You Asked, We Answer: Why is the Omega-3 in Fish Oil Different and Superior to the Omega-3 in Flax?
Fish oil or flaxseed oil? All sources of omega-3 fatty acids are NOT the same. You need heart healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids at every stage of life, but fish oil is superior to flax.
We’ve received a lot of questions lately about essential fatty acids, the fats that your body needs for good health but can’t produce on its own.
They’re called essential because they are essential for good health but are not manufactured by your body.
So it’s up to you to include these essential fatty acids (EFAs) in your diet each day IF you want to prevent many of the dis-orders of imbalance that we call “disease”.
The health of every cell in your body and your brain, nervous system, digestive system, heart, blood pressure, circulatory system, endocrine system and vision all depend on you eating a wide variety of essential fatty acids throughout the week.
Omega-3 and omega-6 are two of the main types of unsaturated essential fatty acids.
Many Americans take in an abundance of omega-6, especially from refined vegetable oils and nuts and seeds, and not nearly enough omega-3 EFAs from fish, fish oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil.
Many health experts are now in agreement that the omega-3 to omega-6 imbalance is contributing to the widespread inflammation and disease that plagues our nation.
Fortunately, increasing your omega-3 intake has been shown to prevent disease and help you feel healthier.
Intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to:
- Decrease inflammation
- Relieve joint pain
- Protect you from heart disease
- Boost your mood
- Decrease your cholesterol
- Lower your blood pressure
As you can see, omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential for good health, while increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids may actually cause more inflammation in your body and result in conditions like cancer, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s.
Omega-3 Fish Oil supplementation can help with many health conditions, like:
- Heart disease
- Colon Cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- ADD and ADHD
The Truth About Omega-3
Supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids is essential for good health, but all omega-3 sources are not the same!
Omega-3 fatty acids can be divided into 3 main types:
- EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
- ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)
You can find EPA and DHA in oily fish and fish oil supplements while flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are the best sources of ALA.
EPA and DHA from fish oil are better sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids than the ALA in flaxseed oil. ALA is a “precursor” to omega-3; your body takes the ALA and then must turn it into more useable EPA and DHA that is already available in fish. In otherwords, there is no further conversion needed with fish oil…it is already there.
Besides the ALA not being readily useable, there are other reasons fish oil may be superior to flaxseed oil.
While fish oil supplements have no serious side effects, there have been some reports of allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock with the consumption of flax and flaxseed oil.
Men, too, should take care when deciding which omega-3 source to use. Some studies show that increased intake of flaxseed oil could encourage the growth of prostate cancer.
So if you want safe, useable, healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, fish and fish oil supplements are a more certain and perhaps safer bet.
The Best Sources of Omega-3 Rich Fish and Fish Oil
If you want to include healthy fish in your diet, be sure to read our exclusive report: The Fish You Can Eat, The Fish You Should Definitely Avoid.
When it comes to fish oil, we recommend a high quality fish oil supplement to get your best source of omega-3. But fish oil supplements are not always convenient, guaranteed safe from heavy metal toxicity, or even that great tasting.
Become a Fan of Fish Oil
When it comes to omega-3 essential fatty acids, it’s important to get your oily fish and fish oil supplements. These sources of omega-3 are easier for your body to assimilate and use than flax.
And when you eat fish, remember the importance of food combining! And remember to only choose the freshest, safest fish free from dangerous toxins, such as this top-recommended wild Alaskan salmon and other fresh fish.
And for your best health, here’s what you need to know to digest fish properly.
If you’re not crazy about fish, you can still get the health benefits of omega-3 with a high quality fish oil supplement, like Mint Chew Bursts. Now everyone can be a fan of fish oil!
- Weil, Andrew, “Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6,” DrWeil.com. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA400149
- Essential Fatty Acids, Linus Pauling Institute. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/omega3fa/
- Meyers, Charles, “Alpha Linolenic Acid,” ProstateForum.com.