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What is the difference between fish oil and omega-3: the advantages and disadvantages of each

People, whose childhood was spent in the USSR, remember well the preparation “Fish oil”. One teaspoon every day … There were not many young admirers of this procedure – the oily liquid in pharmaceutical bottles had a very specific taste. However, the benefits outweighed the inconveniences, because even then everyone knew that fish oil contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids important for humans.

The same “Fish oil” can be bought now, but modern preparations with omega-3-PUFA have appeared. What is the difference between them, which is better and why all this is needed at all?

What are omega-3-PUFAs used for?

Omega-3-PUFAs (omega-3 fatty acids) are irreplaceable substances – that is, those that our body needs, but they are not produced by them. These acids are essential building blocks of cells and serve to prevent a range of diseases, from heart disease to asthma and depression.

Modern research reveals more and more aspects of the beneficial effects of omega-3-PUFAs on human health.

  1. A Fudan University study confirmed that omega-3-PUFAs support the cardiovascular system and reduce health risks in areas with high levels of air pollution.
  2. Doctors from the Jiangsu University Hospital have found that the combination of omega-3-PUFAs with sterols can correct disorders of glucose metabolism and thereby help fight diabetes.
  3. Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have found that omega-3-PUFAs can improve sperm quality scores in male infertility.

What is fish oil used for

The class of omega-3-PUFAs is quite extensive, but for humans, three of them are most important:

  • alpha linolenic (ALA);
  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA);
  • docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Some land plants, such as flax and chia, are rich in alpha-linolenic acid. But only seafood can boast of a high concentration of the other two. True, the human body is able to produce EPA and DHA from ALA, but with low efficiency – no more than 5%. Therefore, it is important to get them ready-made in your daily diet.

The main source of the most beneficial omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA for humans is sea fish. By the way, fish, like us, do not produce omega-3-PUFA, but only accumulate this substance when they eat algae, shellfish and their less fortunate counterparts. Fish stores of EPA and DHA are concentrated in fat.

Thus, the best omega-3-PUFA dietary supplements are made from fish oil such as Omega-3 Complex . Vegetarian preparations based on seaweed will also work. But dietary supplements, where vegetable oils (flaxseed, sea buckthorn, mustard) are the source of omega-3-PUFAs, contain only alpha-linolenic acid and are much less effective.

What is the difference between fish oil and omega-3-PUFA

Fat is obtained from fish tissue. The best raw materials for production are species of fish with a short life cycle, in the body of which toxins do not have time to accumulate. Most often, the future preparation “Fish oil” undergoes only minimal purification, while it has a low content of omega-3-PUFA and a high concentration of impurities.

For modern preparations based on omega-3-PUFAs, fish oil undergoes further processing, as a result of which it is cleared of a large proportion of impurities. The output is a concentrate with a high content of EPA and DHA. Sometimes it is additionally enriched with vitamins and minerals. The active substance is packaged in a container convenient for taking – as a rule, these are capsules in a hard shell.

Which is better: omega-3-PUFA complexes or fish oil

Comparative characteristics of preparations with omega-3-PZhNK and “Fish oil” can be seen in the table.

Preparations based on omega-3-PUFA “Fish fat”
Contains only essential components. The Omega-3 Complex contains omega-3-PUFA and vitamin E. Lots of unnecessary ballast substances, in particular saturated fats and impurities. May contain toxins if produced from cheap raw materials.
The capsules are hermetically sealed, their contents do not oxidize and retain their freshness and quality longer. Upon contact with air, liquid fish oil gradually oxidizes and loses its beneficial properties.
The capsules have a tasteless shell that dissolves only in the stomach. It has a specific fishy smell and taste that not everyone likes.
Convenient dosage: just take the number of capsules recommended by the manufacturer or doctor every day. It is necessary to have a measuring spoon, it can be spilled when using, it is difficult to get rid of the odor on the dishes and table.
The cost is medium and high. Low cost.
Availability: Available from a pharmacy or online store. Availability: can be purchased at any pharmacy.

It is easy to see that modern drugs have more advantages, and the advantages themselves are more significant. Plus, unlike Fish Oil, good supplements have a balanced omega-3-PUFA content. The daily requirement of Omega-3 Complex, which consists of 2 capsules, contains 240 mg of DHA and 360 mg of EPA.

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