Fish Oil Benefits VS Omega 3 Benefits
Like how every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square. Fish oil contains omega 3, but not all sources of omega 3 is from fish. So it’s important to note that your fish oil benefits and omega 3 benefits may not be a perfect exchange. As per most dietary nutrients, the source matters. Today we’re going to break down what the difference is and what the benefits are.
What is Omega 3?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a class of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids with the double bond in the third carbon position from the methyl terminal (hence the use of “3” in their description). There are actually 11 different types of omega 3 fatty acids. The three most important ones are ALA, EPA and DHA.
Why is Omega 3 Fatty Acids Important?
The human brain is made up of about 60% fat. Of that proportion omega 3 is the most abundant and essential. DHA, in particular, can make up to 58% of those omega 3’s. So inadequate amounts of this omega 3 can lead to a deficiency in Omega 3.
Which, not surprisingly, is common in western diets. Western culture, however, has an exceeding amount of Omega 6 in diets. Omega 6 is found commonly in vegetable oils, so think of how often you eat fried food. Omega 6 isn’t bad for you, but, it’s comes down to balance, moderation, and ratios.
What Is Fish Oil ?
Fish oil is generally derived from the tissue of cold-water, fatty fish. It contains high amounts of Omega 3, obviously. But its high in two types of omega 3 as well, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These two omega 3 fatty acids are commonly known as “resolvins” for their ability to resolve inflammation. But that’s not all they do. DHA an EPA have been shown to improve heart and brain health, among other benefits. This is where the difference is between other sources of omega 3 and fish oils, specifically vegan/ vegetarian options.
Omega 3 derived from plant sources are typically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Because this form of Omega 3 originates from plants it is typically preferred by vegetarians and vegans. ALA needs to go through a conversion to become EPA or DHA in order for the body to use it. However this conversion process is inefficient in humans.
Only a small percentage of ALA will convert into EPA and DHA. What is left is stored or used as energy, like other fats. Although the benefits are the same, due to the conversion process being poor individuals may not experience the omega 3 benefits to the same magnitude as fish oil.
Fish Oil Benefits and Omega 3 Benefits
So what are the benefits? Supplementing with fish oil and omega 3 can benefit your whole body and mind.
Fish Oil Benefits and Omega 3 Benefits : Physical Benefits
Heart disease is the worldwide leading cause of death. However diets containing a large portion of fish have been seen to have a lower risk for heart disease. The benefits of omega 3 for heart health include:
- It can increase levels of HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
- It can lower triglycerides by about 15–30%.
- Even in small doses, omega 3 helps reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure.
- It may prevent the plaques that form in arteries and cause them to harden, as well as make arterial plaques more stable and safer in those who already have them.
- Omega 3 can improve your metabolism. It has also been seen to aid weight loss, when a diet and exercise regimen is already implicated.
- EPA and DHA have the ability to activate receptors in the body that increase metabolic rate.
- Omega 3’s anti-inflammatory properties also help improve fat metabolism in people with high inflammation or metabolic syndrome.
- Omega 3 can also increase the secretion of adiponectin, which is responsible for fat breakdown.
- Research has shown that omega 3 can decrease inflammation caused by UV light and provide sunburn relief.
- Omega 3 benefits and nourishes the skin with fats and contributes fat-soluble vitamins that help skin maintain a smooth, elastic texture.
- These fatty acids also help nourish the hair, support hair thickening, and reduce inflammation that can lead to hair loss.
- Omega 3 has shown the ability to reverse age-related eye disorders. DHA is a key component to the protection of the development of new blood vessels in the eye.
- Omega 3 appears to improve blood flow to the brain in healthy individuals. A high dietary intake of fish reduces the risk of stroke in elderly individuals.
- As mentioned in previous points, omega 3 has anti-inflammatory properties. Fish oil and omega 3 supplements have been seen to work just as well as NSAIDs in reducing arthritic pain and are a safer alternative to NSAIDs. This also extends to joint pain relief.
- There is also evidence showing that omega 3 may improve muscle growth and reduce muscle degeneration.
- Omega 3 can reduces oxygen consumption of muscles, which promotes resistance to muscle fatigue.
Fish Oil Benefits and Omega 3 Benefits : Mental Benefits
- There have been many studies showing a link between reduction of anxiety symptoms and regular supplementation of fish oil or omega 3. The benefits have been noted to be stronger during brain development stages. Meaning consuming an adequate amount of fish or supplementing with fish oil/omega 3 during your youth can reduce the severity of future anxiety.
- Fish oil and omega 3 supplements may help ease symptoms of depression in some people. The EPA found in fish oil has anti-depressant effects on those that suffer from severe depression.
- The other key omega 3 acid, DHA, has been noted to reduce and normalizes aggression following high-stress periods.
- There is evidence that omega 3 is useful in managing and treating ADHD in children. Specifically DHA, may improve literacy and behavior in children with ADHD. Fish oil/Omega 3 supplementation can also be beneficial for children with perceived hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness, and aggression.
- Fatty acids are vital for brain function. Those that are found in fish oil (EPA/DHA) can not only slow cognitive decline, but can help prevent brain atrophy in older adults.
- Higher levels of DHA can improve verbal fluency, improved working memory, and memory retention.
As you can see the fatty acids found in fish oil has a lot of benefits and more that’s being discovered. But how does fish oil benefits compare to (ALA) omega 3 benefits ? As we mentioned early on not all omega 3 fatty acids are the same. So for the greatest potential of benefits you may want to opt for a fish oil or an omega 3 product containing EPA and DHA.
For our vegan and vegetarian friends, it takes three reactions in our body to make EPA from ALA and another four reactions to change that EPA into DHA. And, in order to successfully complete these reactions, the body needs an adequate supply of B3 and B6 vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. The other option is to supplement with an omega 3 product sourced from algae which already contains DHA.
†PLEASE NOTE: The intention of the information above is for reference only. It is our goal to maintain and display accurate information. Yet, we can’t guarantee it represents the latest formulation of the product. If you have any concerns, please visit the manufacturer’s web site. Also, the information above is not a representation of our views at Same Day Supplements. These are the views and information provided by product’s manufacturer. The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. The intention of this product is not to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.