Flaxseed Oil vs. Fish Oil

Both flaxseed oil (also known as linseed oil) and fish oil (such as salmon or halibut oil) are excellent sources of omega-3, an essential fatty acid that helps protect the heart, reduces inflammation, lowers cholesterol and more. However, there are some differences between these two oils.

Fish oil contains EPA and DHA whereas flaxseed oil contains ALA, a precursor to the omega-3 acids found in fish oil. The body doesn't convert the ALA from flaxseed oil into EPA and DHA. Therefore, although it's still beneficial, it's not as efficient a source as fish oil. As a general rule, fish oil is a better choice for those with or seeking to prevent heart disease, elevated triglycerides or rheumatoid arthritis. Flaxseed oil may be better for those who wish to lower blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Look for a flaxseed oil product that also contains "lignans".

Some experts recommend consuming fish as part of your diet rather than taking fish oil supplements. This is because the supplements often cause gas and burping. Select wild (as opposed to farmed) coldwater fish and be wary of excessive mercury intake.

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