What are krill oil side effects?

Let’s take a look at the side effects of krill oil, or as I like to call them, the effects of krill oil. We’ll also talk a bit about the benefits of krill oil and of course krill oil supplements that you can introduce to your diet.

What is Krill Oil?

Before talking about some of the potential krill oil side effects, it’s important to understand what krill is and that it’s quite different to a fish with fins and scales. 

Krill oil is an omega-3 that comes from krill, a crustacean that’s similar to shrimp. It’s at the very bottom of the food chain, as it nourishes itself from algae. It’s quickly becoming a popular way to supplement with omega-3s. 

Krill Oil Fun Fact: Did you know that whales eat a whopping two tons of krill a day, and penguins and seagulls also feast on krill? Since krill consumes algae directly under the sea ice in the Antarctic, krill is a very close source of the natural ingredients that bring life to the planet. 

Krill Oil Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of krill oil has to do with its phospholipid base, and phospholipid happens to be identical in nature to the cells in the human body. Due to this unique base, krill is quickly and easily absorbed.

Krill oil also contains important inflammation-fighting omega-3 fats, as well as an antioxidant called astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is what gives krill oil that bright pigmented color. 

One of the most commonly talked about benefits of omega-3s has to do with inflammation, and while there have been limited studies on the effects krill oil may have when it comes to inflammation, the research that has been done has shown benefit. 

Here’s what some of the research has shown about krill oil:

  • Research suggests that krill oil may help support intestinal integrity. (1
  • Studies have shown that krill oil may help support a healthy inflammatory response. (2
  • Studies also suggest that krill oil may improve high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. (3
  • A study also noted that krill oil was beneficial for reducing symptoms related to arthritis. (4

Are There Any Dangers of Taking Krill Oil?

While omega-3s are generally well tolerated, some of the potential side effects may include digestive discomfort and fishy burps. (5)

Another precaution you need to keep in mind when taking krill is to let your doctor know the type of omega-3 you are taking and the amount. 

You will also want to discuss any medications you may be taking, and if you have any upcoming surgeries. This may require you to stop taking omega-3s for a period of time since all omega-3s have a natural blood-thinning effect. 

Other Important Things to Know About Krill Oil 

Another thing to keep in mind about krill oil is that the amount of omega-3 in krill is quite small. This is why I take krill along with fish oil, so I’m getting the bulk of omega-3s from the fish oil, but the krill oil helps open the doors to other benefits, and the omega-3s from the krill oil is also quickly absorbed. 

Keeping Quality in Mind

Whether you’re taking a fish oil supplement or are interested in krill oil, quality is always key. Unfortunately, our oceans have become heavily polluted, so it’s important to choose a product that is purity tested and free from heavy metals and contaminants.

It’s also not about fish oil vs. krill oil or krill oil vs. fish oil, it’s all about finding a balance by adding plenty of omega-3 rich foods to your diet and finding the balance of what works best for you and your body.

Final Thoughts on Krill Oil and Omega-3s

Krill oil is a source of omega-3s, and when it comes to supplementation, it comes down to what works best for you. But, there are other important steps to take to support optimal wellness, which I like to call our MEDS: Mindfulness, Exercise, Diet, and Sleep. Incorporate these all to support a healthy and happy life.

If this has piqued your interest, maybe you would like to explore more in our Omega-3 Ultimate Health Guide.

Resources

  1. Costanzo M, Cesi V, Prete E, Negroni A, Palone F, Cucchiara S, Oliva S, Leter B, Stronati L. Krill oil reduces intestinal inflammation by improving epithelial integrity and impairing adherent-invasive Escherichia coli pathogenicity. Dig Liver Dis. 2016 Jan;48(1):34-42. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2015.09.012. Epub 2015 Sep 28. PMID: 26493628. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26493628/
  2. Cicero AF, Rosticci M, Morbini M, Cagnati M, Grandi E, Parini A, Borghi C. Lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 ethyl esters and krill oil: a randomized, cross-over, clinical trial. Arch Med Sci. 2016 Jun 1;12(3):507-12. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2016.59923. Epub 2016 May 18. PMID: 27279841; PMCID: PMC4889684. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27279841/
  3. Cicero AF, Rosticci M, Morbini M, Cagnati M, Grandi E, Parini A, Borghi C. Lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 ethyl esters and krill oil: a randomized, cross-over, clinical trial. Arch Med Sci. 2016 Jun 1;12(3):507-12. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2016.59923. Epub 2016 May 18. PMID: 27279841; PMCID: PMC4889684. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27279841/
  4. Deutsch L. Evaluation of the effect of Neptune Krill Oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Feb;26(1):39-48. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2007.10719584. PMID: 17353582. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17353582/
  5. WebMD. Krill Oil. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1172/krill-oil