Researchers at Akershus University College, in Lillestrom, Norway, studied the effects of krill oil and fish oil on lipid blood levels and oxidative stress and inflammation in healthy people.

First, the details.

  • 113 people with normal or slightly elevated total blood cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 7 weeks.
    • 6 capsules of krill oil (3 grams/day, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), = 543 mg) daily
    • 3 capsules of fish oil (1.8 grams/day, EPA + DHA = 864 mg) daily
    • No supplements (control)

And, the results.

  • Significant increases in blood levels of EPA, DHA, and docosapentanoic acid (DPA) were observed in the participants taking omega-3 fatty acids vs the controls.
  • There were no significant differences in the changes in any of the omega-3 fatty acids between fish oil and the krill oil.
  • There was no significant change in blood lipid levels, as expected in healthy volunteers with normal lipid levels.
  • There was significant improvement in a predictor for coronary heart disease risk (HDL cholesterol/triglyceride ratio) after krill oil treatment, which was not seen after fish oil treatment.
  • There were no statistically significant differences in changes in any of the markers of oxidative stress and inflammation between the study groups.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Krill oil and fish oil… represent comparable dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids, even if the EPA + DHA dose in the krill oil was 63% of that in the fish oil.”

More research is needed to confirm the benefits of improved HDL-cholesterol/triglyceride ratio… this time in people at risk for heart disease.

Reports on omega-3 health benefits have increased demand for products containing marine omega-3 fatty acids. However, concern over potential contaminants in fish has resulted in growing interest in alternative sources of marine omega-3 fatty acids.

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Krill is the most dominant member of the Antarctic zooplankton community and an attractive option for commercial harvest.

More information on krill oil is at, here.

Viva Labs provided a grant to cover this entry to the blog.

1/1/12 15:42 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.