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

Doctors, Dietitians, and Health Experts all seem to agree that supplementing omega-3 fatty acids from krill is vitally essential to our overall health. Studies have shown omega-3 can offer a vast array of health benefits ranging from joint health to memory and focus.1,2

The popularity has led to hundreds of krill oil supplements flooding the marketplace. While these supplements all promise to deliver benefits, the reality is that many fall short. Some of the most popular brands use ineffective or insufficient doses of krill oil. Many contain impurities, diluted oils, and unwanted fillers.

How To Pick A Good Omega-3 Krill Oil Supplement & Avoid The Junk

With so many options, many of us might still be unclear about what to look for in a quality omega-3 krill oil supplement. To help cut through the clutter, we have compiled months of research about which are the key ingredients that have been shown in studies benefit your joints, heart, and overall cognitive health.

This short 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 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 works to improve your overall health and why it’s essential to add it to your daily routine.

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Krill Oil


A 2018 clinical study found that supplementing with Antarctic krill oil improved joint cartilage structure and helped suppress the expression of genes that were harmful to overall joint health.3


Krill oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA and has been shown in clinical studies to help reduce chronic inflammation associated with arthritis.4


A clinical study involving 65 older adults found omega-3 fatty acids were able to improve lumbar bone density and calcium absorption.5


Many scientists have long believed that low levels of omega-3 may be one of the triggers of cognitive decline and memory loss. Studies have recently revealed that the polyunsaturated fatty acids in krill oil can help boost the production of choline, an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in learning, memory, and healthy brain function.6


Researchers have recognized an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 in patients experiencing anxiety and mood issues. Krill oil rich in omega-3 can help re-balance the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 in the body, which reduces inflammation, resulting in a decrease in stress and anxiety.7,8


A clinical study of participants with type 2 diabetes determined that krill oil helps increase HDL levels, the “good” cholesterol, and reduces several heart disease risk factors.9


A strong immune system is essential in today’s world. Krill oil helps regulate the immune system, allowing the body to support cellular repair and bolster the body’s natural defense systems.10


Omega-3 fatty acids may help provide a sense of fullness, thereby reducing appetite, as well as increase metabolism to help support weight loss.13,14

4 Things To AVOID
When Buying A Krill Oil Supplement

1. Not Sourced from the Antarctic Ocean

Most oceans today are filled with harmful levels of mercury and PCBs, which are incredibly toxic human-made chemicals that come from industrial use.15 Avoid any krill oil supplement that does not explicitly list where the krill they use originates. Look for a krill oil brand that sources the krill only from the pristine Antarctic Ocean. It is one of the last oceans in the world to be free of these harmful toxins.

2. Uncoated Softgels

A common complaint from krill oil users is related to the fishy taste of uncoated softgels. Avoid bargain-basement brands that use cheap uncoated softgels. Some consumer-focused brands have started offering krill oil softgels that have a natural lemon oil coating. We prefer these kinds as they eliminate any fishy taste and helps to ensure that nothing will stand in your way of sticking to your essential omega-3 daily regimen.

3. Relying on Amazon Reviews

Research showed that in March 2019, there were 1.8 million new unverified reviews, with an average of 99.6% of them being 5-star reviews.16 Most of these reviews are from people paid to write them. These fake reviews inflate the number and overall star rating of a product. When deciding on a product that can impact your health, don’t rely on Amazon reviews as they can be extremely misleading.

4. Insufficient Return Policy

A reputable krill oil supplement brand will demonstrate they have faith in their product by offering a 100% money-back guarantee policy. Some try to complicate their refund policies by placing limitations on what kind of returns they will take. Avoid any brand that does not have at minimum a no questions asked 90-day money-back guarantee.

Why Is Krill Oil Better Than Fish Oil?

Better Absorption

Our bodies have a much easier time absorbing krill oil compared to fish oil. When these oils enter our body, they need to be absorbed by our fat cells, which are phospholipid based. As nature might have it, the fatty acids in krill oil are also in the phospholipid form, allowing krill oil to be more readily absorbed. Fish oil’s fatty acids are in the form of triglycerides, making it harder for the body to absorb.17

Much Less Contamination

The EPA has sounded the alarm that most of the world’s oceans have become polluted with high levels of mercury and toxic PCBs, which are human-made chemicals from industrial complexes that have seeped into the waters.18

Fish oil is harvested from large fish that eat smaller fish. This accumulation of toxins in larger fish can be potentially harmful to fish oil users. On the other hand, krill have short life spans. They don’t feed on other fish, allowing them to have very minimal levels of potential mercury or PCB contamination.19

Astaxanthin

A significant advantage that krill holds over fish is that krill contains astaxanthin, and fish does not. Astaxanthin, a highly potent antioxidant, has been shown in numerous clinical studies to help reduce joint pain and oxidative stress while also improving blood flow, endurance, and heart health.20

No Fish Burps

Fish oil supplements give users the dreaded fish burps. Krill oil has none of that after taste as it is water-soluble, allowing it to blend with our stomach fluids easily, and you get to avoid the fish burps.

Top 3 Criteria For A Quality
Krill Oil Supplement

We spent months researching krill oil supplements and gathering user feedback. The dosage and specific aspects help differentiate high-quality krill oil supplements from generic ones. Below are the three most essential elements to consider before deciding which krill oil brand is best for your needs.

2020’s Top Five Krill Oil Supplements

Our review encompassed 87 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
  • 1,600 mg Clinically Studied Pure Antarctic Krill Oil with 174 mg of EPA & 120 mg of DHA
  • 550 mg of Phospholipids
  • 2 mg of Astaxanthin
  • Non-GMO, Gluten Free, & Antibiotic Free, No artificial ingredients or fillers
  • Easy to Swallow Lemon Oil Coated Softgels
  • Verified 90-day 100% money-back return policy
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. This formula uses a high-quality and clinically studied form of krill oil. We were impressed with the potency of each dose being 1,600 mg of krill oil with 550 mg of phospholipids, 174 mg of EPA, and 120 mg of DHA.

In reviewing dozens of krill oil brands, we found that most offer a minimal amount of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin. Stonehenge Health had the highest amount of astaxanthin we came across with 2 mg, the equivalent of 2,000 mcg.

Krill oil is very susceptible to spoilage and deterioration, which is why, much like fish oil, lower quality products have a foul odor, indicating spoilage. Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Krill Oil goes through a patented MSO™ Multi-Stage Oil Extraction Process, which ensures the highest quality and stability. This process allows their formula to have the least odor and highest phospholipid, EPA, DHA, and astaxanthin levels of all the products we reviewed.

We were able to verify that Stonehenge Health’s formula does not contain any synthetic fillers or artificial ingredients, is non-GMO, and free of gluten, soy, and preservatives. 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 Captains
Krill Oil

A-

Overall Grade

#2 Captains 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
  • 1,000 mg of Antarctic Krill Oil with 155 mg of EPA & 95 mg of DHA
  • 440 mg of Phospholipids
  • 1.55 mg of Astaxanthin
  • Non-GMO, No Gluten, artificial ingredients, or fillers
  • 180-day money-back return policy
Cons
  • Lower than an optimal amount of krill oil
  • Very expensive for generic krill oil
  • Lack of information related to manual processing
  • User complaints of digestive discomfort
Why We Chose It

Captains Krill Oil is a popular brand that delivers 1,000 mg of generic krill oil and 435 mg of phospholipids. We were happy to see that this krill oil is sourced from the Antarctic Ocean. This product was the most expensive product we reviewed, costing $59.95 for a 30-day supply. This pricing surprised us, considering it has between 15-60% lower amounts of krill oil, EPA, DHA, phospholipids, and astaxanthin than the top-ranked brand on our list. We liked that Captains Krill Oil states that they manually process the krill oil and do not use chemical solvents. However, we could not verify the process and procedures used other than their marketing material, stating they use a manual method. The company does offer a generous 180-day return policy. Some users have complained about an upset stomach from taking the product. Captains Krill Oil formula comes in at a close second to the top-ranked brand on our 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.

#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 NativePath
Antarctic Krill Oil

C+

Overall Grade

#4 NativePath 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
  • 5000 mg of Antarctic Krill Oil with 30 mg of EPA & 20 mg of DHA
  • 95 mg of Phospholipids
  • 0.20 mg of Astaxanthin
Cons
  • Low potency per serving
  • Expensive for only 30 softgels
  • Quality concerns regarding missing capsules per bottle
  • Limited 90-day money-back return policy
Why We Chose It

NativePath Antarctic Krill Oil contains 500 mg of generic krill oil and 95 mg of phospholipids. We liked that this brand claims that their product is wild-caught and sustainable. However, all krill oil coming from the Antarctic Ocean would be wild-caught and sustainable. Our biggest issue with this formula is that it lacks potency. At only 500 mg per serving, it falls very short of our daily recommended intake of 1,600 mg of pure krill oil. You would need to take three servings of NativePath’s product to come close to one serving offered by the number one rated brand on our list. NativePath provides a 90-day refund period, but that is only for unopened bottles, which is not much of a guarantee if you find that you’re unhappy with the results.

*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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Wang, Kai, Lihua Han, Yujie Zhu, Yanjun Liu, Jingfeng Wang, and Changhu Xue. 2018. “Antarctic Krill Oil Improves Articular Cartilage Degeneration Via Activating Chondrocyte Autophagy And Inhibiting Apoptosis In Osteoarthritis Mice”. Journal Of Functional Foods 46: 413-422. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2018.05.008.
  4. Calder, Philip C. 2010. “omega-3 Fatty Acids And Inflammatory Processes”. Nutrients 2 (3): 355-374. doi:10.3390/nu2030355.
  5. Kruger, M. C., H. Coetzer, R. de Winter, G. Gericke, and D. H. van Papendorp. 1998. “Calcium, Gamma-Linolenic Acid And Eicosapentaenoic Acid Supplementation In Senile Osteoporosis”. Aging Clinical And Experimental Research 10 (5): 385-394. doi:10.1007/bf03339885.
  6. Konagai, Chizuru, Yanagimoto, Hayamizu, Li, Tsuji, and Koga. 2013. “Effects Of Krill Oil Containing N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids In Phospholipid Form On Human Brain Function: A Randomized Controlled Trial In Healthy Elderly Volunteers”. Clinical Interventions In Aging, 1247. doi:10.2147/cia.s50349.
  7. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., Martha A. Belury, Rebecca Andridge, William B. Malarkey, and Ronald Glaser. 2011. “omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation And Anxiety In Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial”. Brain, Behavior, And Immunity 25 (8): 1725-1734. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2011.07.229.
  8. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., Martha A. Belury, Rebecca Andridge, William B. Malarkey, Beom Seuk Hwang, and Ronald Glaser. 2012. “omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation In Healthy Middle-Aged And Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial”. Brain, Behavior, And Immunity 26 (6): 988-995. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2012.05.011.
  9. Lobraico, Jessika M, Lauren C DiLello, Amber D Butler, Marie Elena Cordisco, Joann R Petrini, and Ramin Ahmadi. 2015. “Effects Of Krill Oil On Endothelial Function And Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors In Participants With Type 2 Diabetes, A Randomized Controlled Trial”. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care 3 (1): e000107. doi:10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000107.
  10. Kumar, Naren Gajenthra, Daniel Contaifer, Parthasarathy Madurantakam, Salvatore Carbone, Elvin T. Price, Benjamin Van Tassell, Donald F. Brophy, and Dayanjan S. Wijesinghe. 2019. “Dietary Bioactive Fatty Acids As Modulators Of Immune Function: Implications On Human Health”. Nutrients 11 (12): 2974. doi:10.3390/nu11122974.
  11. P, Kidd. 2011. “Astaxanthin, Cell Membrane Nutrient With Diverse Clinical Benefits And Anti-Aging Potential”. Alternative Medicine Review : A Journal Of Clinical Therapeutic 16 (4). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22214255/.
  12. Yoshida, Shinya, Koji Yasutomo, and Toshiyuki Watanabe. 2016. “Treatment With DHA/EPA Ameliorates Atopic Dermatitis-Like Skin Disease By Blocking LTB4 Production”. The Journal Of Medical Investigation 63 (3.4): 187-191. doi:10.2152/jmi.63.187.
  13. Parra, Dolores, Alfons Ramel, Narcisa Bandarra, Mairead Kiely, J. Alfredo Martínez, and Inga Thorsdottir. 2008. “A Diet Rich In Long Chain omega-3 Fatty Acids Modulates Satiety In Overweight And Obese Volunteers During Weight Loss”. Appetite 51 (3): 676-680. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2008.06.003.
  14. Lu, Chenyang, Tingting Sun, Yanyan Li, Dijun Zhang, Jun Zhou, and Xiurong Su. 2017. “Modulation Of The Gut Microbiota By Krill Oil In Mice Fed A High-Sugar High-Fat Diet”. Frontiers In Microbiology 8. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.00905.
  15. “Learn About Polychlorinated Biphenyls (Pcbs) | US EPA”. 2015. US EPA. https://www.epa.gov/pcbs/learn-about-polychlorinated-biphenyls-pcbs.
  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. 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. doi:10.1186/1476-511x-10-145.
  18. “Learn About Polychlorinated Biphenyls (Pcbs) | US EPA”. 2015. US EPA. https://www.epa.gov/pcbs/learn-about-polychlorinated-biphenyls-pcbs.
  19. Magazine, Oceanus, and How Fish?. 2020. “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/.
  20. 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.