Does Krill Oil Have Any Unwanted Side Effects?

There is a strong case to make for the health benefits of Krill Oil. It is a strong source of natural antioxidants, as well as a bio available source of omega three fatty acids. These compounds are linked to maintaining healthy function in your heart, liver, vascular system, muscles and joints. However, there is one factor that puts people off more than any other: fishy burps. That's right, fishy burps.Not many of even the most avid seafood fans appreciate the distinctive smell of fish, and many fish oil supplements are notorious for causing the most rancid fishy burps. Naturally, most people are quite keen to avoid this.

What Causes Fishy Burps?

To answer this question we need to explain why fish smells like fish, or, more accurately, why dead fish smells the way it does? Any fisherman will confirm that living fish don't smell too bad. It is when they die that the problem starts, and this is all to do with certain amine compounds. The gut and scales of fish contain high levels of Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), an organic amine compound which, in life, helps the fish to metabolise cholesterol and reduce oxidative stress. Very soon after death, a combination of gut bacteria and enzymes start converting TMAO into simple Trimethylamine(TMA). It is the TMA amines that are the source of the characteristic fishy odour that we all know and love from trips to the seaside as a children. If these compounds (which are water-soluble) are not adequately removed from fish oil supplements, then they will be ingested along with the supplement in highly concentrated form. In many people this induces a mild digestive reaction. TMA is entirely harmless. The worst side effect you will get is a little bit of wind and the occasional burp. However, the gassy burps themselves release quantities of the free-floating TMA, giving off an unpleasant fishy odour. There is another issue. Triglycerides, which are the main source of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil (but not Krill Oil - see below) also contain bonded TMAO/TMA. This too is released as gas when the compound is broken down in the stomach. Hence the problem.

How To Avoid Fishy Burp Syndrome

So now to return to the question raised in the article title. Does Krill Oil cause fishy burps? In some cases, unfortunately yes, but this is far less of a problem than with other fish oils (e.g. cod-liver oil), and with some Krill Oil brands the problem is non-existent. It all comes down to the manufacturing process. Let us explain:

  • Fish oils are refined from liquid fish biomass and then filtered to isolate the oils. Only triglycerides survive this process, as the more delicate phospholipids are lost. Fishy burps are therefore always a risk with fish oils.
  • Krill Oil is steam extracted from Krill biomass at lower temperatures. This preserves not only the triglycerides, but also the phospholipid compounds, which are the main source of omega-3 fatty acids in Krill Oil. This is an important distinction, as, unlike triglycerides, phospholipids survive the stomach intact and are metabolised in the lower intestine, a safe distance away from the gullet and mouth.

So there is less of a risk of fishy burps with Krill Oil, but as there are still some triglycerides, some people still experience the symptoms. However, after researching several of the leading brands, we came across K.Real®, and were impressed both with its level of purity and also by the almost total absence of unwanted side effects. This is because K.Real® uses a multistage extraction process which strips out all the triglycerides and water borne amines, eliminating both sources of fishy burps. At the same time, the extended process improves the stability of the phospholipid compounds, making them easier to absorb by your body. You therefore get more of the benefits of Krill Oil, without any of the traditional side effects.

Try Our K.Real® Krill Oil Capsules

If you have been put off cod-liver oil supplements by unwanted side-effects in the past, why not try our Krill Oil capsules? These supplements are a fantastic source of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, come with no side effects and are much lower in sodium than other competing brands. Supplements are available in 500 mg capsules, in packets of either 60 or 180. Click here to place your order online.