Health & Wellness

The Top-Rated Krill Oil Supplements of 2020

Peter Gold
Health Editor

Peter is a practitioner of naturopathic medicine, applying his craft in the Pacific Northwest. His passion is preventive care and self-healing. His philosophy is healthy habits help people live their lives to the fullest.

How We Found the Best Krill Oil Supplements

One of the most highly regarded supplements today are Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of krill oil. There has been an impressive amount of news on the various benefits Omega-3 fatty acids can confer, ranging from brain to joint health.1,2

The popularity has led to hundreds of krill oil supplements flooding the aisles of nutrition stores and on-line competing to fill the growing demand from health-conscious consumers. These supplements all promise to deliver Omega-3 health benefits, but many fall short. Some of the most popular brands have been found to use ineffective levels or low-quality fillers.

Even with no shortage of options, it seems that many of us might still be unclear about what to look for in a quality krill oil supplement. To help cut through the clutter, we have compiled months of research about Omega-3 krill oil and how it can benefit your overall health.

This quick guide will help you know what to look for and what to avoid so you can make an informed decision when it comes to your omega-3 supplement needs. We will also list out the top 5 krill oil supplements sold today.

Let’s take a moment to understand precisely how krill oil supplements work to improve your whole-body health and why it’s essential to add them to your daily routine.3

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Krill Oil

Omega-3 krill oil has become increasingly popular because of a growing number of clinical studies indicating that supplementing with this essential fatty acid can have a broad spectrum of health benefits.4

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Omega-3 fatty acids help by counteracting inflammation and reducing joint pain and tenderness associated with arthritis.”5

While the human body requires omega-3 fatty acids, it cannot produce it on its own. In a perfect world, you would get all your needed omega-3 by eating fish. However, the American diet has shifted over the past few decades to one that has a higher focus on saturated fats and lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids.6

A review of dietary data of US adults further confirmed that very few people are consuming the recommended levels. It for this very reason that it is crucial to add a high-quality krill oil to your daily regimen.

Why Krill Oil Is The Preferred Choice

Fish oil has been the most widely used form of omega-3 for the better part of a century. In recent years, more evidence has come to light about the dangers of the vast pollutants found in our oceans that make their way into fish oil supplements. Krill oil has a substantially lower risk of contaminants, and the fact that new studies show it to be a more effective source of omega-3, there is little doubt why it has become the preferred choice.

Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil

Absorption

The key components of Omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. These are found in both fish and krill oil. Fish oil’s fatty acids are bonded in the form of triglycerides while krill oil is in the form of phospholipids. When they enter the human body, they connect to our fat cells which, much like krill oil, are also in the phospholipid form. This phospholipid connection is the reason why krill has been shown in several studies to have a much higher absorption rate.7,8 We recommend selecting a krill oil formula containing no less than 500 mg of phospholipids to supercharge the absorption.9

Mercury & PCBs Contamination

A major epidemic that has hit our oceans has been the build-up of toxic levels of mercury and PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls. PCBs are incredibly toxic human-made chemicals that come from industrial use. The EPA conducted a cancer reassessment to determine the risk of PCBs, and they concluded that “PCBs are probable human carcinogens.” The EPA also stated, “The reassessment concluded that the types of PCBs likely to be bioaccumulated in fish and bound to sediments are the most carcinogenic PCB mixtures.”10

The fish used for fish oil are big fish that eat smaller fish. When bigger fish eat smaller fish tainted with toxins like mercury and PCBs, the toxins in the bigger fish become more and more concentrated. This process is called biomagnification, which creates a serious health risk to fish oil users.

Conversely, krill have a very short life span and are at the bottom of the food chain as they don’t feed on other fish, so they have a minimal chance of getting mercury and PCB accumulation.11 A quality krill oil coming from the already pristine Antarctic ocean is the established healthier alternative to fish oil.

Taste

A common reason many of us don’t like taking a fish oil supplement is because of the unpleasant fish burps. Krill oil has none of that after taste as it is water-soluble, allowing it to easily blend with our stomach fluids and you get to avoid the fish burps. Some high-quality krill oil brands coat their capsules with lemon flavor, further eliminating any fishy taste.

Astaxanthin

Krill have an advantage over fish as krill contains a high amount of astaxanthin, which is widely considered one of the most powerful antioxidants on earth. Astaxanthin is what gives krill, lobster, crayfish, and even flamingo feathers their intense natural pink or red colors.

Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that astaxanthin promotes joint pain reduction, improved blood flow, reduced oxidative stress, better endurance, and heart health.12 It can even help you look younger by reducing rough skin, wrinkles, and age spots.13 We recommend selecting a krill oil formula containing a daily dose of no less than 2 mg of astaxanthin for maximum benefits.

Top 5 Criteria For A Quality Krill Oil

Supplementing with a quality Omega-3 krill oil has a variety of benefits ranging from improved joint, memory, blood sugar, and cardiovascular health. Therefore, you want to be sure and select high-quality krill oil and avoid products with ineffective ingredients. Look for these top 5 criteria when deciding on a krill oil supplement.

A Word About Amazon Reviews

Fake reviews on Amazon have been an issue for the company for many years. According to the independent research group ReviewMeta, “The aggregate data suggest this problem is completely out of control.”16

In the month of March 2019, there were 1.8 million new unverified reviews with, as you might have guessed, an average of 99.6% listing as 5-star reviews. A high majority of reviews found on Amazon are from people who were paid to write them or those who received a free product in exchange for a 5-star review.16 These fake reviews greatly inflate the number of reviews shown for a product and the overall star rating for a product.

While 85% of us look at a product’s review before purchasing, research shows that most consumers are only looking at the average number of stars a product gets and not the details of reviews.17

When deciding on a product that can impact your health, it is vital not to fall into the trap of just looking at the number of reviews or the average rating of a product on Amazon. Often, it can be extremely misleading.

2020’s Top Five Krill Oil Supplements

Our review encompassed 64 different omega-3 supplements, putting each through our rigorous ReviewScout assessment process. To determine 2020’s Top 5 Krill Oil Supplements, we look for predicted effectiveness, supporting studies, safety, pricing, return policy, and overall customer satisfaction.

#1 Stonehenge Health
Dynamic Krill Oil

A+

Overall Grade

#1 Stonehenge Health Dynamic Krill Oil

  • OVERALL RATING 9.6/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 9.7/10
  • Ingredient Quality 9.7/10
  • Value 9.4/10
  • Return Policy 9.6/10
  • User Rating 9.6/10
Pros
  • 1600mg K•REAL® Antarctic Krill Oil with 320mg of EPA & 135 mg of DHA
  • 550 mg of Phospholipids
  • Verified 90-day 100% money-back return policy
  • Non-GMO, No Antibiotics, and Sugar-Free
  • 2mg of Astaxanthin
  • Easy to Swallow Lemon Coated Softgels
Cons
  • Often out of stock due to high demand
Why We Chose It

Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Krill Oil is Review Scout’s top choice. With a potent dose of 1,600mg pure Antarctic krill oil, it has an optimal ratio of essential fatty acids with 174mg of EPA and 120mg of DHA.

Packed with 550mg of phospholipids for maximum absorption power and 2mg of astaxanthin, it has some of the highest amounts we came across.

We were able to verify that Stonehenge Health’s formula does not contain any synthetic fillers, artificial ingredients, or antibiotics and is non-GMO.

Stonehenge Health backs its products with a no-questions-asked, 90-day money-back guarantee and is one of the few brands to be endorsed by a board-certified doctor. We also like that they offer customers discounts on bundles. Click on the link below to see their current specials.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#2 Viva Naturals
Krill Oil

A-

Overall Grade

#2 Viva Naturals Krill Oil

  • OVERALL RATING 9.0/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 9.2/10
  • Ingredient Quality 8.5/10
  • Value 9.4/10
  • Return Policy 8.9/10
  • User Rating 8.9/10
Pros
  • 1,250 mg of Pure Antarctic Krill Oil with 165 mg of EPA & 90 mg of DHA
  • 575 mg of Phospholipids
  • 90-day money-back return policy
  • 1.60 mg of Astaxanthin
Cons
  • Low levels of EPA and DHA
  • Consumer complaints of leaking capsules
  • Return policy limited to first time purchase only
Why We Chose It

Viva Naturals Krill Oil is a popular brand that delivers 1,250 mg of krill oil and 575 mg of phospholipids. The amounts essential fatty acids EPA and DHA are about 30% lower than compared to our top-rated brand. Phospholipids and astaxanthin amounts were also about 10-20% lower. A common concern amongst users is that a recent change in the formulation has caused a fishy aftertaste and a fishy smell in the bottle. There have also been complaints regarding the new gel capsules leaking krill oil.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#3 MegaRed Ultra Strength 1000mg Krill Oil

B

Overall Grade

#3 MegaRed Ultra Strength 1000mg Krill Oil

  • OVERALL RATING 8.3/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 8.6/10
  • Ingredient Quality 8.7/10
  • Value 8.4/10
  • Return Policy 7.6/10
  • User Rating 8.4/10
Pros
  • Process to remove salts and impurities
  • One easy to swallow soft gel cap
Cons
  • Low levels of EPA and DHA
  • Only 150 mcg of Astaxanthin
  • Limited 30-day return policy plus a restocking fee
Why We Chose It

MegaRed by Schiff is a popular krill oil that stakes its claim of having higher purity based upon its process of removing salts and other impurities. Their Ultra Strength 1000mg is their most potent krill oil formula, but it seems to fall short by only offering 128 mg of EPA, 60 mg of DHA, and 334 mg of phospholipids per serving. This is about half the amount that our top-rated brand provides.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#4 Bronson
Antarctic Krill Oil

C+

Overall Grade

#4 Bronson Antarctic Krill Oil

  • OVERALL RATING 7.9/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 7.2/10
  • Ingredient Quality 7.3/10
  • Value 8.9/10
  • Return Policy 8.4/10
  • User Rating 7.5/10
Pros
  • 1,000 mg of krill Oil
  • Non-GMO
  • 365-day limited money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Low levels of EPA at 120 mg and DHA at 80 mg
  • Low levels of Phospholipids with only 200 mg
  • Astaxanthin levels are low at 200 mcg
Why We Chose It

Bronson is a popular brand, and its krill oil supplement has mostly positive reviews. At first glance, it appears to offer a good value with a 120-count bottle that, in theory, should last 60-days. The problem is their levels of phospholipids, EPA, DHA, and astaxanthin are so low that you would need to take 4 capsules a day to try and come close to the amounts offered in our top-rated brand. This makes it no longer a bargain and more of a hassle.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information..

#5 OmegaXL by Great Health Works

D+

Overall Grade

#5 OmegaXL by Great Health Works

  • OVERALL RATING 6.9/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 6.5/10
  • Ingredient Quality 8.2/10
  • Value 6.4/10
  • Return Policy 6.8/10
  • User Rating 6.7/10
Pros
  • Patented omega-3 green-lipped mussel
  • Contains natural olive oil and vitamin E
Cons
  • Require 8 capsules daily to match the amount used in studies
  • Triglyceride bound omega-3 has much lower absorption
  • Many consumer complaints regarding difficulty canceling the required monthly auto-ship program.
Why We Chose It

Made famous by their paid celebrity endorser, Larry King, Omega XL uses a patented green lipid mussel as its source of omega-3. A dive into the clinical research reveals that a daily serving of Omega XL has 2 capsules, which only contains a meager 32 mg of EPA and 39 mg of DHA. Compare that to the top-rated brand, which has 225 mg of EPA and 135 mg of EPA. The part that makes omega-3 essential is the EPA and DHA fatty acids. You would need to take 7 servings of Omega XL to march the EPA found in any of our top 3 rated brands. Add to the fact that they have many consumer complaints, and a limited return policy puts Omega XL at the bottom of our top 5 list.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

Citations
  1. Fontani, G., F. Corradeschi, A. Felici, F. Alfatti, S. Migliorini, and L. Lodi. 2005. “Cognitive And Physiological Effects Of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation In Healthy Subjects”. European Journal Of Clinical Investigation 35 (11): 691-699. Wiley. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2362.2005.01570.x.
  2. Goldberg, Robert J., and Joel Katz. 2007. “A Meta-Analysis Of The Analgesic Effects Of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation For Inflammatory Joint Pain”. Pain 129 (1): 210-223. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health). doi:10.1016/j.pain.2007.01.020.
  3. Nettleton, Joyce A. 1995. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Health”. Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Health, 64-76. Springer US. doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-2071-9_2.
  4. Ursoniu, Sorin, Amirhossein Sahebkar, Maria-Corina Serban, Diana Antal, Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, Arrigo Cicero, Vasilios Athyros, Manfredi Rizzo, Jacek Rysz, and Maciej Banach. 2017. “Lipid-Modifying Effects Of Krill Oil In Humans: Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis Of Randomized Controlled Trials”. Nutrition Reviews 75 (5): 361-373. Oxford University Press (OUP). doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuw063.
  5. “How Omega-3 Foods Can Help You Be A Better Athlete”. 2016. Health Essentials From Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-omega-3-foods-can-help-you-be-a-better-athlete/.
  6. “How America’s Diet Has Changed Over Time”. 2016. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/12/13/whats-on-your-table-how-americas-diet-has-changed-over-the-decades/.
  7. Molfino, A., Gioia, G., Fanelli, F. and Muscaritoli, M. Molfino, Alessio, Gianfranco Gioia, Filippo Fanelli, and Maurizio Muscaritoli. 2014. “The Role For Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation In Older Adults”. Nutrients 6 (10): 4058-4072. MDPI AG. doi:10.3390/nu6104058.
  8. Schuchardt, J., Schneider, I., Meyer, H., Neubronner, J., von Schacky, C. and Hahn, A. Schuchardt, Jan, Inga Schneider, Henrike Meyer, Juliane Neubronner, Clemens von Schacky, and Andreas Hahn. 2011. “Incorporation Of EPA And DHA Into Plasma Phospholipids In Response To Different Omega-3 Fatty Acid Formulations – A Comparative Bioavailability Study Of Fish Oil Vs. Krill Oil”. Lipids In Health And Disease 10 (1): 145. Springer Nature. doi:10.1186/1476-511x-10-145.
  9. Ramprasath, V. R., I. Eyal, S. Zchut, I. Shafat, and P. J. H. Jones. 2015. “Supplementation Of Krill Oil With High Phospholipid Content Increases Sum Of EPA And DHA In Erythrocytes Compared With Low Phospholipid Krill Oil”. Lipids In Health And Disease 14 (1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1186/s12944-015-0142-y.
  10. “Learn About Polychlorinated Biphenyls (Pcbs) | US EPA”. 2015. US EPA. https://www.epa.gov/pcbs/learn-about-polychlorinated-biphenyls-pcbs.
  11. Magazine, Oceanus, and How Fish?. 2019. “How Does Toxic Mercury Get Into Fish? | WHOI”. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. https://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/how-does-toxic-mercury-get-into-fish/.
  12. Yoshida H, et al. 2019. “Administration Of Natural Astaxanthin Increases Serum HDL-Cholesterol And Adiponectin In Subjects With Mild Hyperlipidemia. – Pubmed – NCBI “. Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19892350.
  13. P, Kidd. 2019. “Astaxanthin, Cell Membrane Nutrient With Diverse Clinical Benefits And Anti-Aging Potential. – Pubmed – NCBI “. Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214255.
  14. “Fish Oil Market Size & Share | Industry Report, 2022”. 2019. Grandviewresearch.com. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/fish-oil-market.
  15. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/dietaryguidelines2010.pdf
  16. ” Amazon Flooded With Millions Of Fake Reviews In 2019 – Reviewmeta Blog “. 2019. Reviewmeta.Com. https://reviewmeta.com/blog/amazon-flooded-with-millions-of-fake-reviews-in-2019/.
  17. de Langhe, Bart, Philip M. Fernbach, and Donald R. Lichtenstein. 2015. “Navigating By The Stars: Investigating The Actual And Perceived Validity Of Online User Ratings”. Journal Of Consumer Research 42 (6): 817-833. Oxford University Press (OUP). doi:10.1093/jcr/ucv047.