal. Included in its wide range of benefits are the improvement of cholesterol levels, lowered risk of coronary heart disease, protection of the arteries from hardening, reduced risk for cancer, and it improves the symptoms of depression and attention-deficit hypersensitivity disorder (ADHD).
As mentioned earlier, two of the popular sources of omega-3 fatty acids prepared in supplements are fish and krill oil. There have been a lot of comparisons between the two, saying one is better than other. Let’s see the important points to consider between these two, and decide for yourself which sells better for you.
This type of oil is the first to come into the market, and it caused such a stir being a new heart health hero. It earned more acceptance when it was learned that fish oil was also able to help with aging, bone health, cancer prevention and memory-boosting properties among many others. This made fish oil a “superfood” because it gives the body several benefits which protects you from diseases and different inflammatory processes as you age.
The important component found in fish oil is the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid). It was found that the levels of these two omega-3 fatty acids are fewer in Americans compared to individuals from other nations with lower heart disease rates, like Japan. This shows that nourishing your body with these fatty acids is one foot out the door from diseases.
The usual sources of fish oil, which are used in supplements, are fatty fish such as tuna and mackerel. But due to the increasing demands in the market, some companies turn to farm-raised fish. Ocean-caught fish are already at risk for contamination from PCBs, mercury, and toxins; the same also goes for farm-raised fish but with a higher incidence.
Just because it can do you good, you can already get away with taking plenty of it. This doesn’t necessarily hold true with fish oil supplements because high doses can have harmful effects. It increases your risk for bleeding, affects your blood sugar control, and even increase your bad cholesterol levels.
Another common complaint with fish oil supplements are the “fish burps” you get afterwards. It leaves you with this fishy taste in your mouth. Fish oil supplements are prone to oxidation and rancidity which can cause the release of damaging free radicals in your body.
As was discussed above, fish oil extracted from species that are contaminated with dangerous heavy metals can also be possible. This is highly likely when the company does not take certain measures in manufacturing.
Slowly gaining popularity and acceptance in the supplement market are krill oil supplements. It is derived from krill, a tiny crustacean that looks like a shrimp which thrives in the pristine waters of Antartica. These little creatures feed on plankton that are floating on the ocean floor surface.
Krill oil also promotes better heart health, maintains normal blood sugar levels, controls cholesterol levels, and supports bone and joint health. It also helps build a healthy immune system which protects you from common inflammatory diseases, like cancer, as you age. On top of that, it also controls your mood levels.
This oil is also able to control your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. It is crucial that these two fatty acids are kept balanced so you are able to better absorb the omega-3 fats.
Krill oil contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, which also gives the oil its red pigment. It is reported that the oil derived from krill has a higher concentration of EPA and DHA. It is also rich in vitamins A, E and D and is even said to possess more antioxidant action than other sources. And what makes it more efficient in providing nutrients is its unique phospholipid structure which allows it to become more absorbable.
This oils also contains lutein, with its antioxidant power 47 times more effective. It also has a rich dose of co-enzyme Q10, an enzyme necessary for basic cell function which decreases as you age.
The krill from which this oil is derived from is found in the clean waters of the Antarctic. This is a major selling point because these areas are not polluted making the product safe and healthy. With it, you no longer have to worry about the dangerous levels of heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins and other contaminants.
To reduce the oxidation process krill has to be frozen or kept in water tanks after it is harvested. They are kept there until it is already time to process the oil. This increases the manufacturing cost which also increases the price of every bottle of krill oil supplement.
Which is a better source?
So on the question as to which among the two is a better source of Omega-3 fatty acid, we can conclude that Krill oil has more advantage. First of all, research shows that it is able to provide more DHA and EPA. So when it comes to efficiency, krill oil has the upper hand because it not only gives you more, but it is also better absorbed by the body.
Since purity is a major concern when it comes to supplements, Krill oil provides us better assurance of quality. The sources alone will tell us that it is less likely to be contaminated. Plus, krill oil also doesn’t give you those nasty fish burps.
However, you do have to accept that such a product can come at a price. Compared to fish oil, krill oil supplements are more costly because of the manufacturing process.
It’s not to say that fish oil are outdated and dangerous because these still remain to be a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. But if you are looking for something better, then krill oil definitely gives you the advantage.
You can check out this Krill Oil Review: