Does Krill Oil Contain Mercury? (Fully Explained)

Are you considering taking omega-3 supplements but worried about the potential mercury content?

Look no further than krill oil.

This lesser-known supplement has been gaining popularity in recent years for its unique benefits, including being a sustainable and pure source of omega-3 fatty acids.

But what about mercury?

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between krill oil and fish oil, and why krill oil may be the safer choice when it comes to avoiding harmful toxins.

So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of omega-3s.

Does Krill Oil Contain Mercury?

One of the main concerns when it comes to consuming fish or seafood-based supplements is the potential for mercury contamination. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can accumulate in the bodies of fish and other marine animals, posing a risk to human health when consumed in high amounts.

Fortunately, krill oil is considered to be one of the purest sources of omega-3 fatty acids on the planet, with little to no detectable levels of mercury. This is due to the fact that krill are at the bottom of the ocean’s food chain and do not have time to accumulate high levels of contaminants like mercury.

In contrast, fish oil supplements can contain varying levels of mercury depending on the type of fish used and how it was sourced. Large predatory fish like tuna, swordfish, and mackerel are known to have higher levels of mercury due to their position in the food chain.

Krill Oil Vs. Fish Oil: What’s The Difference?

Both krill oil and fish oil are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for many bodily functions. However, there are some key differences between these two types of supplements.

Krill oil is derived from tiny crustaceans called Antarctic krill, while fish oil is extracted from oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and albacore tuna. Krill oil contains both DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the antioxidant astaxanthin, which gives it a red color. On the other hand, fish oil supplements are higher in omega-3 fatty acids compared to krill oil supplements.

One of the main differences between these two types of supplements is how well they are absorbed by the body. Some studies have suggested that krill oil may be better absorbed by the body than fish oil due to the fact that the DHA and EPA in krill oil are found in the form of phospholipids, while in fish oil they are stored as triglycerides. This may make it easier for the body to absorb and utilize the omega-3s found in krill oil.

Another difference between krill oil and fish oil is their potential for mercury contamination. Krill are at the bottom of the ocean’s food chain and do not have time to accumulate high levels of contaminants like mercury. Therefore, krill oil is considered to be one of the purest sources of omega-3 fatty acids on the planet. In contrast, fish oil supplements can contain varying levels of mercury depending on the type of fish used and how it was sourced.

In terms of antioxidant content, krill oil contains more antioxidants than fish oil due to its high astaxanthin content. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties and may offer additional health benefits beyond those provided by omega-3 fatty acids alone.

The Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that our bodies cannot produce on their own, making it necessary to obtain them through our diet or supplements. These fatty acids have been shown to provide numerous health benefits, including decreasing cholesterol levels, promoting heart health, supporting brain function, and reducing inflammation in the body.

EPA and DHA are the two main types of omega-3s found in krill oil and fish oil. EPA helps manage inflammation and immune response by producing signaling molecules called eicosanoids. DHA is an important component of cell membranes and facilitates messaging between nerves, making it essential for brain development and function. Both EPA and DHA work together in the body, making it necessary to consume both.

Krill oil is a superior source of omega-3s compared to fish oil due to its higher bioavailability. The polyunsaturated fats in krill oil are in the form of phospholipids, which are what most of our cell walls are made of. This means that when presented to our cells, they are quickly absorbed, allowing the omega-3s to enter our bloodstream and produce results faster. In contrast, fish oil contains polyunsaturated fats in the form of triglycerides, which require more processing by the body to use EPA and DHA.

Consuming omega-3 fatty acids through krill oil has been shown to provide numerous health benefits. These include reducing joint pain and stiffness, improving heart health by lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels, supporting brain function and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Additionally, krill oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for those with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Understanding Mercury In Seafood

Mercury is a well-known heavy metal that can cause varying degrees of toxicity if ingested or inhaled in large amounts. It is often found in certain types of fish and shellfish, especially larger and older fish or large predatory fish that consume other fish. This is because these fish obtain mercury from the air and water sources in which they feed, which can come from industrial sources.

However, it’s important to note that not all fish contain high levels of mercury. Many companies that produce fish oil supplements use species of fish that are lower on the food chain, like cod and sardines, which accumulate less mercury. Additionally, many companies distill their oils to help remove contaminants.

It’s also worth mentioning that prescription omega-3 fatty acid products like Lovaza do not contain any environmental toxins, including mercury and methylmercury. However, unless a non-prescription fish oil supplement has been tested and has the USP Verified mark on its label, clinicians cannot be confident that no environmental toxins (especially methylmercury) are present.

How Krill Oil Is Processed And Tested For Toxins

Krill oil goes through a rigorous process to ensure that it is free of toxins and pollutants. The krill are harvested from the pristine waters of the Antarctic, where there is little to no pollution. Once harvested, the krill are immediately processed on board the fishing vessel to prevent any degradation of the oil.

After processing, the krill oil undergoes multiple purification steps to remove any potential contaminants. These steps include molecular distillation, which separates the oil from any impurities, and filtration to remove any remaining particles.

Once purified, the krill oil is tested for toxins and pollutants using advanced analytical techniques like gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. These tests can detect even trace amounts of contaminants like mercury, PCBs, and dioxins.

Furthermore, reputable krill oil manufacturers typically obtain third-party certifications like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification to ensure that their products are sustainably sourced and free of contaminants.

The Importance Of Sustainable And Traceable Sources

When it comes to sourcing nutrients from our oceans, it is extremely important to ensure that the products and nutrients we consume do not compromise the health of our planet. This is where the importance of sustainable and traceable sources comes into play.

Krill harvesting is closely monitored and carefully regulated to ensure its environmental sustainability. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is an international environmental organization comprised of 25 members with an additional 11 countries acceding to the convention. Their mission is to preserve marine life and the environmental integrity within and surrounding Antarctica. CCAMLR is considered an exceptional organization for its highly detailed research programs to help ensure successful conservation practices (especially of krill) in the Southern Ocean.

Furthermore, Norwegian company Aker BioMarine, who provides the SuperbaTM krill oil featured in many supplements, is committed to sustainably harvesting krill. Their website reads, “to us, it makes no sense to take something out of the ocean to improve our health, if it simultaneously compromises the health of the ocean.” They use eco-friendly harvesting techniques and have implemented a traceability program to ensure that their krill oil comes from a sustainable source and can be traced back to its origin.

Consumers should also look for supplements that have been third-party tested for purity and potency. This ensures that the product contains what it claims to contain and is free from harmful contaminants like mercury.

Choosing The Right Omega-3 Supplement For You

When it comes to choosing the right omega-3 supplement for you, there are several factors to consider. One of the most important is the source of the omega-3s. While both fish oil and krill oil contain EPA and DHA, the molecular structure of their fatty acids is different, with krill oil having an advantage in terms of bioavailability.

Krill oil is also considered a safe alternative to fish oil, with no significant reported side effects. It also does not cause a fishy aftertaste or reflux, which are common side effects of fish oil supplements.

Another important factor to consider is purity. Fish oil supplements can contain varying levels of mercury and other heavy metals, which can be harmful to human health if consumed in high amounts. Krill oil, on the other hand, is considered to be one of the purest sources of omega-3 fatty acids on the planet.

It’s also important to consider the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in your diet. Most people consume too much omega-6 fats, which can contribute to inflammation and disease. Increasing your consumption of omega-3s or decreasing your consumption of omega-6s can help balance this ratio.

There are several types of dietary supplements that contain omega-3s, including fish oil supplements, fish liver oil supplements, krill oil, algal oils, and flaxseed oil. It’s important to choose a supplement that fits your lifestyle and dietary needs, while also ensuring that it is pure and free from contaminants like mercury.