Calanus Oil

Other Name(s):

Calanus finmarchicus, zooplankton oil.


Calanus oil is a red-colored oil that comes from a type of plankton in the North Seas.

Some people take calanus oil for reducing weight, lowering blood pressure and for heart disease.

How does it work?

Calanus oil contains omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid and eicosopentaenoic acid. It also contains a red pigment called astaxanthin which gives the oil a red color. Research in animals shows that calanus oil might help prevent hardening of the arteries. It might also decrease the size of fat cells in animals. But it is not known if calanus oil has any beneficial effects when consumed by humans.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Weight loss.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of methylpentane for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking calanus oil if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

There isn't enough reliable information available to know if calanus oil is safe or what the side effects might be.


The appropriate dose of calanus oil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for calanus oil. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Calanus AS. Application for the Approval of Calanus Oil as an Ingredient for Use in Food Supplements Pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27th January 1997 Concerning Novel Foods and Novel Food Ingredients. Tromso, Norway. Updated November 10, 2011. [Accessed 8/1/2017]

Eilertsen KE, Mæhre HK, Jensen IJ, et al. A wax ester and astaxanthin-rich extract from the marine copepod Calanus finmarchicus attenuates atherogenesis in female apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. J Nutr. 2012;142(3):508-12. View abstract.

Höper AC, Salma W, Khalid AM, et al. Oil from the marine zooplankton Calanus finmarchicus improves the cardiometabolic phenotype of diet-induced obese mice. Br J Nutr. 2013;110(12):2186-93. View abstract.

Höper AC1, Salma W, Sollie SJ, et al. Wax esters from the marine copepod Calanus finmarchicus reduce diet-induced obesity and obesity-related metabolic disorders in mice. J Nutr. 2014;144(2):164-9. View abstract.

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