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Krill Oil Dosing Deceptions

Many brands of krill oil (but not our Vital Red™ Krill Oil) try to disguise the fact that the omega-3s in their krill oil cost considerably more per milligram, versus the omega-3s fish oils … a difference caused by the higher cost of producing krill oil.

Leading fatty acid researchers recommend that healthy people consume at least 500mg of omega-3s (EPA + DHA) daily … dosage guidance that's shared by the American Heart Association, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL).

We recommend that you take two of our 1000mg Vital Red softgels, which will provide a total 410 of omega-3 EPA+DHA.
While that falls a bit short of the expert-recommended 500mg daily intake, it's a gap easily covered by eating just one meal of fatty fish per week (see "Eating fatty fish routinely?" at right).

Dubiously low daily krill doses ... an oily deception?
To disguise the higher per-milligram cost of the omega-3s in krill oil, many brands advise very low daily doses.

They justify that dubious guidance by noting that humans absorb a higher percentage of the phospholipid-form omega-3s in krill oil, compared with the triglyceride and ethyl ester forms found in fish oils.
However, while the superior-absorption claims made for the omega-3s in krill oil are backed by substantial credible evidence, the difference is not great enough to justify the drastically lower daily doses recommended by many brands of krill oil.

Buyer beware
For example, one nationally advertised brand claims that the 75mg of EPA + DHA in one of their tiny 300mg krill oil capsules replaces 500mg of EPA + DHA obtained from fish oil.

But as we've noted, there is currently no proof that krill oil's phospholipid-form omega-3s are absorbed at such a dramatically higher rate ... so it's not safe to assume that a mere 75mg of EPA + DHA from krill oil can replace the daily 500mg of omega-3s from fish oil recommended by the authorities mentioned above.
We'd point to a recent clinical trial that compared the effects of krill oil on key blood markers of cardiovascular risk, versus the effects produced by a standard, refined fish oil .
In that trial, krill oil produce positive effects equal to (and in one respect superior to) those of fish oil at a one-third lower dose of omega-3 EPA +DHA. Specifically, there were 534mg of EPA +DHA in the krill oil vs. 864mg of EPA +DHA in the fish oil (Ulven SM et al. 2010).
What's the bottom line?
You will save money by following the suspiciously low, scientifically unsupported daily dose guidance found on many krill oil labels.

However, there is simply no evidence that the percentage of omega-3s you absorb from krill oil versus the same dose of fish oil will be so much larger as to justify the very low daily doses many krill oil brands recommend. 
Eating fatty fish routinely?
When you're deciding on a daily dose of supplemental omega-3s, you should take into account the amount of fish you eat.

We say this so that you can save money … not due to any "overdose" concerns, because there really are none with regard to reasonable intakes of omega-3s by healthy people (500mg daily) and heart patients under medical guidance (1,000mg to 4,000mg per day).

For example, someone who consumes one fatty fish meal per week need only take one Vital Red™ Krill Oil softgel daily, which provides 205mg of the two key omega-3s (EPA and DHA).

Here's how we arrived at that estimate:
  • Experts recommended a weekly EPA + DHA dose of 3,500mg (500mg per day).
  • One 6 oz serving of sockeye salmon provides about 2060mg of EPA + DHA, or 1,440 mg short of the experts' weekly recommended dose.
  • That "weekly omega-3 intake gap" translates into a "daily omega-3 intake gap" of 205mg.
  • One Vital Red™ Krill Oil softgel provides exactly 205mg of EPA +DHA … so that is all you need each day, if you eat six ounces of sockeye salmon – or other fatty fish such as sardines or tuna – every week.