Krill oil review: Labels reveal all brands are not created equal
As you may have learned elsewhere on WellWise.org, choosing the best brand of krill oil may take a little math, and some close review of the labels. There are three important things to discover when you are considering purchasing krill oil supplements:
1. The size of the krill oil supplement capsule – Many manufacturers offer 500mg capsules or pills. Some, however, such as Schiff Mega Red offer only 300mg capsules.
Therefore, in deciding value for price, divide the price by the total milligrams (mg). You may pay less for a bottle of krill oil that has only 27,000mg total. However, since most manufacturers recommend a krill oil dose of 1,000mg, if you took three of these you would be taking 10% less than if you were taking another brand.
On the other hand, some manufacturers offer 1,000mg softgel capsules. WellWise.org has heard from some manufacturers of krill oil pills that 500mg capsules are optimal because the phospholipids in krill oil interact with the internal surface area of the gelatin capsule and begin to erode it. There is more inner surface area in a 1,000mg capsule with which the phospholipids can begin to react, and this may cause the capsules to leak.
This could also mean that the amount of phospholipids in the 1,000mg capsule is actually too low. Which brings us to the next point:
2. The amount of phospholipids in the typical krill oil dose – the omega-3s in krill oil are different from those in fish oil because they are bonded to phospholipids. This is what gives krill oil its true value, and gives you the true benefits of krill oil. The phospholipids in krill oil allow the omega-3s to more easily be absorbed in your body (bioavailable) than the omega-3s in fish oil, according to several studies. When oil is extracted from krill, there is a basic chemical signature or profile that results. For a 1,000mg dose of pure krill oil, there should be a minimum of 400mg of phospholipids. If this signature is not there when you are doing your krill oil reviews of the label, you are not getting real krill oil, but a mixture of something else – fish oil and other omegas usually.
3. The price – When it comes to krill oil vs fish oil, krill are much harder to catch and process than fish. Thus the price of krill oil is higher than the price of fish oil. This is why you will find manufacturers who will cut corners and try to sell you something they call krill oil that is markedly less than another brand, you can count on the fact that it is not Antarctic pure krill oil.
For example, an Internet search will yield one brand, Meridian Natural KriaXanthin Krill Oil, selling for $13.47 for 120 softgels (that’s 11 cents apiece, 22 cents for a dose of 1,000mg). Wellwise.org has spoken with producers of krill oil who confirm it is not possible to produce real krill oil at such a retail price. A more realistic price for Antarctic pure krill oil would be 65-99 cents per dose.
Most brands of krill oil list the amount of omega-3s (EPA & DHA) contained in a dose. However, they may not tell you how much of that dose is coming from krill oil (phospholipids) or from something else. When you review the label, if a brand doesn’t list the amount of phospholipids in a recommended dose, you may want to avoid it because the EPA & DHA it contains may be coming from the less-expensive (and less effective) fish oil. Again, if the price is significantly less than a brand that lists the phospholipid content, now you know why.
Part of the problem here is that there is not presently a krill oil monograph. A monograph is a statement agreed upon by various manufacturers as to the standards that define a product. Even when there is a monograph, there is little to prevent unscrupulous vendors from selling an inferior product using the name "krill oil." So buyer beware, and do your homework.