Battle of the oils: flaxseed vs. Fish oil
Even those of us who aren’t au fait with every nutrient under the sun, know that omega-3 is important for our health. It’s an unsaturated fatty acid and you’ll find that fish oil and flaxseed are great sources of this wonder food. If you’re wondering how you can get hold of this stuff, you can buy flaxseed oil online, and fish oil too, so it’s pretty easy to get hold of.
Let’s discuss why we even need omega-3 in the first place. It’s really important because it can’t be produced by our bodies so instead, we’ve got to make sure we get this fatty acid from other sources. It supports brain development and function – in fact research suggests that women who took omega-3 while pregnant have babies with a higher IQ than the average baby. It’s also sometimes used by individuals with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). Omega-3 has the ability to support cholesterol levels too, so it’s an all round good egg*.
So, they both do the same thing, but which supplement comes out tops in the omega stakes?
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Fish oil is great because it contains loads of algae: fish eat green algae from the bottom of the ocean, which is full of antioxidants. However, on the flipside, fish are subjected to our polluted oceans. Because fish oil is made from these fish, they’re the last stop for unwanted compounds like mercury, and some people worry that fish contains too high mercury levels. Flaxseed oil is made from a plant, and so doesn’t have this problem. However, any credible food supplements company will ensure that their fish oil products are tested for levels of mercury and other possible contaminants, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much.
People who are suffering from poor health may find it difficult to convert the ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in flaxseed oil into omega-3, whereas in fish oil this has already been converted. Therefore if you’re not in good health you might not get all the benefits of omega-3 from flaxseed oil, making fish oil your number one. On the other hand, if you’re a vegan, then there’s going to be one clear answer – flaxseed.
As you can see from this ‘battle’ of the omegas, there’s a very fine line between deciphering which supplement is better for omega-3. It’s safe to say that either supplement is a fantastic way to ensure your body is getting the omega nutrients it needs – remember; we can’t produce omega-3 on our own, so need all the help we can get from other sources, so hopefully knowing the differences between the two can help you choose which supplement you’d prefer to take.