There has been an ongoing debate to determine the winner in the battle of flaxseed oil vs fish oil; in order to choose the winner between the two, one has to take into consideration the type of omega 3 fatty acid contained in each of them. Hence it is important to note that there are basically four types of omega 3 fatty acids namely, DHA, EPA, DPA and ALA; there has not been much research done on DPA yet so this article will focus on the other three.
Flax seed oil also known as linseed oil is generally used in the production of oil paints; it is also used as natural varnish for wood finishing (to give the wood surface some sheen). However the smell is quite offensive. Linseed oil may be good as a natural ingredient for paint and wood varnish, but the question is, 'Is it a good source of omega 3 fatty acids?'
Flaxseed oil is a plant based source of omega 3; some other plant based sources of omega 3 fatty acids are vegetables such as soybeans, tofu, cauliflower, broccoli and green beans. Other sources are hemp seeds, oregano and canola oil.
When comparing flax seed oil vs fish oil you need to understand that the basic difference between the two is that while fishoil contains DHA, EPA, linseed oil just like any other plant based source of omega 3 contains ALA. DHA has been proven to be responsible for the growth and development of the human brain; 60% of the brain is actually made up of fatty acids and half of that fat is DHA. Hence DHA is the most important of them all; DHA deficiency could lead to a lot of health problems such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, Alzheimer's disease and ADHD.
EPA follows DHA in order of importance because, DHA can be converted to EPA but the reverse is not possible. Now this is where the debate on flaxseed oil vs fish oil gets interesting; ALA which is the type of omega 3 contained in linseed must first be converted to EPA and DHA before it could be used by the human body. However the problem is that the conversion of ALA to EPA is restricted and converting it to DHA is even much more restricted. More over only a little above 50% of a linseed fatty acid is long-chain omega-3 poly unsaturated fatty acids; it also contains saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
DHA and EPA are generally found in fish and marine algae, so if you are a vegetarian, your best bet at getting the DHA and EPA omega 3 fatty acids your body needs is to take supplements manufactured with marine algae.
Now that you know that fishoil is the winner in the battle between flaxseed oil vs fish oil; make sure that you buy only molecularly distilled supplements that are rich in DHA (at least 280mg per capsule) and EPA.
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