According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), more than half of all Americans take dietary supplements daily, but when you’re already maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, it can be difficult to determine which supplements are right for you. There’s been a recent growth in popularity of the supplement, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and also a conflation of this supplement with Omega-3 from fish oil or krill oil. So, what’s the difference between Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and Omega-3 from fish oil or krill oil, and why might you want to include them in your healthy lifestyle regimen?
What is CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant made by the body naturally. It plays a role in cellular energy production within the mitochondria, the power plant of cells where oxygen is utilized to generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate). A CoQ10 supplement is commonly used to support heart and vascular health. However, some evidence suggests that CoQ10 may also promote overall health by protecting against free radicals that damage DNA and slow aging processes.
What are Omega-3s?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that your body can't make on its own. Omega-3s support whole-body health and are essential for brain function and development, eyesight, and heart health. They can also help reduce inflammation in the body, support cellular repair and maintain internal immune defense systems.
Fatty fish like salmon are the best sources of the EPA and DHA (two types of Omega-3 fatty acids your body needs). People who cannot add more fish to their diet usually consider Omega-3 supplements. Two options are fish oil and krill oil supplements. Krill oil is an Omega-3-rich oil that comes from krill, tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the cold ocean waters surrounding Antarctica.
Difference Between Krill Oil vs Fish Oil?
It’s true that both krill oil and fish oil both deliver valuable Omega-3s to your body (nutrients that the body cannot make on its own).
Krill oil is, however, arguably superior to fish oil for a variety of reasons. Krill oil is easily absorbed by the body because it delivers Omega-3s in a mix of phospholipids and triglycerides whereas fish oils lose the phospholipids during processing. Krill oil also contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant, and choline, a compound and essential nutrient that supports the brain, healthy cell function, DNA synthesis, nervous system functioning, and metabolism.
Importance of CoQ10 and Omega-3 Fish or Krill Oil
CoQ10 and Omega-3 fish oil or krill oil both contain essential nutrients your body needs to function properly. Both nutrients are found in foods and can also be ingested as supplements. However, they have different bodily functions and may provide different benefits for different people.
The body uses CoQ10 to produce energy. CoQ10 is essential for heart health, but it also may have anti-aging benefits, boost immune function, and support normal brain function.
Omega-3s are vital for cardiovascular health and proper brain function. They may also help regulate inflammation throughout the body and support eye, skin, immune health, and joint function.
Is CoQ10 the Same as Fish Oil or Krill Oil?
No, CoQ10 is not the same as fish oil or krill oil.
Fish oil or krill oil contain two Omega-3s, EPA and DHA. These Omega-3 fatty acids support heart health, your immune system, joint health, eye development, and skin health as well. Most Omega-3 fatty acids are fats the body can't make on its own and must be ingested through whole foods like salmon or supplemented with a fish oil or krill oil supplement. The body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA, although this process is not efficient.
Coenzyme Q10 is a substance formed naturally by the body and found in every cell of our bodies, but the body’s production of CoQ10 decreases with age, therefore, many people turn to supplements to add CoQ10 to an already healthy diet.
Heart Health Support: CoQ10, Fish Oil, Krill Oil?
Krill oil, fish oil and CoQ10 are all great for the heart, but they work in different ways. Krill oil and fish oil are rich in two long-chain polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), which may support normal triglycerides levels, maintain ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL), support normal circulation and heart rhythm, and support already normal blood pressure (when given or consumed at high enough levels).
CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant that helps convert food into energy and supports heart health by protecting cells from free radical damage.
Sources & Dosage of Omega-3
The best sources of Omega-3s fish oil are fatty fish, including wild salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines.
The recommended daily intake for Omega-3s is 250-500 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day for healthy adults. However, for those who don't eat fish regularly or take other supplements containing Omega-3s, a supplement may be needed to get the proper amount in your diet.
Sources & Dosage of CoQ10
Food sources of CoQ10 include leafy green vegetables, fish, and nuts. But the amount of CoQ10 naturally found in these foods isn’t enough to increase the amount of the antioxidant in your body.
The recommended dose of a CoQ10 supplement is between 90-200 milligrams per day, though the needs of an individual may vary depending on the condition being treated and overall health needs.
CoQ10 absorption varies from person to person and from product to product. Some products have better bioavailability than others and may be more effective at raising blood levels of CoQ10.
Difference Between CoQ10 and Fish Oil or Krill Oil
CoQ10 and fish oil or krill oil both have been shown through studies to support overall body health but in very different ways. When choosing a supplement, consider your diet, lifestyle, and goals for whole-body health.