Krill oil is oil from a tiny, shrimp-like animal. Baleen whales, mantas, and whale sharks eat primarily krill. In Norwegian, the word "krill" means "whale food." People extract the oil from krill, place it in capsules, and use it for medicine.

Krill oil is used for dry eye disease, heart disease, high levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia), and high levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia), but there is limited scientific research to support these uses.

How does it work ?

Krill oil contains fatty acids similar to fish oil. These fats are thought to decrease swelling, lower cholesterol, and make blood platelets less sticky. When blood platelets are less sticky, they are less likely to form clots.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Dry eye. Research shows that taking krill oil by mouth for about 3 months improves symptoms of dry eye such as redness and unstable tear film.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Some research shows that taking krill oil reduces total cholesterol and LDL ("bad" or low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and increases HDL ("good" or high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in people with high cholesterol. Triglycerides, another type of blood fat, are also reduced. But not all research agrees.
  • High levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia). . Taking krill oil twice daily for 12 weeks appears to lower triglycerides in people with high triglyceride levels. But the change in triglyceride levels is smaller for some people.
  • Osteoarthritis. Early research shows that taking krill oil 300 mg per day reduces pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Early research shows that taking krill oil 2 grams per day might reduce PMS symptoms.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research shows that taking krill oil 300 mg per day reduces pain and stiffness in people with RA.
  • Aging skin.
  • Cancer.
  • Depression.
  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
  • Stroke.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of krill oil for these uses.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Krill oil is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when used appropriately for a short amount of time (up to three months). The most common side effects of krill oil include stomach upset, decreased appetite, heartburn, fishy burps, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea. Taking krill oil might also cause facial skin to become oilier or to break out.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if krill oil is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Because krill oil can slow blood clotting, there is concern that it might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Until more is known, people with such conditions should use krill oil cautiously.

Diabetes: Krill oil might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use krill oil.

Seafood allergy: Some people who are allergic to seafood might also be allergic to krill oil supplements. There is no reliable information showing how likely people with seafood allergy are to have an allergic reaction to krill oil; however, until more is known, avoid using krill oil or use it cautiously if you have a seafood allergy.

Surgery: Because krill oil can slow blood clotting, there is concern that it might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using krill oil at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs interacts with KRILL OIL

    Krill oil might slow blood clotting. Taking krill oil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

    Minor Interaction

    Be watchful with this combination

  • Orlistat (Xenical, Alli) interacts with KRILL OIL

    Orlistat (Xenical, Alli) is used for weight loss. It prevents dietary fats from being absorbed from the gut. There is some concern that orlistat (Xenical, Alli) might also decrease absorption of krill oil when they are taken together. To avoid this potential interaction take orlistat (Xenical, Alli) and krill oil at least 2 hours apart.



  • For dry eye: Krill oil (Nutra-Life OceanClean red krill oil) providing 945 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 510 mg of docosahexaenoic acid daily for 90 days has been used.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.