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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Which is better - flax or fish?

(This is an article from my principal supplier of flax seed oil: Waihi Bush of Geraldine in the South Island)

We are often asked this question by consumers as fish oil companies confuse the issue by directly comparing flax and fish oils.

Their argument is that fish oils directly deliver the long chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, whereas the Omega-3s in flax seed oil need to undergo conversion in the body to the long-chain Omega-3s

However, a number of points are being missed with this argument...

It assumes that the Omega-3 essential fatty acid in flax seed oil, alpha linoleic acid (ALA), does not have functions of its own in the body. We know, however, that as well as being converted to the longer chain Omega-3s ALA is also important for energy production and as a structural element in healthy cell membranes.

Waihi Bush organic farm have developed two unique oil blends that address the issue that conversion to long-chain Omega-3s may be inefficient in some individuals. Our unique flax boost and flax magic blends contain blackcurrant seed oil, which contains the secondary Omega-3 stearidonic acid. This by-passes the first step in the conversion process.

Flax seed oil contains Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids too - making it a more balanced source of essential fatty acids than fish oil. Our unique flax boost and flax magic blends also contain the secondary Omega-6 gamma linolenic acid, providing a very broad fatty acid profile.

Both blackcurrant seed oil and fish contain secondary Omega-3's, which means the body does not need to make the conversion from primary to secondary Omega-3. Blackcurrant seed oil also has secondary Omega-6 as does borage seed oil. These ingredients are found in our flax boost and flax magic products.

Our flax is grown organically, is free of pesticides and other toxins so no concerns about contamination with dioxins, PCBs or heavy metals

  • Flax is a sustainably farmed and depletes no resources

  • Flax seed oil is a vegetarian source of Omega-3

  • Flax seed oil is less fragile than fish oils, which oxidize extremely readily.

  • Furthermore, we handle our products with special care to protect their integrity

The flax seed used to create our products is grown here in New Zealand and all manufacturing is done in New Zealand too

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