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View Full Version : Difference between Fish Oil and Flax Seed Oil



Fightin Irish
06-19-2003, 01:14 PM
Is there any? From what I've researched so far I dont' seem to see the difference. Both are focusing on the Omega 3... Can someone explain?

The_Chicken_Daddy
06-19-2003, 01:46 PM
Your body converts w-3's in flax into EPA/DHA.

Fish supplies them directly.

bradley
06-19-2003, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by The_Chicken_Daddy
Your body converts w-3's in flax into EPA/DHA.


The conversion of alpha linoleic acid (found in flax oil) into w-3s is not a very effecient process in the body. I would recommend fish oil over flax for this reason.

AlexBBbegginer
06-19-2003, 03:07 PM
is cod liver oil omega 3?
or am i swallowing 12 huge pills a day for nicer teeth and hair?

bradley
06-19-2003, 04:04 PM
Originally posted by AlexBBbegginer
is cod liver oil omega 3?
or am i swallowing 12 huge pills a day for nicer teeth and hair?

Yes, cod liver oil contains omega 3s (EPA/DHA) and also has vitamins A and D.

The_Chicken_Daddy
06-20-2003, 05:46 AM
Originally posted by bradley
The conversion of alpha linoleic acid (found in flax oil) into w-3s is not a very effecient process in the body. I would recommend fish oil over flax for this reason.

*Hands Brad an 'n'*

:D

BobbyRS
06-20-2003, 08:26 AM
You can try this fish oil I take here:

http://www.carlsonlabs.com/productdetail.phtml?prodid=10025836

It has 1600mg of o3's in just 1 teaspoon! 500mg of DHA and 800mg of EPA. Much better then taking a ton of pills everyday. Plus it has a lemon taste to it, so it tastes good by itself if you don't want to mix it with anything.

hemants
06-23-2003, 06:39 AM
"The conversion of alpha linoleic acid (found in flax oil) into w-3s is not a very effecient process in the body"

This is somewhat true based on observation but what is probably happening is that body only converts as much ALA to DHA as it needs.

DHA is not an essential fatty acid and there is no RDA for it. That being said, the study on this stuff is still work in progress.

bradley
06-23-2003, 09:12 AM
Originally posted by hemants
"The conversion of alpha linoleic acid (found in flax oil) into w-3s is not a very effecient process in the body"

This is somewhat true based on observation but what is probably happening is that body only converts as much ALA to DHA as it needs.

DHA is not an essential fatty acid and there is no RDA for it. That being said, the study on this stuff is still work in progress.

There are questions relating to what you stated above. It is questionable whether everyone has the ability to convert enough ALA into EPA/DHA. With that being said why not just supplement with fish oil since it already contains EPA/DHA?

Although I know for some people this is not an option (vegans).

hemants
06-23-2003, 10:55 AM
"It is questionable whether everyone has the ability to convert enough ALA into EPA/DHA"

Not really. Everyone has the ability to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. If we didn't our brains wouldn't grow as children. The question is one of the efficiency of this conversion and whether or not the body converts at a fixed rate (innefficient) or a variable rate depending on what it needs.

That being said, supplementing with DHA is probably not a bad idea unless for some reason the body cannot do the reverse conversion (ie. what if excess DHA can not be converted back to ALA for use somewhere else?)

As with everything I think it's prudent to hedge the unknown and take both!

bradley
06-23-2003, 01:46 PM
Originally posted by hemants
"It is questionable whether everyone has the ability to convert enough ALA into EPA/DHA"

Not really. Everyone has the ability to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. If we didn't our brains wouldn't grow as children. The question is one of the efficiency of this conversion and whether or not the body converts at a fixed rate (innefficient) or a variable rate depending on what it needs.


That is why I said, it is questionable whether everyone has the ability to convert enough ALA into EPA/DHA. I am referring to the rate limiting enzyme delta-5 desaturase more specifically. I have no doubt that most everyone has the ability to convert some of the ALA into EPA/DHA, but if that conversion is only 1% then that is really not significant.

This was taken from the following page:
http://vitaminlady.com/Articles/efas1.asp

"Another option for lowering cholesterol and, some studies suggest, blood pressure, is flax seed oil. High levels of Fish Oil have even more dramatic affects, and in my opinion it is essential to balance the Flax Oil's Omega 6 with Omega 3. While some are suggesting that Flax, or Soy or Walnut Oils can give the same Omega 3 benefits as Fish Oil, the unfortunate fact is that the while they do contain ALA (alpha- linolenic acid, the precursor to EPA and DHA) individuals vary greatly in the extent to which the conversion occurs in the body since many people lack the necessary enzyme, delta 5 desaturase. Yet others are eating high levels of carbohydrates and thereby inhibiting that enzyme. One estimate is that less than 1% is converted. ALAs role as an energy source means also that most of it is removed from the blood stream before conversion can take place. "

hemants
06-23-2003, 03:28 PM
Doh, I misread the statement you made and excluded "enough" Sry bout that.

From what I've read only children less than 1 year and very old people have trouble converting ALA to EPA and DHA. The other things that inhibit the conversion are high saturated fat intake (since saturated fat competes with ALA for delta 5 desaturase), and a high LA to ALA ratio.

Also there is no RDA for DHA, and the body can probably use about 3g per day. Most people probably get that without supplements.

bradley
06-27-2003, 03:05 AM
I ran across this the other day and thought I would post it.

Alpha-linolenic acid and risk of prostate cancer: a case-control study in Uruguay.

De Stefani E, Deneo-Pellegrini H, Boffetta P, Ronco A, Mendilaharsu M.

Registro Nacional de Cancer, Montevideo, Uruguay.

In the time period of 1994-1998, a case-control study on diet and prostate cancer was carried out in Uruguay to examine the risk associated with fat intake. Two hundred and seventeen (217) incident cases afflicted with advanced prostate cancer were frequency-matched with 431 controls on age, residence, and urban/rural status. The analysis was carried out using unconditional multiple logistic regression. Alpha-linolenic acid was associated with a strong positive association (fourth quartile of intake odds ratio, 3.91; 95% confidence interval, 1.50-10.1) after controlling for total calorie intake and for the other types of fat. The effect was similar when alpha-linolenic acid was analyzed by its sources of origin (odds ratio for vegetable linolenic acid, 2.03; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-4.07). Including this report, five of six studies that have examined the relationship between alpha-linolenic acid and prostate cancer yielded a positive association, which was significant in four studies. Thus, there appears to be evidence of a role of alpha-linolenic acid in prostate carcinogenesis.

PMID: 10750674 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Complete Article:
http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/full/9/3/335

hemants
06-27-2003, 06:43 AM
Interesting, worth looking into for sure.

Here's the first thing I found but I'll dig deeper:

http://www.udoerasmus.com/articles/udo/flax_prostate_expanded.htm

bradley
06-28-2003, 05:36 AM
Originally posted by hemants
Interesting, worth looking into for sure.

Here's the first thing I found but I'll dig deeper:

http://www.udoerasmus.com/articles/udo/flax_prostate_expanded.htm

I agree with what the article was saying in that flaxseed oil is probably not a direct link to prostate cancer. Just because flaxseed oil contains ALA does not necessarily mean that it can cause adverse effects. From what I have read it seems that the more processed oils that contain ALA could have more of an impact than flaxseed oil. Rape seed oil comes to mind. Here is another study that I ran across while reading about the topic.

Pilot study of dietary fat restriction and flaxseed supplementation in men with prostate cancer before surgery: exploring the effects on hormonal levels, prostate-specific antigen, and histopathologic features.

Demark-Wahnefried W, Price DT, Polascik TJ, Robertson CN, Anderson EE, Paulson DF, Walther PJ, Gannon M, Vollmer RT.

Division of Urologic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

OBJECTIVES: Dietary fat and fiber affect hormonal levels and may influence cancer progression. Flaxseed is a rich source of lignan and omega-3 fatty acids and may thwart prostate cancer. The potential effects of flaxseed may be enhanced with concomitant fat restriction. We undertook a pilot study to explore whether a flaxseed-supplemented, fat-restricted diet could affect the biomarkers of prostatic neoplasia. METHODS: Twenty-five patients with prostate cancer who were awaiting prostatectomy were instructed on a low-fat (20% of kilocalories or less), flaxseed-supplemented (30 g/day) diet. The baseline and follow-up levels of prostate-specific antigen, testosterone, free androgen index, and total serum cholesterol were determined. The tumors of diet-treated patients were compared with those of historic cases (matched by age, race, prostate-specific antigen level at diagnosis, and biopsy Gleason sum) with respect to apoptosis (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase [TdT]-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end-labeling [TUNEL]) and proliferation (MIB-1). RESULTS: The average duration on the diet was 34 days (range 21 to 77), during which time significant decreases were observed in total serum cholesterol (201 +/- 39 mg/dL to 174 +/- 42 mg/dL), total testosterone (422 +/- 122 ng/dL to 360 +/- 128 ng/dL), and free androgen index (36.3% +/- 18.9% to 29.3% +/- 16.8%) (all P <0.05). The baseline and follow-up levels of prostate-specific antigen were 8.1 +/- 5.2 ng/mL and 8.5 +/- 7.7 ng/mL, respectively, for the entire sample (P = 0.58); however, among men with Gleason sums of 6 or less (n = 19), the PSA values were 7.1 +/- 3.9 ng/mL and 6.4 +/- 4.1 ng/mL (P = 0.10). The mean proliferation index was 7.4 +/- 7.8 for the historic controls versus 5.0 +/- 4.9 for the diet-treated patients (P = 0.05). The distribution of the apoptotic indexes differed significantly (P = 0.01) between groups, with most historic controls exhibiting TUNEL categorical scores of 0; diet-treated patients largely exhibited scores of 1. Both the proliferation rate and apoptosis were significantly associated with the number of days on the diet (P = 0.049 and P = 0.017, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: These pilot data suggest that a flaxseed-supplemented, fat-restricted diet may affect prostate cancer biology and associated biomarkers. Further study is needed to determine the benefit of this dietary regimen as either a complementary or preventive therapy.