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Krill Oil & Warfarin

Krill oil, derived from krill, shrimp-like crustacean, contains significant amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids. Red krill are small (4-5 centimeters) shrimp and are the foundation of the oceanic ecosystem, serving as food for certain types of whales and seals, manta rays, whale sharks and a few seabird species.

Although the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil is less than in fish oil products, krill oil contains other health benefits such as phospholipids, antioxidants and vitamins.1

Benefits for fish and krill oil include: improvement to your immune system, joint pain relief, mood and PMS relief, and positive effect on lowering cholesterol, specifically triglycerides. 1

Red krill oil is extracted and sold in capsule form and widely available without a prescription. The product, like fish oil, is classified as a “dietary supplement” and therefore, it is not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for product quality nor do the claims by the manufacturer have to be reviewed or approved by the FDA.

Caution for Warfarin Users

Since krill oil contains the same fatty acids found in fish oil, it might also inhibit platelet aggregation, or blood clotting. As a result, taking high doses of krill oil with warfarin may increase the risk of bleeding.2 It is recommended you discuss the use of red krill oil as well as any new product with your healthcare professional before starting or stopping a new supplement.3

  1. Bottino NR. Lipid composition of two species of Antarctic krill: Euphausia superba and E. crystallorophias. Comp Biochem Physiol B. 1975;50:479-84.
  2. Calder PC. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity: pouring oil on troubled waters or another fishy tale? Nutr Res. 2001;21:309-41.
  3. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. (2009). Medication Guide for Coumadin Tablets and Coumadin for Injection [Package Insert]. Princeton, NJ: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.