Let’s face it. There are probably some of you out there that are a little confused when it comes to the fish oil VS flax seed oil debate over which one is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these sources are beneficial to your health, and they are effective at treating some of the same things. It all comes down to which of these nutritional supplements offers you more overall.
The primary omega-3 fatty acid in flax seed oil is alpha-linolenic acid, which can also be found in fish oil. There are not a lot of plant oils that have a high level of alpha-linolenic acid. Most plant oils are much richer in linolenic acid, which is an omega-6. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compete for positions in cell membranes, and they have very different effects on your health.
Alpha linolenic acid shouldn’t be a figure in the discussion of fish oil VS flax seed oil, because since both have it you are getting the same benefits. What alpha-linolenic acid does is lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. It is still unclear whether the protective effect against cardiac arrhythmia comes from alpha linolenic acid, or from the fatty acids EPA and DHA.
What is known is that both EPA and DHA are factors in treating far more than just cardiovascular disease. They have an effect on allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, visual function, cognitive development, brain function, arthritis, and gout. These two omega-3 fatty acids even play a role in the prevention and treatment of certain types of cancer.
When it comes to the discussion over fish oil VS flax seed oil the supporters of flax oil are always quick to point out that the body can transform alpha-linolenic acid into EPA, and EPA is capable of a metamorphosis into DHA. This series of conversions is far less efficient than simply absorbing the EPA and DHA that is naturally found in fish oil, so to talk about these conversions as though they were a benefit of some kind is a poor argument for flax seed.
One of the other things that flax seed oil has going against it is that it has a very short shelf life. Even when kept under cool conditions this oil only has a few weeks before it becomes rancid. When oil becomes rancid it contributes to the formation of free radicals, and may even become carcinogenic. Do you really want to take a chance on an oil this highly oxidative?
When it comes down to it the issue of fish oil VS flax seed oil is not even arguable, because the contest is not even remotely close. Forget about flax oil, and get yourself the highest quality fish oil supplement that you can possibly find. There are some companies with very good products out there, but a few of these formulas stand out from the rest.
Now nobody has to be confused over fish oil VS flax seed oil, because it is fish oil by a mile.
Laurel Cohen is a strong advocate of natural health in all its forms: skin care, supplementation, and farm fresh foods. She enjoys introducing people to the best natural products she can find and uses herself daily. Visit her site http://www.omega-3-for-health.com to learn about the omega 3 fish oils Laurel uses daily for optimal health.
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