Original Article


, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 37-46

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Metabolic Effects of Krill Oil are Essentially Similar to Those of Fish Oil but at Lower Dose of EPA and DHA, in Healthy Volunteers

  • Stine M. UlvenAffiliated withFaculty of Health, Nutrition, and Management, Akershus University College Email author 
  • , Bente KirkhusAffiliated withNofima Mat
  • , Amandine LamglaitAffiliated withMills DA
  • , Samar BasuAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University
  • , Elisabeth ElindAffiliated withFaculty of Health, Nutrition, and Management, Akershus University College
  • , Trond HaiderAffiliated withLink Medical Research AS
  • , Kjetil BergeAffiliated withAker BioMarine ASA
  • , Hogne VikAffiliated withAker BioMarine ASA
  • , Jan I. PedersenAffiliated withDepartment of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo


The purpose of the present study is to investigate the effects of krill oil and fish oil on serum lipids and markers of oxidative stress and inflammation and to evaluate if different molecular forms, triacylglycerol and phospholipids, of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) influence the plasma level of EPA and DHA differently. One hundred thirteen subjects with normal or slightly elevated total blood cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels were randomized into three groups and given either six capsules of krill oil (N = 36; 3.0 g/day, EPA + DHA = 543 mg) or three capsules of fish oil (N = 40; 1.8 g/day, EPA + DHA = 864 mg) daily for 7 weeks. A third group did not receive any supplementation and served as controls (N = 37). A significant increase in plasma EPA, DHA, and DPA was observed in the subjects supplemented with n-3 PUFAs as compared with the controls, but there were no significant differences in the changes in any of the n-3 PUFAs between the fish oil and the krill oil groups. No statistically significant differences in changes in any of the serum lipids or the markers of oxidative stress and inflammation between the study groups were observed. Krill oil and fish oil thus represent comparable dietary sources of n-3 PUFAs, even if the EPA + DHA dose in the krill oil was 62.8% of that in the fish oil.


Plasma lipoproteins Plasma lipids Dietary fat Nutrition, n-3 fatty acids Lipid absorption Phospholipids