Many people compare flaxseed oil vs. fish oil because they want to know what the difference is between the two and which provides more nutritional benefit to the body.
Both omega oils are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. However, whereas fish oil is derived from the fatty tissues of fish, flaxseed oil is derived from the flax plant, a native plant of Canada. Flaxseed oil is commonly used by vegans who cannot eat fish meat.Another difference between these two is the kind of omega 3 fatty acid content of these oils. Omega 3 fatty acids contain three essential ingredients: Alpha Linolenic acid (ALA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The most important among the three is DHA, because it is the main actor in improving the immune and circulatory systems. Whereas flaxseed oil is rich in ALA, fish oil is rich in both DHA and EPA. This is why fish oil is a richer source of nutrition than flaxseed oil.
Flaxseed Oil vs Fish Oil – Benefits and Side Effects
Although the ALA content in flaxseed oil can be converted into DHA, this conversion process will require a high dose of flaxseed oil intake. However, a high dosage is not advisable since too much flaxseed oil will loosen the stool and upset the stomach. There are also Omega 3 supplements from algae available that contain DHA and are suitable for vegans, vegetarians or people looking to avoid mercury from fish oil (such as expecting women).
One suggestion is to mix the fish oil and the flaxseed oil together so as to get all the nutrients of each capsule. Fortunately, there is no reported side effect in doing this. Here are some of thebenefits of fish oil and flaxseed oil together:
- Cures Skin Problems – Flaxseed oil is recommended for those suffering from eczema, acne, and other skin diseases, which are caused by a lack of Omega 3 in the body. Fish oil, on the other hand, gives the skin a natural glow and prevents the appearance of wrinkles, even if it does not directly cure pimples.
- Prevents Colon, Breast, and Prostate Cancer – Both omega oils are proven to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the body.
- Strengthens the Circulatory System – Fish oil improves blood circulation and regulates heart rate, thereby retaining normal blood pressure and low cholesterol.
- Removes Stress – The complete Omega 3 content derived from both flaxseed oil and fish oil will remove symptoms of stress in your body.
- Loosens the Bowel – Drinking flaxseed oil has the additional benefit of cleaning your intestines and stimulating excretion of waste matter. This oil is also rich in fibre and protein, in contrast to fish oil.
Other Kinds of Omega Oil – The Benefits of Each
Apart from the debate between flaxseed oil and fish oil, many people are wondering about the difference of other omega oils that similarly provide the same omega 3 fatty acids. Here is a list of the unique characteristic of each:
- 1. Krill oil – Similar to any fish oil, krill oil is rich in both EPA and DHA. Only the form is different. The EPA and DHA in krill oil are easily absorbed by the body and promotes in building human tissues. This makes it an effective anti-inflammatory remedy, relieving dysmenorrhoea and other pains caused by rheumatism and arthritis.
- Salmon fish oil – Salmon fish oil is famous for being commonly higher in EPA and DHA content than other fish oils, although one can get other nutrients from these other omega oils in contrast to just using salmon fish oil.
- DHA fish oil – Since DHA is the most important omega 3 fatty acid, this kind of vitamin is highly concentrated in DHA. The main difference between this and other types of fish oils is the kind of fish used. Here, fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and Hoki, a native fish of New Zealand, are the main sources.
- Cod liver oil – This is the original form of fish oil, used as far back as in old England. Whereas the normal fish oil is derived from the fatty tissues of fish, cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of cod fish. Fish oil, being derived from fat, contains more EPA and DHA than cod liver oil.
Deciding which kind of omega oil is the best will depend on each person’s needs. If you are only after the EPA and DHA content, then you can take salmon fish oil or DHA fish oil alone. If you want the full package, then taking in both flaxseed oil and fish oil might be a good idea. At the end of the day, there is no use debating about flaxseed oil vs. fish oil, because their characteristics are more complementary than adversarial.