Flaxseed Oil Vs. Fish Oil
September 28, 2011   zhion@zhion.com
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Flaxseed Oil Vs Fish Oil - Composition
Flaxseed oil is rich in an omega-3 fatty acid called ALA. But flaxseed lacks the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA,
which have shown cardiovascular benefits. EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements. Does
ALA deliver the same benefits as EPA and DHA?

Flaxseed Oil Vs Fish Oil - Effect on Skin
Mature female cats (n=14/treatment) were fed control, fish oil or flaxseed oil diets with n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratios of
20:1, 5:1 and 5:1, respectively, for 12 wk. Fish oil increased EPA and DHA in plasma and skin, whereas flaxseed
oil increased ALA. Fish and flaxseed oils both decreased skin inflammatory response to histamine. However, cats
fed fish but not flaxseed oil had higher skin leukotriene LTB(5), but not LTB(4). Flaxseed oil appears less
immunosuppressive than fish oil. [1]

Flaxseed Oil Vs Fish Oil -Effect on Immune Response
From the day of conception and throughout lactation, dams were fed diets containing 4% fat from flaxseed oil
(LSO), fish oil (FO) or a n-3 PUFA-deficient diet (DEF). Pups were injected with ovalbumin within 24 h of birth and
sacrificed at weaning (day 21). The results indicate that maternal intake of fish oil, but not of flaxseed oil, changes
the offspring's antigen-specific response. [2]

Flaxseed Oil Vs Fish Oil -Effect on Cardiovascular Events
Clinical studies suggest that intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 PUFA) may lower the
incidence of heart failure. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 PUFA exerts metabolic and anti-inflammatory
effects that could prevent left ventricle (LV) pathology. Rats were fed a standard food or diets supplemented with
EPA+DHA or ALA at 0.7, 2.3, or 7% of energy intake. Without supplementation, aortic banding increased left
ventricle mass and end-systolic and -diastolic volumes. ALA supplementation had little effect on left ventricle
remodelling and dysfunction. In contrast, EPA+DHA dose-dependently increased EPA and DHA, decreased
arachidonic acid in cardiac membrane phospholipids, and prevented the increase in left ventricle end-diastolic
and -systolic volumes. EPA+DHA resulted in a dose-dependent increase in the anti-inflammatory adipokine
adiponectin, and there was a strong correlation between the prevention of left ventricle chamber enlargement and
plasma levels of adiponectin. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 PUFA derived from fish, but not from
vegetable sources, increased plasma adiponectin, suppressed inflammation, and prevented cardiac remodelling
and dysfunction under pressure overload conditions. [3]

Flaxseed Oil Vs Fish Oil -Effect on Cholesterol Levels
Twenty-one mice were divided into 3 groups (n=7) and fed a diet supplemented with either a fish or flaxseed
oil-based 'designer oils' with an approximate n-6:n-3 FA ratio of 2/1 or with a safflower-oil-based diet with a ratio of
25/1, for 16 weeks. Plasma lipids and fatty acid profile of the liver tissue were characterized. Compared to
baseline, plasma triacylglycerol levels declined (>50%) in all groups by week 4. Plasma cholesterol levels were
reduced in both fish and flax groups by 27% and 36%, respectively, as compared to controls at endpoint. [4]

Now, you know which one you should consider!
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Reference
[1] Park HJ et al, Dietary fish oil and flaxseed oil suppress inflammation and immunity in cats. Vet Immunol
Immunopathol. 2011 Jun 15;141(3-4):301-6 [2] Lauritzen L, et al Maternal intake of fish oil but not of linseed oil
reduces the antibody response in neonatal mice. Lipids. 2011 Feb;46(2):171-8. [3] Duda MK et al, Fish oil, but
not flaxseed oil, decreases inflammation and prevents pressure overload-induced cardiac dysfunction.Cardiovasc
Res. 2009 Feb 1;81(2):319-27 [4] Riediger ND et al, Low n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio, with fish- or flaxseed oil, in a high
fat diet improves plasma lipids and beneficially alters tissue fatty acid composition in mice. Eur J Nutr. 2008
Apr;47(3):153-60.