Health Library Home>Natural & Alternative Treatments>Herbs & Supplements>Article

Krill Oil


Krill oil is oil that comes from small ocean crustaceans called krill. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids. It has been used to lower cholesterol, ease joint pain, and boost brain function. It can be taken as a capsule.


1 to 3 grams daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • High Cholesterol —likely to raise HDL (“good”) and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol B1, B2

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Dry eye disease A1
  • Knee pain C1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take krill oil for a short time.D1 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period or by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • People with shellfish allergies should not take krill oil. It may cause a reaction.


A. Dry Eye Disease

A1. Deinema LA, Vingrys AJ, et al. A Randomized, Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Two Forms of Omega-3 Supplements for Treating Dry Eye Disease. Ophthalmology. 2017 Jan;124(1):43-52.

B. High Cholesterol

B1. Berge K, Musa-Veloso K, et al. Krill oil supplementation lowers serum triglycerides without increasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in adults with borderline high or high triglyceride levels. Nutr Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):126-133.

B2. Ursoniu S, Sahebkar A, et al. Lipid-modifying effects of frill oil in humans: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Rev. 2017;75(5):361-373.

C. Knee Pain

C1. Suzuki Y, Fukushima M, et al. Krill Oil Improves Mild Knee Joint Pain: A Randomized Control Trial. PLoS One. 2016 Oct 4;11(10):e0162769.

D. Safety

D1. Sarkkinen ES, Savolainen MJ, et al. Prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study on safety and tolerability of the krill powder product in overweight subjects with moderately elevated blood pressure. Lipids Health Dis. 2018 Dec 20;17(1):287.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 5/27/2020