Flaxseed oil and fish oil are two various oils, the common feature of which is unsaturated fat content known as omega-3 essential fatty acids. These supplements possess similar mechanisms and in case of overdose cause potentially serious and almost equal side effects. What supplement to choose: flaxseed oil or fish oil?
Fish oil and flaxseed oil have different nutritional data, which result in different benefits for the health. Talk to your doctor before adding flaxseed oil or fish oil to your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids content
When we consider the question of fish oil vs flaxseed oil, we should compare the amount of omega-3 fatty acids they contain.
Fish oil as well as flaxseed oil is highly rich in omega-3 fatty acids but their types are different. Alpha-linolenic acid ALA is found in flaxseed oil, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It is called the essential fatty acid, which cannot be synthesized in the body. We need to receive it from nutrition. Then the body converts it into eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA. However, this conversion may be very inefficient and sometimes due to people’s bad habits or health conditions the body encounters difficulties to modify ALA. Fish oil already has EPA and DHA acids.
SEE ALSO: Flaxseed Oil Benefits for Women
The main benefits of EPA and DHA
The University of Maryland Medical Center lists the following effects of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Prevention of heart disease by lessening triglycerides level in the blood and suppressing atherosclerosis;
- Anti-inflammatory effect;
- Relieving depression;
- Essential element for infants’ brain development.
Nutritional profiles: flaxseed oil vs fish oil
The composition of flaxseed oil can be different depending on the grade and type of oil. Commonly flaxseed oil is 100 percent fat. According to SelfNutritionData, it contains 9.4 percent of saturated fat, 66 percent polyunsaturated and 20.2 percent of monounsaturated fat. There is no protein, dietary fiber or carbohydrates in flaxseed oil and 2.4 mg of vitamin E in one tablespoon. You receive 120 calories from every tablespoon of flaxseed oil.
Fish oil is 100 percent fat as well. SelfNutritionData defines, that cod liver oil, as a type of fish oil, contains 22.6 percent of saturated fat, 22.6 percent polyunsaturated and 46.7 percent of monounsaturated fat. There are 123 calories in a tablespoon of cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is also rich in vitamins A and D.
Flaxseed oil or fish oil?
Experts admit that the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids come mostly from EPA and DHA, not ALA. In this case, fish oil is preferable to flaxseed oil. However, flaxseed oil is appealing to people allergic to fish or strict vegetarians. People who worry about contaminants in fish oil may consume flaxseed oil instead. Moreover, flaxseed oil is converted not only to EPA and DHA, but also to other beneficial fatty acids.
SEE ALSO: Fish Oil and Weight Loss
Flaxseed oil and fish oil taken together
Taken into account the differences of fish oil and flaxseed oil you may ask the question: “Can I take fish oil and flaxseed oil together?” These oils possess the same type of fatty acids – omega-3. So they can be taken together although it is necessary to calculate the right amount of them not to have an overdose. Large amounts of oil can lead to an upset stomach, excess bleeding, diarrhea and other side effects of omega-3 fatty acids.
Recommended daily consumption
The Food and Nutrition Board in the United States has established the recommended daily intake for ALA equal to 1.6 g for men and 1.1 g for women. According to the recommendations of the American Heart Association given in the official Dietary Guidelines, healthy people should eat two fatty fish servings per week, which is equal to 250-300 mg of EPA and DHA per day, while individuals with heart disease should consume daily 900 mg of EPA plus DHA.