Omega 3 Fatty Acids From Fish or From Plants?

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Are all omega 3‘s created equal? Is there any difference between plant-derived omega 3 and those which come from fish oils?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you can easily be taken for a ride, so you better learn the ABCs of omega 3 fast! It’s the only way to make sure that you’re getting what your body needs for continued optimum nutrition.

Due to aggressive marketing campaigns, many people believe that omega 3 fatty acids derived from plant sources such as flaxseed, primrose and borage give the same results as those that come from fish oil. But this is simply not quite true.

Marketers of omega 3 plant oils conveniently forget to mention that their products do not contain EPA and DHA, the omega 3s responsible for some of the most outstanding properties of the oil. These omega 3s are only found in cold deep water fishes such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring. Are you now starting to see the difference?

Studies also show that these omega 3s in fish oil are more biologically potent than alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in flaxseed, primrose and borage oil.(1) What it means is that your body uses EPA and DHA from fish oils much more efficiently than the omega 3s from ALA. How can that be?

Well, you need to know that ALA is mainly a precursor to DHA and EPA. If everything is working optimally in the body, the ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA. However, studies show that only 0.05% of the total ALA consumed from plant sources will eventually be converted into EPA and DHA. 99.95% will simply go to waste. So, it is simply not possible to consume enough flaxseed oil to provide for your body’s requirements of these two essential fatty acids.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proved this point. A group of people were given 15,000 mg of flaxseed oil (ALA) daily. At the end of 12 weeks, the EPA and DHA levels in their bloods were measured. Not one of the participants showed an increase in EPA and DHA within their blood plasma or red blood cells.(2)

On the other hand, the regular consumption of fish oil such as those coming from salmon, resulted in an immediate increase of blood plasma EPA and DHA. In fact, even eating a mere 4-ounce serving of salmon can do your body a lot of good, in terms of EPA and DHA!

And here’s something you probably don’t know about flaxseed oil – it is the same as linseed oil. You’re right, it’s the same one as those used in oil paints, varnish, polishes, wood preservers, and caulks. Why the name change? It’s because the marketers knew that most people wouldn’t consider taking it if they knew where it’s being used.

Now that you know the facts, would you still consider taking flaxseed oil or go for something that will yield immediate results such as Salmon Oil Plus, the best omega 3 fish oil supplement on the market today? It’s your call. I hope you make the right choice.

1. JACN (Journal of the American College of Nutrition), Vol. 21, No. 6, 495-505 (2002)
2. AJCN (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition), Vol. 77: 226-233 (2003)

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