Flaxseed oil vs fish oil? You hear so much about omega-3 fatty acids, but where do you start if you want to add fish oil or flaxseed oil to your diet? Luckily, when it comes to the question of flaxseed oil vs fish oil there’s a fairly simple answer.
You can ensure the proper intake of omega-3 by taking flaxseed oil or fish oil supplements. Which source should you choose when it comes to flaxseed oil vs fish oil supplements? The answer may surprise you. You may also want to read about perilla oil benefits while we are talking about oils.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning your body can’t naturally make them. But they are essential fats, so your body has to get them from somewhere. And that somewhere is food. There are three primary types of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – found mostly in fish
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – found mostly in fish
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – found in vegetable oils, nuts, flax seeds, leafy veggies, and grass-fed animals.1
Now, your body can actually convert ALA to EPA and then into DHA – but only in small amounts at a time. So, it’s often advised that you get a good mix of all three types of omega-3 fatty acids.2
Why are These Fats So “Essential”?
Well, they’re an important part of the membranes that surround every cell in your body. Omega-3s also support your energy levels, and your overall health, as your body performs critical functions in your heart, blood vessels, and immune system. They could even help with hormone production.3
What Does That Mean For Your Health?
Over the years, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids could be useful in helping keep you sharp as you age, supporting heart health, and keeping your skin and joints comfortable, among other ailments.4
In fact, one study found that up to 96,000 deaths may be attributable to low dietary levels of omega-3 fatty acids.5 Now, let’s take a closer look at those two most popular sources of omega-3 fatty acids…
Fish vs Flaxseed Oil
1. Fish Oil
“Marine Omega-3,” or fish oil, “is derived from cold-water, oily fish. It contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The best (and most sustainable) fish you should focus on for omega-3 benefits include wild-caught salmon, sardines, mussels, rainbow trout, and Atlantic mackerel.6
Or, you can find a good supplement. One major benefit of fish oil’s omega-3 is that it clearly doesn’t need to be converted by your body first. The DHA is ready to go to work immediately.
2. Flaxseed Oil
There are many plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but flaxseed oil is by far one the best, richest sources.7 The issue that flaxseed oil faces is that it’s often seen as the lesser choice to fish oil because it needs to be converted to DHA in your body.
Don’t discount flaxseed oil too quickly. Though only 10-15 percent of flax oil may get converted to EPA and DHA, that still means that one tablespoon will produce around 700 mg of EPA and DHA. And that’s much more than a standard fish oil capsule, which tends to contain around 300 mg.8
Flaxseed oil is still a great source of omega-3, and it’s also a great choice to use as a dressing on salads or vegetables. Plus, it’s the vegetarian Omega-3 option.
Flaxseed Oil Versus Fish Oil — In The End…
Ruling out one to favor the other means you are significantly cutting out an essential nutrient from your diet. If you naturally eat a lot of fatty fish, perhaps you can complement it with some flaxseed oil supplements.
If you love your fish oil capsules, try using flaxseed oil on your salads and veggies. And never rule out eating regular amounts of fatty fish, nuts, and leafy veggies – unless your personal dietary requirements prevent you from doing so.