Calamari oil vs Krill oil: which is right for you?

Much has been written in the past 18 months about krill oil and it’s ability to treat joint pain and inflammation. But it’s entrance into the marketplace confused many, who had always been told  fish oil was the best omega-3 supplement. Now, with Calamari Oil bursting onto the scene making claims about superior omega-3 content, people are once again confused as to which omega-3 supplement they should be taking. We look at the benefits of both types of omega-3 supplement and ask: Calamari Oil vs Krill Oil – which is right for you?

Let’s start with Krill Oil

The majority of people currently taking Krill Oil take it to help reduce joint pain and joint inflammation due to arthritis. Others take it to ease joint pain caused by sporting performance or weight training. Krill Oil has two major benefits over fish oil in this regard:

1. Krill oil is absorbed faster than fish oil

The first benefit of Krill Oil over fish oil was that Krill Oil had higher bioavailability than fish oil. What does this mean? The omega-3 in Krill Oil is bound to ‘phospholipids’. In short, these help the omega-3 in Krill Oil be absorbed by your body more easily than fish oil. This all means noticeable results in a shorter amount of time. Early studies (Bunea, 2007) showed that the relief of joint pain when taking krill oil was noticeable after just 2 weeks of use. This is compared to other sources of omega-3 that suggest a minimum of 6 weeks (for fish oil) supplementation is required to reduce symptoms.

2. Krill oil could be superior to fish oil at reducing arthritic pain

Human and animal studies suggest krill oil is effective at reducing the pain caused by arthritis. One animal study (Ierna et al, 2010) looked at the effects of fish oil vs krill oil supplementation on arthritic mice. After 5 months, only 15% of the mice on krill oil showed noticeable arthritic symptoms. Among the other group – 43% of mice still showed symptoms. If these results are transferrable to humans, Krill Oil may provide joint relief not only faster, but also of a greater magnitude in the medium term (note: an equivalent human study has not been published at the time this article was written. It should be noted that findings from studies on animals do not always translate to the same results in humans).

Enter the squid: Calamari Oil vs Krill Oil

Initially discovered by a scientist looking for an eco-friendly omega-3 alternative to fish oil, Calamari Oil’s recent launch into the Australian market has again caused confusion as to which omega-3 supplements people should take. The confusion is understandable – people who finally started to trust that Krill Oil was effective are now being told they should consider a new omega-3 supplement. But is the Calamari Oil marketing hype true? And is it better than Krill Oil? Well, numbers do not lie… there is one clear reason to take Calamari Oil: it contains more omega-3 DHA than fish oil and krill oil combined. But does the fact that it has more of this ‘omega-3 DHA’ necessarily mean it is better? Let’s take a look…

Conclusion: Should I use krill oil or calamari oil?

The two products are good for different conditions, and to say outright that krill oil is superior or inferior to calamari oil does not do either justice. What we do know is that both are very good at doing 2 very different things. Calamari Oil is much higher in omega-3 DHA than krill oil. DHA (docosahexanoic acid) is a specific type of omega-3 with strong evidence supporting it’s critical importance for brain function, for eye function and for heart health. So, if you are concerned with maintaing (or improving, if your DHA levels are already low) your brain function, learning capacity, memory, heart health or vision, we recommend a high strength Calamari Oil supplement.

If you are more concerned about arthritis or joint pain / inflammation, we recommend Krill Oil, due to it’s superior absorption and track record of showing arthritic relief.

Of course, as we age, some of us may become concerned about all of the above conditions. If you find yourself trying to protect heart, eyes, brain AND joints, it is safe to take both Calamari Oil and Krill Oil together. However, if you are on blood thinning medications or have pre-existing conditions that prevent your blood from clotting, we recommend you consult a doctor first. Alternatively, try taking one of the products from the Health365 store that combines both Calamari Oil and Krill Oil into one capsule, for easier supplementation.


Ierna M, Kerr A, Scales H, Berge K, Griinari M. Supplementation of diet with krill oil protects against experimental rheumatoid arthritis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010;11:136.

Bunea, L (2007) Evaluation of the Effect of Neptune Krill Oil on Chronic Inflammation and Arthritic Symptoms, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol 26 no 1 pp 39-48

Image via Thinkstock

11 thoughts on “Calamari oil vs Krill oil: which is right for you?

  1. Wendy Noble

    I suffer badly from arthritis and would like to know the recommended daily dosage of krill oil and there are so many brands are they all the same eg wild krill oil, red krill oil etc. Also if I take calamari oil what dosage?
    Thank you

    • Health365 Editor Post author

      Hi Wendy,

      Sorry to hear that your arthritis affects you so badly. Krill oil may be able to help. For arthritis the general recommendation is 1 capsule. There are a few different suppliers of krill oil to brands in Australia. Make sure you look for ones which are sustainably sourced and provide high levels of omega-3. There are some products available which combine both calamari and krill oil. The recommendations for dosage will be on the product packaging, or consult with your pharmacist. You can find information on those here:

      Kind regards,
      Diana – Health365

  2. Hayden

    Just curious as to why you suggest speaking to your doctor before taking a high dosage of the supplements if you are using blood-thinning medications.. Is it because the Krill and Calamari supplements do the same and too much can make you light-headed? Or is it something else?

    • Health365 Editor Post author

      Hi Hayden,

      EPA (one of the omega-3’s found in marine oils) is also an anti-coagulant. Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to advise if taking omega-3’s on top of other blood thinners is advisable.

      Here is one medical study where fish oil and wafarin interaction was monitored:

      Kind regards,

      Diana – Health365

    • Health365 Editor Post author

      Hi John,

      Both products – fish oil and calamari oil – supply your body with omega 3 DHA & EPA. These are the active ingredients that studies show may be helpful with inflammation and anti-ageing. It doesn’t necessarily matter where you are getting your omega 3’s from, so long as you are taking them.

      The benefit of taking calamari oil is that you have to take less tablets to reach your daily recommended amounts, the product is more environmentally sustainable that fish oil and it contains much higher levels of DHA which is essential for brain and eye health.

      Diana – Health365

  3. Ray

    For all you people taking Krill oil, the Krill oil may make you feel better BUT Krill is the Whales main source of food. The fishermen must be taking millions of tons of Krill from the oceans to make the capsules. The whales will find it harder and harder to find food for themselves. Give it a serious thought.

    • Nick Ellery

      Hi Ray,

      This is a valid point, and sustainable harvesting of ALL the products we consume is becoming an increasingly important issue. There are, however, some Krill Oil’s that are sustainably sourced, so the ethical consumer looking for krill oil should look for a brand that has “Friend of The Sea” certification, such as our Bioglan Red Krill Oil.

      Nick / Health365


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