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Choosing the Best Fish Oil

Why are Fish Oil Pills Bigger than Krill Oil Pills?

written by Vin Kutty

comments 21 comments

fish oil vs krill oil

Why are fish oil pills bigger than krill oil pills?

The word ‘horse’ comes up a lot when people talk to me about fish oil pills.

As in, ‘These are HORSE PILLS! I can’t swallow them!

We know.

I know.

Fish oil pill size is a problem

MegaRed and other krill oil pills wouldn’t be so popular if they were as big as fish oil pills.

Krill oil supplements are definitely small and easy-to-swallow, but they’re not always better or more effective. More on that here.

The main reason krill oil supplements are so small is that krill oil is so outrageously expensive.

If they made larger krill oil pills, they’d be so pricey that nobody would buy them!

They are not tiny because krill is so effective that you only need a tiny amount. (Marketers would love for you to believe that though!)

Krill oil capsules are about 300 mg in size. Of the 300 mg, only about 90 mg is Omega-3. Most fish oil capsules are four times bigger, at 1200 mg.

If we made a 1200 mg krill oil pill that is the same size as most fish oil pills, it would cost almost $100 for a bottle of 60 pills. If money were no object, that would finally be an effective krill formula.

But then you’d be back to square one – it would be as big as all other fish oil pills. Oh well…can’t win.

The appeal of the little red pill…

…that cures what ails is easy to understand.

A few reasons why fish oil pills are so damn big:

  1. Effective dosage. You need a lot of Omega-3 to feel the benefits.
  2. Competition. This is simple.
    • If one company has a 1200 mg capsule, a competitor will introduce a 1300 mg pill.
    • This supplement arms race has led to giant pills with 1400 and 1500 mg of oil per capsule.
  3. Fish oil is cheaper.
    • At the time of this writing, cost of high quality krill oil (bulk raw material bought in drum quantities) is about $220 per kilo.
    • To compare, the Ultra-concentrated form of fish oil we use in OmegaVia costs about half that much.
    • The ‘triple strength’ oil sold in GNC and Costco in the 1400 mg pills is about $50 per kilo.
    • The regular drug-store variety Chinese fish oil that you can buy at your grocery store costs about $5 per kilo.

Krill Oil Dosage – the little pill that could?

The effective dose needed with krill oil may be less than what you need with fish oil.

The scientific proof of krill oil’s superiority is just starting to come in.

Even a best case scenario looks like you’d need half the amount of krill oil as fish oil.

Let’s say you need 1500 mg of krill oil Omega-3 for a particular benefit – my generous estimation. Well, you would still need more than a dozen little krill oil pills per day.

Quick math:

  • One regular krill oil pill has about 90 mg of Omega-3
  •  You’d need 17 pills to get 1500 mg of Omega-3. Yep.
  • The lowest price I could find for MegaRed was $0.24 per pill
  • That’s about $4 per day. Gulp.

That’s the price of small pills.

And you need a lot of them.

Still, if you can’t swallow the ‘horse pills,’ tiny krill oil pills may have to be an option for you.

Other Options?

The other option is liquid fish oil by the spoonful.

Some brave souls can handle liquid fish oil. I can’t.

Most people gag at the thought.

Liquid fish oil is an easy and relatively cheap way to get large amounts of Omega-3 in one gulp.

Given so many of you have expressed dissatisfaction with large fish oil pills, You may wish to consider OmegaVia EPA 500 or DHA 600.


Image: Tinplace


*Individual results may vary. 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. Clinical research suggests the omega-3 dosage needed to help maintain healthy triglycerides is 2000-3000 mg per day when used as part of healthy diet and exercise.


Join the conversation

  1. I’m taking those tiny red krill pills now so that I don’t have to swallow the larger capsules. I was about to purchase Omegavia, but worried about the size of the pill. I found the answer to the size question in this FAQ. I’m impressed with the product and quality, but will put off making a purchase until the “mini” is offered for sale.

    • Yes, pill size is an issue with about 30% of our customers. We’re hearing you loud and clear. We are busily working to bring you OmegaVia Mini. It will be available in 2013. We’re trying to figure out how to make it half the size but provide more than half the Omega-3. Stay tuned.
      – Vin Kutty

    • Hi Mike – yes, we are in the process of developing and quality-testing a ‘Mini’ version. Hope to have it to market in 2013.
      – Vin Kutty

  2. Hello,
    Large capsules, tablets are not an option for some of us. There are those of us, especially older folks, who cannot swallow huge capsules. I, for one, take krill oil, which I can handle. You would be performing a huge service for those of us with swallowing difficulties, if you made smaller capsules.

    • Hi Shirley – we hear you loudly and clearly! We are busily working away at bringing you OmegaVia Mini. It will be between a third and half the size of the current pill.
      – Vin Kutty

  3. I can handle taking the larger pills, but will definitely consider buying a “mini” pill if your company offers one at around the same price point. I just wish overall the current bottles were a bit cheaper.

    • Hi Tony – there are ways to get the current bottles for less – if you go to our facebook page and click ‘Like’ you can pick up a 10% off coupon code in the Offers tab. You can apply this code even on autoship purchases, which are as much as 30% off regular prices. Little secrets that people need to know about…
      – Vin Kutty

  4. Hi Vin, what a great site with great information. I also have a hard time swallowing pills, even if they are small!! I look forward to the omegavia mini’s in 2013. Please get a supplier in the UK as I hate having to pay the extortionate shipping costs!! In the meantime, can you recommend a liquid version with a high amount of omega-3?

    • Hi Aisha – glad you like the information provided here. While I’m very familiar with Omega-3 products here in in US, I haven’t been to the UK in a while and so feel a bit rusty about recommending brands. If Nordic Naturals is available there, try that. I’m sure Seven Seas have a couple of liquid products. If you can find the Norwegian brand Mollers, definitely give it a shot.
      – Vin Kutty

  5. If we all have a problem with large pills, and we need 1500 per day, why not make a smaller 750 and take two per day? It seems that would be a viable approach and the manufacturers could charge a little more for each pill since it would add to their cost to produce. I am sure Krill oil had something like this in mind when they went smaller.

    • Hi Don – we are working on a solution that’s somewhat close to your suggestion. Small pills are certainly nicer to swallow, even for those who have no issues with large pills. But 1,500 mg Omega-3 is not a standard dosage for everyone. Still, it’s a matter of balancing the number of pills you have to take over the size of the pill.

      Krill oil never was big to begin with and they didn’t decide to downsize. The extreme cost of krill oil kept the pill size small. Like I mention in the post, if krill oil was as big as regular fish oils and came in 100-capsule bottles, each bottle would easily cost well over $100. With krill, cost drove the size, not convenience.
      – Vin Kutty

  6. Hi Vin,
    Do you know why or can you explain why one capsule is 1200mg(for example) but only 500mg is EPA/DHA omega? Why can’t they just make the capsule just big enough for 500mg omega instead of 1200mg fish oil.
    is there something behind all those extra space? thanks!

    • Hi Joe – this has to do with concentration. Regular fish oil has about 20 to 30% Omega-3. The rest of the capsule’s 70% is fish fats. This is what most fish oil supplements contain. So 1000 mg of fish oil will have between 200 and 300 mg of Omega-3. If we take that oil and put it through extra concentration, we can get 50% pure Omega-3 product. This is an expensive process, so most manufacturers choose not to do this. Then if we take the 50 or 60% pure oil and concentrate it even more, you can get 70 or 80 or 90% pure oils. We use 90% pure oil for OmegaVia. It takes 100 gallons of regular fish oil to make one gallon of 90% pure Omega-3 oil. And the cost goes up a lot.

      – Vin Kutty

  7. I am wondering , since I can’t afford the liquid form , if it is ok to pierce or cut (?) a regular fish oil capsule and then squeeze it onto my dog’s food?
    the vet said I can give him MY fish oil capsules but I don’t want to give him those horse pills. 🙂

    • Tracey – you are better off getting the liquid form and using it less often. May be every other day, so the daily cost goes down by half. Do not pierce or cut fish oil pills. Trust me.

      – Vin Kutty

  8. if i choose to take say 1000mg of omega-3,i dont have a problem swallowing the bigger pills should i take the 3-4 pills at one time or spread them out thru the day?

    • Hi Barry – you can take them all at once, as long as it is with a meal. Most people have absolutely no trouble digesting 3000 mg of Omega-3 fats in one shot.

  9. Hi J.B. – I hear you. May I suggest liquid Omega-3? Nordic Naturals makes a couple of good ones. The taste may not be your cup of tea, but it permanently solves the issue of swallowing pills and you can get a good dose of Omegas in a teaspoon.

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