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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Which Omega 3 oil is best - flax or fish oil?

I was interested to read articles in the Sunday Times and Listener over the holidays about Omega 3. One seemed to suggest we should reduce seed oil intake (flax?) as this affected the bodies use of omega 3 from fish sources, or affected some balance. At the time I was staying at Kaka Point in South Otago and getting a regular supply of muscles off the rocks. Have you any comments about the relationship between Omega 3 sourced from fish and omega sourced from seed oils?"

Gary Moller comments:
Good question Brian: Without seeing the article in question, I can not be sure where the writer is coming from. However, I will make some observations.

While there are some differences between the fish and plant sources of omega 3 each have their nutritional merits. The body loves variety and I would suggest a mix of oils rather than one source alone. If you worry that one may interfere with the other, then take one for a few days and then switch. Variety is the spice of life!

I do have a preference for flax oil (Waihi Bush) because it is grown organically in North Otago and no happy little fishes died in its production.

Why does fish oil get all the good publicity and flax oil next to nothing? Well its a bit like sports drink or bottled water - or coffee and chocolate for that matter. There is big bucks in these products, including those of the fishing industry. These industries have the clout to buy favourable research and to get it published in the popular media. We do not get to hear of the young women who are hospitalised from drinking too much bottled water do we or, the Iron Man who ended up requiring intensive care resuscitation after flushing his body with a gallon of sports drink? We hear little about the addictions to coffee or the severe migraines from too much chocolate.

Flax oil is very good for you. It is great for a long list of health conditions. For example; if you have poor skin, eczema or psoriasis then flax oil may clear it altogether when used correctly.

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1 comment:

Wayne said...

the omega three oil from vegetable sources needs to be converted in the body to DHA to be used as needed by the body.
the omega three in fish is already DHA
the conversion process from vegetable oil is very inefficient, in some cases as low as 8% gets converted to DHA at best 20%,
on a volume by volume basis you get a far bigger bang for your buck from fish oil.
and if you think salmon is good for omega three think again. most of our salmon is from farmed salmon which can be fed a different diet from the natural diet which results in a far lower omega 3 content.