Krill oil is made from a species of krill [Euphausia superba]. Two of the most important nutrients in krill oil are: (1) omega-3 fatty acids similar to those of fish oil and (2) Phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFA), mainly phosphatidylcholine (alternatively referred to as marine lecithin). Also, antioxidant experimental egg products with krill oil likely contained astaxanthin, a natural antioxidant. The fatty acid composition in the phospholipids in krill oil has been described in two papers.
Krill oil vs. fish oil
Considering the much higher price for krill oil, the potentially small increase in bioavailability may not be worth the price. Until data exists comparing fish oil to krill oil on intermediate markers of risk and actual disease endpoints it will be difficult to say one is better than the other.
The harvesting of Antarctic krill is relatively new. The vast majority is harvested for feed for fish farms. A small percentage (2 percent in the 2009-2010 season) is harvested for human consumption.
Krill is considered by many scientists to be the largest biomass in the world. Antarctic krill is fundamental to the survival of almost every species of animal that lives in the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic waters and island groups. Because Antarctic krill are so important, in 1982, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Chile, European Community, Germany and Japan formed a treaty organization to ensure that krill were being harvested sustainably. Named the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources  (CCAMLR-pronounced "camel-lahr"), it now manages the fin fish (mostly toothfish) and krill fisheries in the Southern Ocean. Scientists from some of the CCAMLR member nations, including Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, conduct research in the Southern Ocean and make recommendations to CCAMLR that enable the organization to make management decisions. Currently there are 25 Members of CCAMLR, 24 member states and the European Community.
CCAMLR has successfully implemented a precautionary and ecosystem approach in managing the krill fishery. The krill fishery is considered by some of those scientists to be among the best managed fisheries in the world, providing strict catch limits on licensed vessels, and scientific observers on board. CCAMLR scientists are working to take into account the possible effects of climate change on the ecosystem as well as effects of changes in technology and operational pattern of krill fishing vessels on the fishery when making management decisions.
- Kassis, NM; Gigliotti, JC; Beamer, SK; Tou, JC; Jaczynski, J (Jan 2012). "Characterization of lipids and antioxidant capacity of novel nutraceutical egg products developed with omega-3-rich oils.". J Sci Food Agric. 92(1) (1): 66–73. doi:10.1002/jsfa.4542. PMID 21769882.
- Grandois LG, Marchioni E, Zhao M, Giuffrida F, Ennahar S, Bindler F (June 2009). "Investigation of natural phosphatidylcholine sources: separation and identification by liquid chromatography - electronspray ionization - tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS2) of molecular species". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 57 (14): 6014–6020. doi:10.1021/jf900903e. PMID 19545117.
- Winther B, Hoem N, Berge K, Reubsaet L (September 2010). "Elucidation of phosphatidylcholine composition in krill oil extracted from Euphausia Superba". Lipids 46 (1): 25–36. doi:10.1007/s11745-010-3472-6. PMC 3024512. PMID 20848234.
- Corsolini S, Covaci A, Ademollo N, Focardi S, Schepens P (March 2006). "Occurrence of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and their enantiomeric signatures, and concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the Adélie penguin food web, Antarctica". Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) 140 (2): 371–82. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2005.04.039. PMID 16183185.
- Covaci A, Voorspoels S, Vetter W, et al. (August 2007). "Anthropogenic and naturally occurring organobrominated compounds in fish oil dietary supplements". Environmental Science & Technology 41 (15): 5237–44. doi:10.1021/es070239g. PMID 17822085.
- Krill Oil Makes a Splash. Chris Mohr. Supplements A to Z. 2001
- The Antarctic Krill Conservation Project
- "Home Page – CCAMLR". Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- "Krill oil sustainability". Wellwise. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
- Venkatraman JT, Chandrasekar B, Kim JD, Fernandes G (August 1994). "Effects of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids on the activities and expression of hepatic antioxidant enzymes in autoimmune-prone NZBxNZW F1 mice". Lipids 29 (8): 561–8. doi:10.1007/BF02536628. PMID 7990663.
- Bunea R, El Farrah K, Deutsch L. (2004). "Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia". Altern Med Rev 9 (4): 420–8. PMID 15656713.