What is the difference between Krill oil and Fish oils?

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In the realm of food supplements and healthy eating there are many options for you to consider when choosing the supplement that works best for you. Here at Omega 3 of Norway we offer high quality Wild Water Norwegian Omega 3 oil & the Finest Antarctic red krill oil, of which both have many health benefits. But what exactly is the difference between Omega-3 fish oil and red krill oil and which one is better for you? 


The differences between fish oil and krill oil

While fish oil and krill oil share many of their health benefits, they differ in their origin and also have structural differences when it comes to their molecular makeup.

Different origins

Fish oil is made from fatty fish such as anchovies, mackerel or salmon and it contains the essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which mostly take the form of triglycerides in fish oil. Krill oil however, is gained from krill, which are a small crustacean that is mainly consumed by other sea creatures such as whales and penguins. When we talk about Antarctic Krill oil, like we do here at Omega-3 of Norway, we refer to a specific species called the Euphausia Superba, habitating in the southern Antarctic Ocean. In krill oil, 30-65% of the fatty acids are stored in the form of phospholipids, and krill oil also contains the antioxidant astaxanthin that gives it its red colour. 


Triglycerides vs phospholipids

However their origin is not the only difference between fish oil and krill oil. While they both contain the essential Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that are essential for our bodies, these take different forms in the two oils. 

In fish oil, they mostly take the form of triglycerides which are a molecular structure combining three fatty acids such as EPA and DHA for example that are Esterified (bonded) to a glycerol backbone. Norway Omega – have a 10x patented Mollecular Distillation process. Some fish oil supplements also come in the form of concentrates, which contain fatty acids but in the form of Ethyl Esters, this form leaves the Omega 3 in a more synthetic form and less readily absorbed by the body. Read more about the difference between fish oil and fish oil concentrates.

In krill oil however, fatty acids take the form of phospholipids, which are among the most common fatty acids in our bodies and form the basis components of our cell membranes. The Omega-3s that are bound to phospholipids in krill oil can be absorbed quicker and more efficiently because of that. Additionally, Phospholipids are soluble in water which allows the body to absorb the nutritional benefits more naturally and faster. This also means that the Omega-3s that we consume in this form, form a complete mixture in the stomach instead of sitting on top of the stomach fluid like it can be the case with other Omega-3s such as fish oil. 


Havoysund, Finnmark, Norway, “Fishermen are just back to deploy catches fished in the Barents Sea”


The Benefits Of Fish Oil

Fish oil is considered a very wholesome food supplement and has a positive impact on many functions of our body. The fatty acids EPA and DHA it contains are essential polyunsaturated fatty-acids. This refers to a specific molecular structure and also the fact that our body can not produce those fatty acids itself but relies on a balanced and healthy diet with additional supplements if needed.

Fish oil and heart health

Fish oil has many benefits for our cardiovascular system and supports our heart in a variety of ways. It can help to reduce our blood pressure and keep the heart beating at a steady pace with its anti-arrhythmic properties. Furthermore, it can have a positive impact on our blood lipid levels and reduce cholesterol for example, which in high concentration can increase the risk of plaque build-up in our arteries which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

A strong anti-inflammatory

One of the biggest health benefits of fish oil is its anti-inflammatory impact on our body. This is especially important when it comes to strengthening our immune system and helping it in its function as our primary line of defence against viruses and bacteria. It also helps to combat chronic low-grade inflammations that can be hard to notice, but still cause damage to our body. Such long-term inflammations can even be associated with the development of diseases such as arthritis, so it is important not to let them go untreated. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can also help muscles to recover faster after exercise and fish oil is therefore used as a supplement by world-class athletes. They use it to train more effectively and also to reduce muscle-loss during periods of recovery.

Norwegians have a long tradition of consuming fish oil, so taking such a supplement is by no means a new discovery. With additional modern-day research however, we now have proof regarding the impact of these oils and they confirm the health benefits it has been used for centuries.

The benefits of krill oil

Because of their small size, krill eat mostly phytoplankton and algae and sit very low in the marine food chain. Therefore, they contain very small amounts of pollution and little contamination, which makes them a good and clean alternative source of Omega-3 fatty acids.


Astaxanthin – a powerful antioxidant

Besides Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, krill also contains an antioxidant called Astaxanthin, which is not found in most fish oils and gives the krill its red colour. Antioxidants help protect cells from being damaged by other molecules called free radicals and can improve the long term stability of these cells and therefore the oil. These antioxidants can prevent the fatty acids from oxidation and could therefore improve their shelf life without needing any additives to make them more stable. 

While krill oil and fish oil share many health benefits, the high degree of Astaxanthin in krill oil could be an indication of its efficient anti-inflammatory properties. Krill oil can have a positive impact on heart health and blood lipids when taken regularly, and works in similar ways to fish oil since it also contains the two Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. 


Krill oil vs Fish oil, which is Best for you?

Both fish oil and red krill oil are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and share most health benefits such as their impact on blood lipids, heart health and mental performance as well as their anti-inflammatory properties.


different absorption rates

However, some studies have shown that our body might absorb the fatty acids in krill oil better than those in fish oil because of their connection to phospholipids which can be more easily transported to and absorbed into our cells. Because krill oil contains antioxidants, its anti-inflammatory properties could also possibly have an even stronger impact. The water-soluble properties of the phospholipids in krill oil can also make for a more comfortable experience when consuming the capsules, and since they are not made of fish oil they can have a more neutral odour and taste profile as well. 


Supplement your diet with omega – 3

While both fish oil and krill oil contain certain forms of Omega-3, these words can not be used to describe Omega-3 in general since there is another, third, Omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for our body but not contained in marine oils. Alpha Linolenic acid (ALA) is another Omega-3 fatty acid that is found in plant oils such as flaxseed oil or walnuts, but also occurs in meat and dairy of grass-fed animals. And while it is possible to cover your daily needs of essential Omega-3 fatty acids solely through your diet, it can be challenging to maintain this diet over long periods of time or while you are experiencing change in your life – read more about Which products provide abundant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. It might therefore be beneficial to look into acquiring a high quality fish oil or krill oil food supplement to make sure that your body has all it needs, even in the most turbulent times.

What is in Antarctic Krill Oil by Omega 3 of Norway?

The krill used in Omega 3 of Norway’s high quality red krill oil supplement is Antarctic krill, living in one of the world’s purest and cleanest ocean, the southern Antarctic ocean. It is sustainably sourced from schools of wild krill and to ensure a high quality product, we have full control over the production, from the harvest to the encapsulation process. With strict quality assurance measures in place, we are also able to fully trace the krill from its harvest, as well as the other raw materials used in the fabrication of the product. This traceability earned us the certificate by The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for producing the only red krill oil that is 100% traceable. The krill is caught using a patented Eco-harvesting method with a specifically designed vessel, that singles out unwanted by-catch of non-krill species and releases them back into the sea. So if you are looking for a high quality Omega-3 food supplement, make sure to head over to our shop and have a look at our range of products, both fish oil and red krill oil.



Both fish oil and krill oil are wholesome food supplements that have a positive impact on your heart health, skin, brain and even vision.

Here are the main differences:

  • are made from fish vs krill
  • EPA and DHA take the form of triglycerides vs phospholipids
  • both are strong anti-inflammatories
  • Krill oil contains the antioxidant Astaxanthin
  • absorption rate of krill might be better

Now that you know all about the differences between the two supplements, you can make an informed decision about which one suits your personal needs best! Check out our shop to browse our range of products.