T Nation

Flax Seed vs. Fish Oil


I would like to get some opinions on the difference between flax seed and fish oil. If you could only take one or the other, which would you choose and why?


Flaxseed oil is better. More omega-3 per serving. And John Berardi claims that ALA can be metabolized into DHA and EPA anyway. So it's just as beneficial nutritionally.

There are also no risks of consuming dangerous pollutants like dioxins and heavy metals when taking flaxseed oil.

So why bother wasting money on potential poison when you can take flax oil and reap the same risk-free nutritional benefits.

On a side note, you also get the satisfaction of knowing that nothing was killed getting you the oil.



Get whole flaxseeds, throw them in the mixmaster and have it in shakes or sprinkle it on salads. It has soluble and insoluble fiber, lignans, and the slimy stuff the shell excretes when you put water on them is good for digestio, speeding the foodstuff's journey through the digestive systemm in addition to the good fats.

Flax goes rancid fast when it's milled though, about 24 hours at room temperature, and 5 days to a week in the fridge, so make small batches. This is beacuse of the oxygen-loving nature of the omega-fats.

Don't use un-milled, however, especially not in shakes with olive oil...The term 'a wet one' will take on a whole new meaning when you spraypaint the backl of your jeans with seeds/protein powder..

Fish oil is not really optional. Omega3, vitamin D if you get the cod liver oil, vitamin A and E.

Flax is cheap, at least over her. You get 1 kg for about 30 kr, which is roughly 5$.

Here's a kickass recipe for flax bread, great for a good fat/protein snack anytime:

2 cups milled flax seeds (preferably self-milled right before)
1 tbsp baking powder
salt to taste
spices ( cinnamon, cloves,cardamum for taste and various digestive and general health benefits)
5 eggs

mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, add, in order,
1/3 cup olive or other oil
1/2 cup water

Mix until all the ingrredients have blended well, the cover an oven-tray with baking paper, spread the dough evenly over the paper, and put in the oven on 180 ' celcius for 15-20 minutes.

Really easy way to add good calories, fiber, and my digestion has become much more regular after eating this with shakes and other meals throughout the day.


Recipe looks good. Mmmm.


Fish oil FTW /THREAD


try not to let your vegan propaganda get in the way of objectivity.

fish oil is better.

it has higher levels of EPA/DHA (the stuff that is responsible for the beneficial effects of fish oil) and the best part is, there's no need for the body to convert it.

flax oil contains ALA, the conversion rates for ALA into EPA/DHA is something like 5-10%. furthermore, consumer resports checked out a bunch of different fish oils for containment and NONE contained any trace of harmful pollutants.

any fish oil will do, Biotest sells Flameout, I use stuff from Sams club or NOW brand


The most recent research I've seen shows that this conversion is fairly low at best, so with all due respect to JB go with fish oil if you need to choose one or the other.


On the contrary, researchers have compared the effects of supplying ALA of plant origin with marine sources of DHA and EPA. They determined that there was very little difference between the two as far as effect on humans were concerned.

One thing I forgot to mention, However, is that it has been found that vegetable oils containing SDA ( particularly hempseed and blackcrrant seed oils) could be more effective in increasing tissue EPA concentrations than both Marine sources of DHA, APA and the currently ALA-containing vegetable oils.

When using plant-based oils, conversion rates increase even further when other nutrients are present. Although recommendations vary as to which nutrients, most agree that these are necessary to help increase the conversion of ALA to its necessary derivatives: zinc, selenium, magnesium, folic acid, and vitamins B3 (niacin), B6 and C.

As for fish oil, there are many tainted products which manage to remain undetected before there is a chance to withdraw them.
You may want to read up on the long term potentially fatal consequences of industrial chemicals such as phthalates, alkylphenols, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, as well as the gender-bending carcinogens - PCBs and dioxins. They do not degrade over time, and can accumulate in body tissues to cause a larger effect over time.

So its up to you OP. You can take safe, plant-based omega-3 in the form of flax and/or hemp. Or you can fork out more money, just for negligable (at best) increases in DHA, EPA and a nice big dose of poison - side effects may include cancer, nerve damage, brain damage and death.



From the article:

Today's nutrition tip comes from Dr. John Berardi:

Fish vs. Flax

Since flax and fish oils are made up mostly of polyunsaturated fats, they both play an important role in overall health and body comp. However, they play different roles. My advice: use both. My polyunsaturated fats come from both fish oil and flax oil. However, I do limit my flax oil to 1 tbsp per day as there's some evidence that high intakes of flax seed oil may have a negative effect on prostate health. So, I exercise caution and moderation with flax.


That paragraph kills any credibility you might have had.

Scare tactics are best left for the uninformed.


Toxicity IS an issue - over here there was a huge news store a while ago about how fish oil refineries were unsanitary, with some pretty scary facts and pics from some of the country's largest refineries. Before that the biggest brands were tested, and found too high in PCB, among other things. After that, the brands supposedly cleaned up their act, and since then studies find 'acceptable' levels of the various toxins.

However, Norway has some of the cleanest seawater in the world, especially the areas where most of the cod used for fish oil production is caught, far away from the gulf stream and in the open sea.

This is from a tudy of omega3-supplementation in conjunction with a low fat-diet in immature rats. Pretty interesting, especially the last paragraph which concludes that the wight loss and digestive problems in the rats caused by omega-3 and fish oil toxicity are somehow cured by also supplying plant-omega3, leading me to believe you shouldn't have one without the other.

Present findings indicate that immature
rats fed a purified low-fat diet supple
mented with 10% of fish on (i.e., crude
or refined tuna oil, crude sardine oil, men
haden oil or cod liver oil) showed a highly
significant retardation in growth accom
panied by diarrhea which was evident dur
ing the first week of feeding.

These effects
were counteracted largely by the concur
rent administration of cottonseed oil at a
10% level in the diet. Soybean oil, ses
ame oil, corn oil and wheat germ oil at
a 10% level of feeding were also active in
counteracting the growth retardation and
diarrhea of immature rats fed the basal
low-fat ration supplemented with 10%
of crude tuna oil; but olive oil, coconut
oil, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, butter
Downloaded from jn.nutrition.org by on May 22, 2009

fat and lard, when fed at a 10% level in content of unsaturated fatty acids, wherethe
diet, had little if any protective effect, as the more saturated fats (such as hydro-
Th�¨se observations indicate that the fats genated cottonseed oil, vegetable oils of
most active in counteracting fish oil toxi- low unsaturated fatty acid content or anicity
under conditions of the present ex- mal fats) had little if any activity in this
p�©rimentwere vegetable oils with a high regard.


You fail at maths?


thanks for the input.


Credibility?? You're having a laugh, "yolked up" is trolling.




Fish oil. It is cheap as dirt at Costco (Kirkland brand), and tests clean. I store the jug in the freezer to prevent it from going rancid, and the frozen gel caps reduce fish burps.

The ALA in flax oil is not converted well (less so as we age) to EPA/DHA. I do use organic whole flax seeds in my diet. I usually just chew them up (well) and swallow. I LOVE the taste of them. Whole flax seeds have many other health benefits as well, and they help keep you regular. .

Some folks grind them up in a coffee grinder and sprinkle them on food - another great option I recommend. If you do this, grind only what you will use at that meal or shortly thereafter. Flax (oil) goes rancid very quickly, and rancid is very bad! The whole seeds do not, but I store them in the freezer as well just to be safe (yes I have - O.C.D. and I am paranoid).