NUTRITION HOTLINE: Flax vs. Fish Oil?

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NUTRITION HOTLINE: Flax vs. Fish Oil?

Q: Is flax oil the same thing as fish oil?

A: No it is not. Flax oil contains an essential, short-chain omega 3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Fish and fish oil supplements contain the long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Technically ALA can be converted to EPA in the body, but less than 1% of what we eat actually gets converted, so you can’t rely on flax to get your EPA and DHA needs met. Instead eat fish (salmon, tuna but limit to 6 oz per week, sardines, anchovies) 2-3 times per week or take 1000 mg EPA/DHA per day in a fish oil supplement. You can get your ALA needs met by eating walnuts, flax oil, canola oil, olive oil, and hemp products.

By Diane Keddy, MS, RD
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Summer 2009 Volume 7, Number 3
©2009 Gürze Books

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