Fish oil vs flax oil: which is better? Fish oils are rich in Essential Fatty Acids, and most people have thought for the past 10+ years that they are the best source. This is because research on EFAs focused on the fish oils for many years. A very recent study said those taking isolated fish-oil supplements did not have better cardiovascular markers, contrary to popular belief. Harvard-educated M.D. Donald Rudin says that his own research yielded better results with flaxseed oil.
Fish oil is problematic for a few reasons. First, contaminants in water sources mean a lot of fish contain mercury or other heavy metals, or toxins called lipid peroxides. Second, some experts say fish oil is indigestible in the gut (that’s why you burp it up for hours after taking it). Third, heat destroys the EFA alpha linolenic acid in cooking, which is something to consider if you’re getting your EFAs from eating fish. Fourth, fish oil is about five times more expensive, ounce for ounce, than flax oil. (And probably about 20 times more expensive than whole flaxseed!)
Fish oil advocates claim that you get EPA and DHA (two fatty acids) from animal sources, whereas flax is low in DHA. True, but on the other hand, the human body needs very little DHA, as it is stored in the cells and does not need to be replaced often.
Further, flax is a whole plant food with lots of fiber and many other virtues, including anti-inflammatory, tumor-inhibiting, and mood- and hormone-regulating compounds. In fact, I believe flaxseed to be potentially the most nutritious food on the planet. The fish oil vs flax oil debate isn’t over, but the more I read on newer research, the more firmly convinced I become that flax will win in the end.