Krill oil may positively benefit your cardiovascular health. It’s a fish oil alternative rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Taking it with other food can help decrease gastrointestinal side effects.

Krill oil is made from the oil of tiny crustaceans called krill. Like fatty fish, krill are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically, they have high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Krill oil is considered a fish oil alternative. Some studies suggest that the omega-3s found in krill oil are more available to the body than those found in fish oil due to the way DHA and EPA are “packaged.”

In fish oil, the majority of DHA and EPA are bound to fats called triglycerides. On the other hand, most of the DHA and EPA in krill oil are bound to fats called phospholipids. This may make krill oil easier for your body to absorb.

However, more research is needed to confirm this potential benefit.

Krill oil has several potential benefits, including impacts on your cardiovascular health and inflammation.

Having high cholesterol and triglyceride levels may increase your risk of heart disease. Research has shown that taking omega-3-rich krill oil supplements may support heart health.

For example, a 2004 study showed that people who took between 1 and 3 grams of krill oil per day saw an increase in heart-protective HDL (good) cholesterol.

Another study looked at 300 people with high triglyceride levels. Researchers found that those who supplemented with up to 4 grams of krill oil per day experienced closer to normal triglyceride levels, compared with placebo.

Some research has also suggested that krill oil may support cognitive function. In addition, according to human and animal research, krill oil may help regulate the body’s inflammatory response.

Keep in mind that there’s limited research investigating the health effects of krill oil right now. More high-quality studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.

Like fish oil, the recommended dosage of krill oil is based on the amount of DHA and EPA found in the supplement.

Some guidelines recommend a combined daily intake of DHA and EPA between 250 and 500 milligrams (mg). But studies have shown that much higher doses of DHA and EPA of up to 4 grams per day may be necessary for some people. It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking higher than the recommended dose of any supplement.

The amount of DHA and EPA found in krill oil supplements varies widely. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about what dosage to take.

Krill oil is considered a relatively safe supplement.

Taking krill oil, especially in high doses, may affect blood clotting. However, studies have shown that fish and krill oil supplementation didn’t cause side effects in those taking blood-thinning medications. It also doesn’t seem to affect people undergoing surgery.

Still, people on blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin) or people undergoing surgery should talk to their doctor before taking krill oil to be safe.

Some people taking krill oil may also experience digestive symptoms like belching, loose stools, or nausea.

The health benefits of omega-3 supplementation depend on long-term use. They’re not immediate. You’ll need to regularly take omega-3-rich supplements like krill oil in order to reap the potential health benefits.

Take your krill oil supplement with a meal or snack containing dietary fat. This can increase the absorption of DHA and EPA. It can also decrease the risks of gastrointestinal side effects.