Flax Seed vs. Fish Oil

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Flax Seed vs. Fish OilHealth professionals agree that supplementing your diet with omega-3 fats is essential for optimal health. But which is the best source: flax seed or fish oil?

In order to decide which is best, we need to answer the following questions. First, which type of omega-3 fat is the most beneficial to our health? And second, which source provides the most beneficial type?

The Most Beneficial Type of Omega-3 Fats

The number of health benefits attributed to omega-3 fats continues to grow almost on a daily basis. Omega-3 fats have been shown to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve skin tone and color
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Improve mood, sleep, and energy levels

Laboratory and clinical research from around the world overwhelmingly identifies the longer chain omega-3 fats, like DHA and EPA, as the most beneficial.

The Best Source of Long-Chain Omega-3 Fats

Fish oil supplements are the best source for long-chain omega-3 fats. Plant-based sources, like flax seed, consists only of a short-chain omega-3 fat called linolenic acid.

To obtain the full health benefits from flax seed, the human body converts the linolenic acid into the longer chained DHA and EPA. Why not skip the necessary conversion and just give yourself the long-chained omega-3 fats?

The Final Verdict

Life Extension supports fish oil as your best bet for benefiting from omega-3 fats!



Bill said...

Hi Mike,
Nice summary - I'd only add that very little dietary linolenate makes it to EPA and virtually none ends up as DHA. So yeah, if it's fish oils you want, vegetable oils won't suffice.
all best,

LifeExtension said...

Bill - Thanks for the feedback. :)

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