Home > Blog > Q&A: Krill Oil Dosage; Triple Strength Fish Oil; Fish Oil plus Lipitor

Q&A: Krill Oil Dosage; Triple Strength Fish Oil; Fish Oil plus Lipitor

by Vin Kutty, MS on August 22, 2011

Our Omega-3 Expert Answers Your Questions…


Krill Oil Dosage

Question:

I have been taking 3000 mg of fish oil everyday. I would like to switch to krill oil and was wondering if I am supposed to take the same dosage as fish oil? Here are the dosages of both oils that I have:

Fish oil omega 3: EPA 360 mg,  DHA 240 mg (1200 mg tablets)
Krill oil omega 3: Fatty acids 90 mg,  EPA 50 mg, DHA 24 mg (300 mg tablets)

A holistic doctor said to take 3 grams of omega 3 everyday. How many krill oil tablets do I then have to take? I’m confused by all the different dosages.

Answer:

The dosage is not the same for fish oil and krill oil. You need less Krill oil.

3000 mg of fish oil is not the same as 3000 mg of Omega-3. Your doctor recommended the latter, which usually means a lot more pills.

The good news is that you can get the same benefits as fish oil with about half to two-thirds as much Omega-3 from Krill oil.

Your doctor is right – you do need about 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day for maximum benefits. It’s good to hear doctors recommend Omega-3 and in the right dosages.

But you’re not going to like what I have to say.

To make my point, let’s pretend fish and krill oils are the same. To get 3,000 mg or 3 grams of Omega-3, you will need 5 of your fish oil pills a day. (Here’s the math: 360 mg EPA + 240 mg DHA = 600 mg total Omega-3. And 3000 mg per day divided by 600 mg Omega-3 per pill = 5 pills per day)

Each pill of Krill oil has 74 mg of Omega-3. Now, to get 3,000 mg of Omega-3 from Krill, 3000 divided by 74 = 40 pills. That’s right, forty pills a day. That’s not a typo! But studies show that Krill oil is time-and-a-half to twice as good as fish oil when it comes to absorption. So let’s give krill the benefit of the doubt and call it TWICE as good as fish oil.

The data says 100 mg of Omega-3 from Krill is equivalent to about 160 mg of Omega-3 from fish. This study was done by the folks at Aker Biomarine. So yes, Krill is much better, no doubt.

Even if Krill oil is twice as good as fish oil, you’ll have to take 20 pills a day (instead of 40) to get the benefits of 5 of your fish oil pills. I’m not joking! You can’t argue with the math.

Of course, this is mostly because your Krill oil pills contain 300 mg of oil and your fish oil pills are four-times bigger at 1200 mg. If your Krill oil pills also had 1200 mg of krill oil in each pill, your bottle would cost about $100 each.

If you read Krill oil marketing, you will hear a lot about antioxidants and astaxanthin etc., which are great! But don’t forget: you’re not taking Krill for antioxidants and astaxanthin – you’re taking it for the Omega-3.

If you’re on a budget, you’re much, much better off taking your five fish oil pills per day and then taking a good antioxidant and a good astaxanthin supplement. All three supplement together will be cheaper than the cost of Krill oil pills.

Yes, Krill oil pills are small. And they are easy to swallow. But there are really good fish oil pills that are equally small, like OmegaBrite.

Percent Omega-3 change in blood plasma

krill oil vs fish oil

(The red bar is NKO Krill oil; green and yellow bars are fish oils)
Source: Evaluation of Omega-3 Bioavailability & Steady State Assessment of Neptune Krill Oil Compared to Established Omega-3 Formulations. Presented at SSW 2009.

Like I said, if you’re a krill oil believer, you’re not going to like what I have to say. Yes, Krill oil is without a doubt better than fish oil, but it does not make financial sense and it is silly to take 20 pills a day. Even if you had to take 10 pills a day (assuming krill is 4X better), that’s still a hassle.


Question:

Hi – I would like more info on how your product compares with vs GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil and Costco. New items from GNC and Costco offer 900-1200 Omega-3. Are they the same as your item?

Also, can you take OmegaVia with Lipitor?

If I take the 3 pills, should I take them at the same time or one in the morning one at noon and one at night?

Answer:

I am familiar with all fish oil supplements at Costco and GNC.

At Costco: there is a Nature’s Bounty product at Costco with over 900 mg Omega-3. This is a fairly good product. It has 70% Omega-3, which is the highest you will see in mass market retailers. While it gives you a good amount of Omega-3, the ‘fill weight’ of the pill is 1400 mg. This means there is 1400 mg of fish oil in each capsule. This is by far the biggest fish oil pill on the market and it is not enteric-coated.
GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil with 900 mg Omega-3

GNC: Triple Strength Fish Oil is the best product GNC has. It is enteric-coated and has 900mg Omega-3. It is much better than most fish oil supplements found at grocery and drug stores but still, I do not recommend this product because it has only 60% Omega-3.

The mg of total Omega-3 is very important, but also, the PERCENT Omega-3 purity is very important if you are trying to reduce triglycerides or manage blood fats. 60% Omega-3 (GNC) will not improve triglycerides. Even 70% will only have a small effect.

What fish oil labels won’t say

The label will not say the purity of Omega-3 in percentage. You will have to calculate it or call up the manufacturer.

To begin noticing true benefits, you will need higher than 80%. This is why Lovaza is 85% pure Omega-3. And also the reason why OmegaVia is equally strong. Please read this article for a more detailed explanation of why fish oil works best when 85% pure or better.

You mention a product at Costco with 1200 mg Omega-3. I am not aware of such a product at Costco. I would be happy to provide my opinion on this product if you can provide a link. Please refer to this blog for other fish oil brands that we think are effective.

Fish Oil and Lipitor

Yes, you may take OmegaVia with Lipitor, but first, talk to your doctor about this.

Fish oil is not a cholesterol-reducer like Lipitor. It is a triglyceride-reducer. Triglyceride is a blood fat that many scientists feel is more telling of your heart health.

Dosage: Take at once or one at each meal?

The most important thing is that you take the pills with a good-sized meal. Do not take on an empty stomach because less Omega-3 will be absorbed with an empty stomach. The bigger the meal and more fat there is in the meal, the better the Omega-3 absorption. You may take all your fish oil pills at once or throughout the day – it does not appear to make much of a difference.

Three OmegaVia a day is a good dosage for reducing triglycerides. If you are interested in information about this, the left side of this blog has a field where you can sign up to get a free report on how to reduce triglycerides. Many of our readers find this very helpful.


DISCLAIMER: This website is for your education and general health information only. This website is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this website should not rely on information provided on this website for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician.

Author Vin Kutty is an expert on fish oil About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. Email him.

pharmaceutical grade fish oil

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Ash March 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

Vin: I don’t buy your argument on “A fish oil should be at least 80% Omega-3 to be effective in lowering triglyceride levels”. Since all fatty acids are part of our diet (and all except trans fats are okay to an extent), so what should matter is the amount of EPA+DHA and not the concentration of these in the capsule. I would love to see any published research that supports your “>80% concentration” theory.

Cheers.

Reply

Omegavia March 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Hi Ash – the argument is not mine. It is based on a very good 2006 study published in Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. I go into it at greater detail in this blog. The authors of the study suggest that this has to do with inhibition of acyl CoA enzyme.

I too used to believe that what mattered was the quantity of Omega-3 ingested. Not true. Also, the use of Omega-3 to reduce triglyceride is using science to trick our body into removing triglycerides. The healthy way to reduce triglycerides is to reduce sugar and starch consumption…but that’s no fun, so people prefer Omega-3 supplements.

Reply

Ian Kerr December 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Hi, I have high blood pressure, my wife has low blood pressure, I am taking Natures Own Krill oil (333mg) , one every 2nd day & don’t have any side effects, my wife is concerned that if she has the same dosage with low blood pressure could it cause her a problem, at the moment she has three fish oil capsules (1000mg) each day, what would you recommend as a correct dosage? Thanks Ian

Reply

Vin Kutty December 4, 2012 at 12:50 am

Hi Ian – 333 mg of krill oil every other day is virtually insignificant. The Omega-3 in krill oil is very highly absorbed but you still need significant quantities to see any noticeable benefits. Each krill oil pill probably has less than 100 mg of Omega-3. My guess is that you’d need at least half a dozen pills a day to improve your heart health. I’m not certain about how much/if krill oil can improve blood pressure. The research on krill oil, while mostly positive, is still emerging. It’s a discussion you need to have with your doctor. If I were you, I’d start taking 3 of your wife’s fish oil pills. Or take out a loan to buy 6 krill oil pills a day. Yes, krill oil is better than fish oil but I think you’re starting to see my point…
– Vin Kutty

Reply

Greg February 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Is there any benefit to taking an antioxidant to protect the EPA & DHA in fish oil? If so then would Vitamin C or what classify as an antioxidant to protect/enhance the EPA, DHA?

Reply

Vin Kutty February 3, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Hi Greg – yes, if you’re taking more than 3000 or 4000 mg of Omega-3.

Doses higher than that is not natural; it may help quell more inflammation or reduce more triglycerides, but is not natural. If you eat large amounts of Omega-3 or Omega-6 – I’d say virtually all of us fall in one of the two groups – we need to protect ourselves from oxidative damage from these polyunsaturated fats oxidizing. So a little bit of antioxidants is a form of insurance. Not much work has been done in this area but one study said Vitamin E didn’t help much. Could just mean that the form or dosage of Vitamin E in that study was ineffective.

I take time-release C, R alpha-lipoic acid and tocotrieneols…not to protect against Omega-3 and 6 oxidation but for other reasons.

– Vin Kutty

Reply

Nora J February 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm

The chart that you show here in your article for blood plasma, shows that Krill has higher benefits that regular OMEGA. Is that showing the Krill taken in doeses suggested on the package; 1 a day, 300mg. Or is it 20/40 a day as you suggest would be equivlent to OMEGA? The chart is good but it does not give any dosage information to truly compare. If you could give the dosages that the chart is referring to that would be very useful.
thanks

Reply

Vin Kutty February 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Hi Nora – the bar graph shows EQUAL amount of Omega-3 given from krill and fish sources. 1000 mg Omega-3 from krill and fish. It was not based on package instructions. This graph was created by NKO krill oil company, not me. So the results are going to look favorable towards krill.

What’s missing is the number of pills you will need to take to get 1000 mg of Omega-3 from krill. It’s about a dozen MegaRed pills versus one pharmaceutical grade fish oil pill. A dozen krill oil pills will cost you about $2.50 while you can get the same with about $0.50 for a pharma grade fish oil. Hope this clarifies the situation a bit.

– Vin Kutty

Reply

John April 25, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I think you missed the point of some of us using krill oil. I’m allergic to eating fish and can’t take fish oil. I even tried the so called specially filtered fish oil that Natrol has but over time I did get an allergic reaction. So for me I have to use krill oil or basically nothing at all.

Reply

Vin Kutty April 26, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Hi John – you are right. Individuals like you are the only folks who truly benefit from krill oil. And from that perspective, I am glad krill oil is available. My suggestion to you would be to take about 3 times more than what the label tells you to. There are a lot of people who take krill oil because they’ve been marketed into thinking it is much better than fish oil – well, that I have a problem with.

Reply

fred johnson May 24, 2013 at 7:02 am

I take 1000mg krill oil capsules so 2 caps would cover me right?

Reply

Vin Kutty May 24, 2013 at 8:55 am

No, Fred, you’re still only getting about 300 mg of Omega-3 from 2000 mg of krill oil. While this will cover most of your basic needs, it won’t offset a less-than-perfect diet. Or if you have any chronic health issues. Lowering triglycerides requires 10-times more Omega-3 – about 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day.

Reply

Vivian July 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Hi, If I have high cholesterol as 6.4, how many 1000mg krill oil I should take to take effect?

Reply

Vin Kutty July 7, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Hi Vivian – I have a few startling responses for you:

1. your 6.4 mmol translates to about 245 for our American readers. That, believe it or not, is not high based on thousands of healthy women. I have no idea how old you are, but 200-240 is normal for middle aged women. Read this: http://www.omegavia.com/cholesterol-when-to-panic/
2. Omega-3 does not reduce total cholesterol that much. May be a bit, but Omega-3 reduces cholesterol.
3. Total cholesterol number is relatively useless. Your triglycerides and HDL are much more valuable in predicting heart health risks.

And finally, here is a radical suggestion: forget the pills, especially over-hyped krill oil pills. Just cut back on sugar, soft drinks, juices, bread and flour-based foods for a while – you’ll lose a bunch of weight and all your numbers will go right back to where they should be.

Reply

Vin Kutty July 17, 2013 at 3:32 am

Hi Linden – fish oil dosage taken for heart health (2000 to 4000 mg Omega-3 per day) does not act as an anticoagulant. If you take 10,000 mg or more, you are much more likely to notice blood thinning. That’s one of the reasons why we recommend 4000 mg or less. Krill or fish, doesnt matter, as long as you get the right amount of Omega-3. 4000 mg of Omega-3 per day from fish is affordable – the same amount from krill will require a bank loan.

Reply

JAXS July 20, 2013 at 2:14 am

I have extremely high triglycerides 800 – I take Lipitor and TriCor. My dr. suggests getting 3 grams of omega 3 daily. Do I need any other omegas? Like 6 and 9. What are they for?
I am interested in your opinion

Jaxs

Reply

Vin Kutty July 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Hi JAXS – your doctor is right. 3000 mg of 3 grams of Omega-3 is fine. You do not need Omega-9 as it is not essential. Omega-6 is essential, but virtually everyone has an excess supply and you will need to cut back on seed oils to reduce Omega-6 intake.

Reply

Geo October 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hi Vin,
I lost 3 pregnancies already, 2 in the second trimester, week 17 – due to my over-reactive immune system – high CD3+, CD4+ cells count. Do you think fish oil could help with inflammation of the fetal membranes in my case? If so, how much is too much? I am again pregnant in week 12 and very scared not to lose it again. How much time does it take for fish oil to have some anti-inflammatory effect? Thank you in advance!

Reply

Vin Kutty October 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Hi Geo – I am really sorry for your loss.

Fish oil certainly can help with reducing inflammation. I would suggest 2000 to 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day. Additionally, switch from vegetable oils (soy, canola, corn, sunflower etc.) to olive, coconut and grass-fed butter. Vegetable oils are high in Omega-6 that trigger inflammation. Be sure to eliminate or drastically cut back on sugar, processed foods and refined carbohydrate. I also recommend that you look up Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code – it is worth the cost.

You can notice the anti-inflammatory benefits of fish oil in a few days, but reducing the excess stored Omega-6 fats from vegetable oils takes several months. Still, do what you can. Take care.

Reply

Debra Johnson-Dienberg June 3, 2014 at 2:45 am

Is Nature Bounty fish oil from Costco a pharmaceutical grade fish oil. I’ve bought fish oil from health stores and they never mention this.

Reply

Vin Kutty, MS June 3, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Hi Debra – I don’t consider it pharmaceutical grade. But that goes back to the definition of pharma grade fish oil is…there is no official definition. My definition of ‘pharmaceutical grade fish oil’ is that the oil has to be least 85% Omega-3. The Natures Bounty is less than 65% the last time I checked.

Reply

Carol J. Powell June 19, 2014 at 12:38 am

I have high triglycerides and I am taking 3600mg fish oil daily. 1200mg capsules, 3x a day. Costco brand.
I read the article comparing krill oil and fish oil, my question is: Can you take both fish oil and krill oil together? I mean combine them, the two to come up to the dosage needed to lower triglycerides?
Thank you

Sincerely
Carol J. Powell

Reply

Vin Kutty, MS June 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Hi Carol – great question. Yes you can. But why would you want to? I’ll explain in a second. The 1200 mg fish oil from Costco has 360 mg of Omega-3. Assuming you buy MegaRed krill oil from Costco as well, it has about 100 mg of Omega-3 per pill. So if you took one of each, you get a total of 460 mg of Omega-3. You need 3000 to 4000 mg of Omega-3 per day to significantly reduce your triglycerides. That’s about 8 or 9 pills. 4 of each at a minimum. That’s about $2 per day.

My suggestion is to pass on the krill oil. You may want to watch this: http://livingfuel.com/fish-oil-vs-krill-oil/

If you want to continue buying at Costco, try the Kirkland One-Per-Day Omega or the Natures Bounty Triple Strength products. Both of these are much better alternatives to what you are currently doing. Of course, the first place to start making changes is diet. More here: http://www.omegavia.com/cut-triglycerides-in-half-without-lovaza-or-fish-oil-1/
and http://www.omegavia.com/how-to-cut-your-triglycerides-in-half-without-lovaza-or-fish-oil-part-2/

Reply

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