Fish Oil, Krill oil and Cod Liver Oil – Which is the Better Choice for your Health?
Let us start by saying that all three of these oils offer a range of excellent health benefits because of the presence of healthy omega-3 fats including DHA and EPA fatty acids.
Krill oil also comes with astaxanthin which is a very powerful antioxidant and is also more sustainable than the other two. Cod liver oil however offers some extra nutritional vitamins in the shape of vitamins A and D.
This article will take a look at the relative merits of these three healthy oils and hopefully help you to make a more informed choice when shopping for your supplement.
The Importance of Omega-3
Over recent years, various studies have demonstrated just how much our bodies can benefit from consuming Omega-3 fatty acids. That does not mean we are getting enough of them into our diet – far from it in fact. Estimates suggest that the majority of people do not get nearly enough through dietary means which is why the supplement market has stepped in.
Make no mistake, all three of these oils are great sources of high quality omega-3. When you take one of these supplements, the essential fatty acids get broken into EPA – eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA – docosahexaenoic acid. These two acids play a crucial role in various bodily functions and can help ensure good physical and emotional health.
Among the main proven benefits of omega-3 are :
- Heart Health (1)
- Cancer Prevention (2)
- Depression (3)
- ADHD (4)
All three of these oils provide you with omega-3 in the shape of DHA and EPA and all three represent an excellent choice of supplement if you are simply trying to increase your intake of these healthy acids. Let us take a closer look at the differences between these oils and the benefits offered by each of the three.
1) Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements are made from oily, cold water fish. These fish can be farmed or caught in the wild. The flesh of these fish gets pressed in order to extract its oil.
A wide range of fish are used to harvest the oil including herring, mackerel, tuna, sardines, salmon, halibut and cod.
2) Cod Liver Oil
I remember being very reluctant to take cod liver oil as a child. The name is off putting enough for many people and the product is exactly what it sounds like. The oil gest extracted straight from the livers of cod fish. During this extraction process, the livers of these fish are steamed and then pressed.
The levels of EPA and DHA present in cod liver is nearly identical to that found in ordinary fish oil. The major difference between the two is that cod liver oil also contains vitamin A and D. These fat soluble nutrients are actually stored inside the liver and because the oil is harvested from the livers, you get the additional benefits of these nutrients.
Despite the presence of additional vitamins, there are potential downsides to cod liver supplements. The liver filters harmful toxins and other substances for the body and are therefore any cod liver supplement might have a higher level of contaminants.
3) Krill Oil
Krill oil is harvested from the tiny ocean crustaceans – krill or Euphausia superba. Krill can be found in oceans the world over but the bulk of the krill harvested to make oil are taken from the Antarctic ocean.
Krill oil is regarded as more sustainable than the other types of oil we are comparing it with. The creatures thrive in enormous numbers and more than 500 million tons are believe to inhabit the Antarctic ocean alone.
As well as being a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, krill oil also possesses astaxanthin – a powerful antioxidant that gives creatures like krill and shrimp their beautiful pink color. Astaxanthin has been well-researched in its own right and is known to offer a number of outstanding health benefits.
What are the Pros and Cons?
1) Fish Oil Pros and Cons
Fish oil is a safe and reliable option for many people who are looking to increase their intake of omega-3. Fish oil supplements are decent value for money and are safe and suitable for the vast majority of people.
If you are looking for a safe and effective omega-3 supplement that will benefit your entire family, then these represent a very good and affordable option.
- Come with a decent dose of DHA and EPA.
- Reasonably priced.
- Suitable for children and adults.
- They leave an unpleasant fishy aftertaste.
- The capsules tend to be on the large side.
2) Cod Liver Oil Pros and Cons
Cod liver oil are the cheapest of the omega-3 supplements we are looking at although the price can vary a fair bit depending on the brand you are buying. For anybody who is on a tight budget but needs to get more omega-3 into their diet, cod liver oil is a very affordable and dependable option.
These supplements also offer the additional nutritional benefits of vitamin D which has plenty of health benefits in its own right. If you already take vitamin D supplements, you can actually save a bit of your hard earned money by combining the omega-3s with your vitamin in the shape of cod liver supplements.
There are some downsides to these supplements however. They are not suitable children, pregnant women or nursing moms because there is a higher chance they are contaminated with some sort of toxin.
- A reliable source of omega-3 fatty acids with a good dose of DHA and EPA.
- 100% cod liver.
- Additional nutrients in the form of vitamin A and vitamin D.
- Inexpensive and good value for money.
- Not suitable for children, pregnant women or nursing moms.
- Leave an unpleasant fishy aftertaste.
- Greater chance of contaminants.
- Capsules tend to be large.
3) Krill Oil Pros and Cons
If you are on a higher budget and are looking for real quality source of omega-3 , then krill oil supplements are the best of the lot.
Krill oil is absorbed more readily by your body and because it is more bioavailable they are much stronger acting. In fact krill oil supplements are over 40 times more powerful than the other two oils.
In addition, krill oil is the most sustainable of the three and is the least likely to be contaminated.
The only downside to supplementing with krill oil is that they are much pricier than cod liver and fish oil. The reason for the high cost is that the krill oil manufacturing process is much more complicated and time consuming. If however, you are not worried about the additional expense then you can not make a better choice than krill oil.
- Contains a high dose of DHA and EPA.
- Krill oil is absorbed betterby the body giving it over 40 times the potency and making it more effective.
- Contains astaxanthin which has outstanding antioxidant actions.
- More sustainable than the other two oils.
- No lingering aftertaste from the supplements.
- Small and easily swallowed capsules.
- They are the most expensive of the three types of omega-3 oils.
All three of these oils cobfer plenty of health benefits. The choice may well depend on your budget. If money is no object then krill oil supplements are definitely the best of the lot.