Close to 10% of American adults include a fish oil supplement in their diet in order to get enough essential omega-3 fatty acids and support their heart health.
In recent years, krill oil has emerged as a promising alternative to fish oil. While fish oil and krill oil each have their own advantages and disadvantages, they both supply the body with the nutrients it needs to promote better cardiovascular health.†
Read on for an outline on the differences and similarities between fish oil and krill oil, ending with which one has the most proven benefits. This article will also help you pick the best omega-3 supplement for you and show you how to support your heart with positive lifestyle choices.
What Is Omega 3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, meaning they cannot be produced by the body. This does not change the fact, however, that these fats are absolutely essential to the human body, and must be consumed through your diet.
Unlike trans fats and saturated fats, unsaturated fats are very good for the body, as long as they are consumed in moderation. There are three main subcategories of omega 3:
- EPA helps soothe the body, and maintains joint function and mental health. It is found mainly in oily and/or fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and anchovies.
- DHA is present mainly in eye and brain cells, and consequently supports eye and brain health. In fact, it makes up about 8% of the brain’s weight. Similar to EPA, fish are a good source of DHA. EPA and DHA are more active in the body than the third type of omega 3, and are therefore more desirable when trying to increase omega 3 levels in the body.
- ALA can be found in plant oils, nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and chia seeds. It may contribute to healthy energy levels, but the body struggles to convert it into EPA and DHA.
There are many benefits to consuming at least an adequate amount of omega 3s, whether through your diet or with the help of a supplement. Omega 3s regulate normal heart rhythm, prevent the formation of unhealthy blood clotting that could lead to more serious cardiovascular issues, and help burn fat by decreasing the presence of fat-carrying particles called triglycerides in the body.†
In addition, omega 3s have antioxidant qualities, meaning they can soothe the body and limit the effects of oxidative stress, a process that inflames and damages the cells of the body.†
All in all, omega 3s are very powerful and integral components to a healthy body.
Foods High in Omega 3
The best food sources of omega 3 are oily and/or fatty fishes like anchovies, sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, pollock, and herring. Other options include plant oils, nuts, and seeds, though they contain omega 3 in smaller amounts and in a form that is less accessible to cells.
Oils also lose some of their nutrient value when heated, so fresh fish is the best source of omega 3.
Supplements, such as fish oil and krill oil, are also great ways to get enough omega 3.
Why Take An Omega 3 Supplement?
If the previously listed functions of omega 3 are not enough of a sign that you should up your omega 3 intake, consider this: the average American does not eat enough omega 3 in their diet.
Think about it–how much fish do you eat in a week?
The western diet is high in omega 6s, another essential fat that is present primarily in vegetable oils, but low in omega 3s. While omega 6s are healthy in moderation, many junk and fast foods are cooked in vegetable oils high in omega 6, which can make omega 6 intake otherwise unhealthy, and explains why most Americans have no issue eating enough of them.
For optimal health, we need a balance between the amount of omega 3s and 6s we put in our bodies.
During pre-industrial times, humans relied on fish for protein a lot more than current times, and the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 intake ranged from 4:1 to 1:4. Cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes were a lot less prevalent in society. Nowadays, that ratio is closer to 16:1.
In order to regain a healthier balance and reduce your risk for certain cardiovascular events, you can increase your omega 3 intake to reach your omega 6 consumption.†
Omega 3 supplements help restore this balance, and offer all the benefits of adequate levels of omega 3s listed above, such as better heart and cardiovascular function.† Supplements should never work as a replacement for food sources of omega 3, but if you struggle to fit enough fish into your diet they can help you get all that you and your body need.
What Is Fish Oil?
Without further ado: fish oil is an omega 3 fatty acid supplement that is derived from fatty and/or oily fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. It is yellow or gold in color, and supports brain and heart health. Fish oil is relatively inexpensive and widely available anywhere supplements are sold.
What Is Krill Oil?
Krill oil, as indicated by its name, is sourced from a fish called krill, and is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Unlike fish oil, it has a distinct red color, which comes from its unique ingredient astaxanthin, an antioxidant.
Similar to fish oil, krill oil is meant to promote cardiovascular health and brain function.† Since krill oil is a relatively new addition to the supplement game, it is not as easy to find in stores, and will likely be expensive.
Which Supplement Is Best For You?
Fish oil and krill oil both offer many of the same benefits, especially relating to heart health, such as better cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure and blood sugar.† Plus, these supplements can support healthy blood clotting, limiting plaque build-up on the arteries, and reducing oxidative cell damage, including heart cells.†
All in all, fish oil and krill oil supplements are both excellent for cardiovascular and overall health.†
While these two supplements serve similar purposes, their main difference is in absorption.
Fish oil comes in the form of triglycerides, while krill oil comes in the form of phospholipids. Early studies show promise that phospholipids may be easier for the body to absorb, and are therefore more efficiently used by the body, but other studies demonstrate that this is not necessarily true. In fact, at the moment, most studies on omega 3 supplements focus on fish oil, as krill oil is a relatively new phenomenon.
One final but major difference is accessibility: fish oil is readily available, and, as far as supplements go, evenly-priced. Krill oil, in contrast, is expensive and more difficult to find. Because fish and krill oil have similar benefits, and the potential absorption benefits of krill oil have not actually been proven, fish oil’s accessibility and price makes it the best omega 3 supplement option.
Note: you should avoid fish and krill oils if you have any fish/shellfish allergies!
Livingood Daily Omegas
If you are looking to start a fish oil supplement, consider Livingood Daily Omegas. In addition to all the previously-explained benefits of higher omega 3 levels, this fish oil supplement can support a healthy metabolism and provide you with a balance of four essential omega fatty acids (3, 6, 7 and 9), all of which are essential to proper health and soothing the body from toxins.†
Livingood Daily Omega soft gels can be taken with meals, and are best paired with a healthy diet (see more below). Pair Livingood Daily Omegas with Livingood Daily Vitamin D to support your immune system and increase your intake of healthy fats.†
Better Heart Health
In addition to an omega 3 supplement, you can improve the health of your heart by modifying your diet. Reducing your sugar and processed foods intake, increasing your fruits, vegetables and healthy fat intake, and limiting your protein intake to lean sources can improve your circulation, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Getting your heart pumping with quick, high-intensity workouts throughout the week will help you burn fat and improve your cardiovascular function. Exercise does not have to be long to be effective, but you do need to be consistent to see results.
Lastly, stress can be detrimental to heart health, so it is important to relieve your sources of stress as much as possible. Exercise is great for stress relief, as is yoga and mindfulness. Find out what relaxes you and make time for that activity in your daily routine.
Fish and krill oil supplements are both excellent for heart health, but fish oils are more proven and accessible. Livingood Daily Omegas is a great example of an effective and beneficial omega 3 supplement.†
In order to further improve your heart health, eat healthy, well-balanced meals, workout three to five times a week, and reduce stress as much as possible.