Is krill oil a good value?
Short answer: absolutely not.
See why below.
[Pricing data accessed: September 25th, 2011. Krill oil used for comparison at Walmart and Walgreens was MegaRed brand krill oil, the #1 selling krill oil in the US.]
Omega-3 from Krill is Better Absorbed
In the last blog, we looked at krill oil absorption.
Yes, it is better than fish oil. About 1.6X better. Not the outrageous ’48X better’ that some products and marketers claim.
What’s an acceptable premium for 1.6X better absorption?
For a product that is 1.6 times better, what is a fair premium? In other words, how much more money will you part with for krill oil being 1.6X better than fish oil?
- Will you pay just 1.6X more?
- Are you willing to pay twice as much for krill oil?
- Or will you pay ten times as much?
Before you decide, let’s be clear on one fact: you’re taking fish oil and krill oil for its Omega-3.
Sure, krill oil has Omega-3 plus some astaxanthin and phospholipids. If krill oil had no Omega-3, you would not buy it. (You’d buy an inexpensive Astaxanthin supplement instead. Pick up a bottle of 60 for $9 here.)
So it’s all about the health benefits of Omega-3.
How to Measure Omega-3 Value? Cost of 1,000 mg Omega-3.
There is a value-calculator when comparing Omega-3 products. It calculates a metric, a number that can be used to measure value.
It’s ‘Cost of 1000 mg Omega-3.’
This measurement strips away all the tricks and pricing gimmicks. It tells you what it costs to take 1000 mg of Omega-3. It lays bare the true cost of getting an effective dosage of Omega-3 into your body.
Lower doses are ineffective.
But 1000 mg is where you begin to see benefits, so it’s convenient and that’s what we’ll compare.
For this exercise, I looked at prices for the popular online krill oil supplement from mercola.com and the top-selling krill oil supplement from MegaRed at both Walmart and Walgreens. There are other places that sell krill, but these prices cover the range. Prices were checked online and at physical stores during September 2011.
Krill Oil Cost Comparison
Walmart – MegaRed
Walgreens – MegaRed
|Amount EPA/DHA Omega-3||140 mg||72 mg||72 mg|
|Cost of 1,000 mg Omega-3 (effective dose)||$4.23||$5.19||$6.48|
|# pills to get 1,000 mg EPA+DHA Omega-3||about 7||about 14||about 14|
Disclaimer: Delivery cost and/or tax not included. Cost may vary after publication due to promotions or market forces.
At first glance, the krill oil prices ranged from $22 to $35.
This is roughly what most high quality fish oil sell for. So are you getting about the same amount of Omega-3 with krill oil pills?
Not even close!
You have to pay between 7 and 11 times more for the same amount of Omega-3 from krill oil.
If krill oil is only 1.6X better than fish oil, it seems odd that you should pay about 10X more for that benefit.
But it has Astaxanthin, you say. Fine, then get a bottle of Astaxanthin pills for $9 and with the money saved, buy a really high potency fish oil instead!
And it has phospholipids, you say. So does an egg.
Ultra-concentrated fish oils are expensive compared to regular fish oil. No doubt. Sometimes 10-times more expensive when you compare cost of 1000 mg Omega-3. It takes a lot of molecular distillation to concentrate the Omega-3.
Watch out for fake krill oils!
To be fair, MegaRed is made with Aker krill oil. Aker and NKO are trusted, reliable makers of bulk krill oil, from whom many manufacturers buy their oil. There is a price tag attached to quality. (Not sure where Mercola gets their oil – their website does not say.)
But be warned: there are krill oil knock-offs out there (usually from China) that contain no krill oil whatsoever. These fake krill oils are mostly low-potency fish oil with a little astaxanthin and soy phospholipid mixed in. It’s virtually worthless and can be purchased at a discount to real krill oil. You thought you got a great deal – you may have just been taken.
If your krill oil price seems too good to be true, it’s probably fish oil with some astaxanthin added for red color.
This is what happens when people pay 10-times more for similar products. It’s irrational. This is a market imbalance caused by marketing hype. Whenever you see product adulteration, like fake krill oil from China, you should know that something is off-kilter.
As long as people keep buying krill oil at these prices, threat of adulteration will remain. For what it’s worth, no one’s heard of adulterated fish oil.
Are krill oil marketers ripping you off?
Absolutely not! Krill are found near the south pole, in the Antarctic. It is extremely expensive for ships to go there and harvest krill. And krill oil being very heat-sensitive, requires a different form of purification than fish oil. This adds more cost.
Yes, there is plenty of profit to be had in selling krill oil, but it is also a very expensive raw material for manufacturers to buy.
It’s just expensive stuff, any way you slice it.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.