There is much research on the value of Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil. There are thousands of double blind research studies to back that up. But where the confusion exists is the number of different fish oil supplements all declaring that their product is superior. Fish oil, salmon oil, flax seed oil, cod liver oil and now Krill oil? What are the differences?
Flax Seed Oil:
Flax seed oil contains linolenic acid or ALA. The conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is unreliable. Different conditions such as fast foods, baked foods, alcohol intake, certain health conditions, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause problems in utilization. Research has proven that even healthy individuals may only be able to convert about 15% of the ALA in flax seed oil to EPA. In many people it is not converted into DHA at all. Even if you can convert it, you must take a lot more flaxseed oil than fish oil to achieve the same results. Research shows women are more efficient converters of ALA to EPA than men. Flax seed oil is an alternative to fish oil for vegetarians.
Fish is a direct source for EPA and DHA fatty acids. There are International standards on fish oil for contaminants, purity, and heavy metal contamination. The studies on the benefits of fish oil, have involved thousands of people over years. The largest trial study in Italy involved 11,000 people over nearly 4 years. One of the results showed a 45% reduction in sudden death. Even the FDA does not dispute the value of Omega 3 fatty acids found in high quality fish oil. The only dispute is the quality of some products. That is why fish oil products must now be subjected to tests for heavy metal poisoning, toxins, and other contaminants. The oil must be extracted in a manner to preserve the quality of the oil. Contamination is the most important issue in fish oil supplements.
Salmon Oil Capsules:
Another fish source for Omega fatty acids. Research is showing that Wild Salmon is a better buy because it is lower in contaminants than farmed Salmon. Farmed Salmon is raised in crowded conditions and given antibiotics to keep the fish from getting diseases. The industry is working to improve these problems.
Cod Liver Oil:
Cod liver oil is taken from the liver of the cod or halibut fish. It has been used for centuries to keep people healthy. In our grandparent’s time, it was given on a daily basis to children for health. In this day and age, it tastes better than the original version. It comes flavored to make it taste better. Vitamin A and D is sometimes added to cod liver oil. Keep cod liver oil in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Many cod liver oil products contain Vitamin E to help preserve the oil as well.
There has been a lot of hype on the Internet that Krill oil is superior to other fish oil supplements. In reality, there have only been 13 total studies of Krill oil versus fish oil and only four involved human beings. These studies were small and results were evaluated for only 12 weeks. These studies were backed by companies who wanted to show that Krill oil was superior. There have been thousands of double blind studies done on the benefits of fish oil over the past few years. Keep this in mind when reading the advertising from Krill oil companies.
Krill are a shrimp-like crustacean which is a crucial part of the marine food chain. Krill are eaten by whales, seals, squid, and fish. Krill fishing for this reason has been banned on the west coast of the U.S. and is strictly limited in Norway and Antarctica. Krill contains higher amounts of Astaxanthin than fish oil. Astaxanthin is being researched for its possible ability to protect the body from free radical damage. This has not been proven by research studies. One advantage to taking Krill oil, is that is does not cause the fishy aftertaste or burping as fish oil does. That fishy aftertaste is one of the reasons people stop taking fish oil supplements. You can find fish oil supplements that do not cause the aftertaste. It usually tells you on the label.
Krill oil is advertised to be absorbed more effectively because the krill are composed of phospholipids as is the fat cell walls in our body. Fish oil is generally in a triglyceride form. This advertised benefit is not proven by extensive research according to the University Of Massachusetts Medical School. Krill is also subject to the same problems of rancidity. Their research states that Krill oil does not have enough research behind it to back up their claims.
All Fish oil products are subject to become rancid quickly. This is why you should never buy bottles containing thousands of fish oil capsules. Each time you open the bottle and let oxygen in, there is interaction with the capsule. By the time you get to the last half of that big bottle, the quality of that fish oil product is compromised. Fish oil should be kept in the refrigerator to help prevent rancidity as well. Often fish oil bottles are kept in storage for months or weeks until sold. Some of these products are already rancid before you take them home. The rancidity factor is one of the main problems in cheap supplements. Buy fish oil capsules in smaller quantity bottles. Make sure the label declares it has been tested for mercury, toxins, and other heavy metal poisoning. Unless the label states that testing, you should not buy it. You pay for what you get in fish oil.