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Why Is The Omega-3 In Fish Oil Different 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 has an advantage over flax that you need to know about.

Essential fatty acids are 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. Therefore, it’s up to you to include these essential fatty acids (EFAs) in your diet each day IF you want to prevent and reverse 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 from heart disease
  • Boost mood/Aid depression
  • Benefit ADD/ADHD addiction and agression disorders
  • Decrease cholesterol
  • Lower 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.

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 (done by the fish FOR us!). This conversion (of the Omega 3 in flax) to EPA and DHA requires an enzyme that may be deficient in some individuals. This enzyme is commonly deficient among individuals experiening the following symptoms below. The lack of the enzyme may be hereditary and also may be due to a diet high in sugar or alcohol.

Men should be aware that some studies show that increased intake of flaxseed oil could encourage the growth of prostate cancer. This not the case with fish oil.

Omega-3 Fish Oil supplementation can help with many health conditions, like:
  • Alzheimer's
  • Heart disease
  • Colon Cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • ADD and ADHD
  • Asthma
  • Psoriasis
  • PMS
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 wild Alaskan salmon and other fresh fish.

If you’re not crazy about fish, you can still get the health benefits of omega-3 with a high quality fish oil supplement.

How to Avoid “Fish Burps” (from supplements)

Taking your fish oil supplements BEFORE meals is one suggestion. The other is to take advantage of the many flavored emulsified products on the market such as Coromega. It is available in a “pudding” so no capsules need to be swallowed. It tastes great with no fishy taste. This is great for kids and adults!

Scientific Resources:

1 Weil, Andrew, “Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6,” DrWeil.com. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA400149
2 Essential Fatty Acids, Linus Pauling Institute. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/omega3fa/
3 DrWeil.com
4 Meyers, Charles, “Alpha Linolenic Acid,” ProstateForum.com. http://www.prostateforum.com/Flaxseedoil.pdf