What are the best omega-3 supplements? There are many on the market including flaxseed oil vs fish oil. In recent years scientists have been pivoting away from the idea that all fat is unhealthy. This has encouraged many consumers to focus on foods like fatty fish, avocados, and nuts/seeds. When you’re in a hurry or don’t have access to cooking facilities then dietary supplements can add extra healthy fats to your diet. Fish oil and krill oil have been some of the most popular options. However, flaxseeds have also been trending in recent years as a go-to food for diets like Keto, Atkins, and Paleo.
There’s no question it’s a good idea to consume more omega-3s. That’s because they can provide several health benefits including heart health and brain function. These fat sources can also help with other body functions that are critical for day-to-day life. Fun Fact: The US dietary supplement market grew to over $42.6 billion. You have lots of options if you want to use omega-3 supplements. The key is to find the best products that meet your dietary needs. This can seem tough with all the options including fish/krill or flax/chia seed supplements. We’ll help you sort things out.
What Is Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseeds have been trending in recent years due to their health benefits and a green light for several diet programs. They can be used as a thickening ingredient or substitute for wheat flour when doing low-carb baking.
Different oils are made from plant sources. One is used for manufacturing and the other is used for diets. The healthy oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that are one of the “good fats.”
It’s also used as a type of natural medicine. It’s sometimes used to treat different health conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- High cholesterol
- High blood fat
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes (ulcers)
The seed’s oil has various fatty acids that seem to lower inflammation. It’s believed that’s why it might be effective in treating various inflammatory diseases like RA, which involve swelling.
Studies show that it might be effective for:
1. Diabetes (foot sores)
Some studies reveal that flaxseed oil supplements taken 2x every day for 12 weeks could help to heal diabetes patients’ foot ulcers at a faster rate.
Some studies show that the seed’s oil might help to lower cancer cell growth. One animal study showed that mice that were given the oil for over a month had less risk of cancer tumors and their cancer spreading. Another study showed that oil could help block colon cancer cells in mice.
3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Some studies show that adding flaxseed oil 2x daily to the wrist for a month can help to reduce symptoms and improve wrist function among people with CTS who are using wrist splints at nighttime.
4. Heart Health
One of the top possible benefits of flaxseed oil is to improve heart health. This is critical since heart health can be negatively affected by high blood pressure. This is because it puts extra pressure on a person’s heart so it must work harder.
What Is Fish Oil?
This is another good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s extracted from fatty fish, which include trout, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon. A better source is real food including these fish. However, fish oil supplements can also provide several health benefits.
Here are some fish oil benefits:
1. Weight Loss
This might be a surprising one. You can lose fat by eating fat? Fun Fact: The medical definition of obesity is a person with a 30+ body mass index (BI). It’s important to lower your risk of obesity since the condition can increase your risk of other conditions like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Fish oil might help to improve your body structure and lower the risk of various health conditions like heart disease. Studies show it can have these benefits among obese people. Other studies show that fish oil didn’t reduce body weight much. However, it did lower hip/waist ratio and waist size.
2. Mental Disorders
The brain is almost 60% fat and a large part is omega-3s. So, it’s important to get enough omega-3s for good brain function. Some studies show that people who have some kinds of mental disorders also have lower blood levels of omega-3.
Some studies show that fish oil supplements might help to prevent/improve mental disorder symptoms. This can lower the risk of serious mental disorders for high-risk people. There’s also some evidence that high doses of fish oil could help to lower symptoms of certain disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia.
3. Heart Health
Various studies show that fish oil can improve heart health in several ways. They include:
- Increasing good cholesterol
- Lowering blood fat
- Reducing artery plaque
- Lowering blood pressure
- Lowering bad cholesterol
These are all key factors that can help to prevent heart disease. However, there’s no solid evidence that fish oil supplements can help to reduce the risk of strokes or heart attacks.
Flaxseed Oil vs Fish Oil: Best Choice?
So, the big question is: which dietary supplement is better? One issue is both of these products provide a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These are important for good health.
There’s a caveat. Fish oil is the only one that has certain kinds of omega-3s: DHA and EPA. This is one way it provides an edge over flaxseed oil and other plant-based supplements. Does this mean you should take those supplements? It doesn’t but it means you won’t be getting the same types of omega-3s as fish oil supplements.
Another plus of fish oil is studies show it can help with various health conditions. They include depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and major digestion problems. Another benefit of fish oil is it might help to lower super-high levels of blood fat. This is another key benefit.
How about flaxseed oils? They include a fatty acid known as ALA. It can produce a small amount of DHA and EPA in the human body. So, it might help people who aren’t taking fish oil supplements. That said, you’ll get fewer benefits than fish oils in terms of EPA/DHA.
Some studies show that flaxseed oil might help with some conditions. They include high bad cholesterol and dry eye symptoms. However, there’s not much evidence to show that the seed-based oil can provide benefits for these health conditions.
One issue to consider studies don’t show that fish or flaxseed oil seems to help lower the risk of stroke or heart disease. The exception is if the person had a heart attack recently. Meanwhile, flaxseed oil might help to lower blood pressure and fish oil lower the risk of heart disease.
If you want to boost your levels of omega-3s then both products are effective for that goal. However, fish oil provides more fatty acids in the debate for flaxseed oil vs fish oil.