- Both are polyunsaturated fatty acids
- They are ‘essential fatty acids’ which means humans need to consume them through their diet because the body can’t make it.
- Important Omega-3’s include
- alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Omega-3’s help reduce inflammation in the entire body.
- EPA and DHA are extremely beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease in humans (reduces triglycerides, heart rate, blood pressure and atherosclerosis).
- ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA within the body, but not very efficiently (5% or so). ALA itself doesn’t have the same cardiovascular effects unless it is converted to EPA or DHA.
- A great source of EPA and DHA.
- Fish oil is typically made from salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines (richest sources) – consuming the whole fish works well too!
- The fish don’t make the omega-3 themselves, they get it from their diet of algae (we can’t make it ourselves either!)
- Very beneficial in improving your cardiovascular profile and preventing cardiovascular disease among so many other things!
- A vegetarian source of ALA
- Contains one of the highest levels of ALA among vegetable oils (roughly 50-60%) - compared to hemp oil, olive oil, soybean oil, etc. [Chia seed oil contains slightly more ALA than flax oil].
- ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, but not very efficiently. Supplementation will elevate your total omega-3’s in the body, but it will take significantly more flax oil than fish oil to get adequate EPA and DHA levels.
If you are looking to include healthy omega-3 fats in your diet, high quality fish or flax oil are great. If you are looking to decrease your cardiovascular risk, stick to fish oil for maximum benefit.