Krill oil is an oil derived from shrimp-like crustaceans called krill. The omega-3-rich oil contains two of the same essential fatty acids as fish oil (eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA). The EPA and DHA in krill oil are said to have higher bioavailability (rate of absorption) compared to fish oil because much of the EPA and DHA in krill oil is bound to phospholipids.
For years, people have been taking fish oil supplements for the essential fatty acids contained inside, and more and more people have been turning to krill oil as an alternative. Its rise in popularity has raised some concerns about sustainability.
The recent popularity of krill oil supplements has raised serious concerns that it could threaten populations of its predators, including penguins, seals, and whales.12
It is important to purchase krill oil supplements that are certified as coming from sustainable sources. Look for a label certifying that the krill oil contained in the product comes from an MSC- and Friends of the Sea-certified sustainable fishery.4 This ensures that harvesting practices were subject to oversight by the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which is working to protect 1.5 million square kilometers of krill habitat in collaboration with 24 countries and the European Union.