Flax Vs. EPA Fish Oil-Which one has more therapeutic value?

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  1. Flax Vs. EPA Fish Oil-Which one has more therapeutic value?

    Flax Vs. EPA Fish Oil-Which one has more therapeutic value?
    Dr. Phil Maffetone - www.mafgroup.com
    Many people ask the question: "Which omega-3 fat is better, flax or EPA fish oil?"
    While for most people the answer is overwhelmingly, "fish oil," it's important to first understand the metabolism of omega-3 fats to comprehend why fish oil works better for most people.
    Omega-3 fats in flax and other vegetable foods must be converted in the body to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) before becoming beneficial series-3 eicosanoids. It is these eicosanoids that provide the healthy benefits of regulating inflammation. Fish oil already contains EPA, but flax must be converted in the body.
    However, the conversion process is a fairly complicated one, and without this conversion flax oil has much less therapeutic value. The conversion can be disrupted by stress and aging. It can be impeded by certain dietary factors such as trans fat, excess saturated fat, sugar, and other carbohydrates, or inadequate protein intake. Moreover, specific vitamins and minerals are required for the conversion of omega-3 fats to EPA. These include vitamins B6, C, E, niacin, and the minerals magnesium, calcium and zinc.
    In the case of flax oil, conversion of alpha-linolenic acid in the oil to EPA is significantly less than a 1:1 ratio. Even if the necessary co-factors are present and all other conditions are right for every gram of EPA, it take 11 grams of ALA.
    On the other hand, EPA fish oil derived from cold-water ocean fish already contains significant amounts of EPA, ready for the body to use immediately for making anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. The conversion process cannot be disrupted or hindered.
    Knowing this, why would anyone choose flax oil over EPA fish oil? Some do so because they are vegetarians, and others because they have an aversion to fish. Those who choose flax must be very careful with their lifestyles and nutrition in order to realize the therapeutic value, and they also might need to take much larger doses than if they were taking fish oil.
    Because so many people have learned that fish oil works better for them, MAF BioNutritionals has decided to discontinue Nature's Dose Anti-Inflammatory Flax Formula in favor of its more popular EPA version.

  2. You like this guy huh?

  3. I do and he some great points I had never heard before in this article!

  4. mmm... big bottle of easy-to-swig fish oil... yum

  5. The case seem strong that Fish Oil, certified metal free of course, should be the dominant form of Omega 3 in our diets. Flax still has a place but not as the pirmary source perhaps.

  6. fish oil only come in capsules right? i've never seen it being sold in liquid form like flax

  7. You can get Cod Liver Oil in bottles. Tastes like crap but you can get it. They also make it "flavored"! Lol! Like Cherry flavor for one!

  8. they taste worse than flax oil? i'm really tired of taking 16 tabs of fish oil everyday

  9. no ****? *flavored* cod oil?... whoa... talk about gag

  10. Mmmmm...mine tastes like Chocolate Cod, what did you get?
    Evolutionary Muse - Inspire to Evolve
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  11. Hemp Oil beats them all
    For answers to board issues, read the Suggestion and News forum at the bottom of the main page.

  12. Where do we get hemp oil bobo?

  13. go grab one of those new age hippie types, grab em by their ankles and give em a squeeze.. wring some hemp oil out of em for sure.. always hear them bitching about hemp

  14. Originally posted by windwords7
    Where do we get hemp oil bobo?
    You can get it locally from a natural health food store. PF carries it too. Be careful, more than 2 tablespoons and you will gag. Very nutty in flavor and can be overbearing. I think it had the most balanced Omega profile of all the choices.

    Here a short descrition for those not familiar with it from PF:

    Scientific Description

    The perfect balance of omega 6, 3, and 9 fatty acids. The oil is pressed from Hemp Seeds to create a green, nutty tasting oil. Determined to be the optiumum requirement for long term human consumption. In addition hemp oil also cotains smaller amounts of 3 other unsturated fats in GLA oleic acid and stearidonic acid. This EFA combination is not only unique in the vegetable kingdom, but indispensable for cell growth, circulation, immune function, healthy skin, and the prevention of degenerative diseases.

    Bodybuilding and Athletic Supplementation Description

    Hemp oil has been deamed the name "Flax with an attitude"..This oil should be used to maximize the anabolic conjuction between protein and EFA. Continuous use of flax oil can result in an imbalance of EFA in the body. Hemp oil can be used without worries. Hemp seed oil has a good taste.
    For answers to board issues, read the Suggestion and News forum at the bottom of the main page.

  15. I thought this was a fairly helpful link on understanding EPA/DHA's therapeutic properties. It corroborates and explains a number of points from the primary article listed above with references. This was originally posted by The_Chicken_Daddy on wannabebig forums.



    1. New interesting article on Brain Development
    Essential fatty acids in visual and brain development.

    Essential fatty acids are structural components of all tissues and are indispensable for cell membrane synthesis; the brain, retina and other neural tissues are particularly rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA). These fatty acids serve as specific precursors for eicosanoids, which regulate numerous cell and organ functions. Recent human studies support the essential nature of n-3 fatty acids in addition to the well-established role of n-6 essential fatty acids in humans, particularly in early life. The main findings are that light sensitivity of retinal rod photoreceptors is significantly reduced in newborns with n-3 fatty acid deficiency, and that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) significantly enhances visual acuity maturation and cognitive functions. DHA is a conditionally essential nutrient for adequate neurodevelopment in humans. Comprehensive clinical studies have shown that dietary supplementation with marine oil or single-cell oil sources of LC-PUFA results in increased blood levels of DHA and arachidonic acid, as well as an associated improvement in visual function in formula-fed infants matching that of human breast-fed infants. The effect is mediated not only by the known effects on membrane effect is mediated not only by the known effects on membrane biophysical properties, neurotransmitter content, and the corresponding electrophysiological correlates but also by a modulating gene expression of the developing retina and brain. Intracellular fatty acids or their metabolites regulate transcriptional activation of gene expression during adipocyte differentiation and retinal and nervous system development. Regulation of gene expression by LC-PUFA occurs at the transcriptional level and may be ediated by nuclear transcription factors activated by fatty acids. These nuclear receptors are part of the family of steroid hormone receptors. DHA also has significant effects on photoreceptor membranes and neurotransmitters involved in the signal transduction process; rhodopsin activation, rod and cone development, neuronal dendritic connectivity, and functional maturation of the central nervous system.

    By Uauy R; Hoffman D R; Peirano P; Birch D G; Birch E E
    Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile,
    Santiago, Chile. [email protected]
    Lipids; 36 (9) p885-95
    United States
    Sep 2001
    Clinical Trial; Journal Article; Meta-Analysis; Randomized Controlled
    Trial; Review; Review, Tutorial

    2. Another reason to take Omega-3 / Omega-3 also play a role in osteoporosis prevention.

    Polyunsaturated fatty acids. Is there a role in postmenopausal osteoporosis prevention?

    OBJECTIVE: To review the effect of a diet supplemented with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.
    METHODS: MEDLINE (1966-April 2001), Allied Complementary Medicine (1985-2001), Cochrane Library and Database of Systematic Reviews (1st Quarter 2001) was searched. Five reviews and no systematic reviews were found on this topic in the Cochrane Library. Eleven relevant in-vivo studies were identified on the effect of these compounds on bone. Eight were animal studies and three were randomized control trials (RCT) in human.
    RESULTS: There are two classes of PUFA designated as n-3 and n-6 with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These two different types of PUFA differently influence prostaglandin formation and hence modulate bone metabolism differently. These are several in vitro and animal data suggesting that diet with a low n-6/n-3 ratio may have beneficial effects on bone mineral density. Only three, short-term, small studies have been performed in human so far. Two studies, one performed with bone markers and one with bone density showed a positive effect of PUFA on bone. While a third study showed no effect.
    CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary, data have suggested that a diet with a low n-6/n-3 ratio may have beneficial effects on bone mineral density. Further studies are, however, required to fully assess the dose and type of PUFA to be used for optimum bone effects. This may be useful particularly for the prevention of disease in the elderly, since a diet rich in n-3 PUFA has been shown to have additional benefit on the cardiovascular, central nervous system and joints.

    By Albertazzi Paola; Coupland Keith
    Centre for Metabolic Bone Disease, H. S Brocklehurst Building, Hull
    Royal Infirmary, 220-236 Anlaby Road, HU3 2RW, Hull, UK
    Maturitas; 42 (1) p13-22
    May 20 2002

    3. New study on Omega-3 and depression

    Fish consumption and self-reported physical and mental health status.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess whether self-reported mental health status, measured using the SF-36 questionnaire, was associated with fish consumption, assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire.
    DESIGN: The cross-national data were collected in the 1996/97 New Zealand Health Survey and 1997 Nutrition Survey, which were conducted using the same sampling frame. Survey respondents were categorised into those who consumed no fish of any kind and those who consumed some kind of fish, at any frequency. Data were adjusted for age, household income, eating patterns, alcohol use and smoking. Other demographic variables and potential confounding nutrients were included in the preliminary analyses but were not found to have a significant relationship with fish consumption.
    SUBJECTS: Data from a nationally representative sample of 4644 New Zealand adults aged 15 years and over were used in this analysis.
    RESULTS: Fish consumption was significantly associated with higher self-reported mental health status, even after adjustment for possible confounders. Differences between the mean scores for fish eaters and those who never eat fish were 8.2 for the Mental Health scale and 7.5 for the Mental Component score. Conversely, the association between fish consumption and physical functioning was in the opposite direction.
    CONCLUSIONS: This is the first cross-sectional survey to demonstrate a significant relationship between fish intake and higher self-reported mental health status, therefore offering indirect support for the hypothesis that
    omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may act as mood stabilisers.

    By Silvers Karen M; Silvers Karen M; Scott Kate M
    Private Bag 11600, Palmerston North, New Zealand:, Wellington School of
    Medicine, New Zealand.
    Public health nutrition; 5 (3) p427-32
    Jun 2002

  17. I just picked some hemp oil up today.

    I've always used flax and hate the taste....so I though I'd try this instead. Now, I'm not so sure flax was all that bad

    What does the fish oil taste like.......?

    Does it do okay in a shake?

  18. yeah and most of the studies showing the beneficial effects of 0-3s use fish oil and not flax. I still think flax has its place though. I stopped using the oil a while back but i still throw some ground up linseeds into my home made MRP for the lignans. works well.

  19. Sears makes a liquid fish oil (omega rx) that is pharmacuetical grade. Looks good but is expensive. I think fish oil concentrate is supposed to be better than health food grade fish oil while pharmaceutical grade is the best. http://www.cardioresults.com/

  20. Cod oil is a great sorce of the active oils, but it also contains large amounts of vitamins A and D, which are fat-soluable. Geting yoo much of these m which is not hard, can have bad consequences.

  21. Very true Custom

  22. yeah , especially when the whether is hot , ure supposed to go easy on the cod liver oil caps as excessive vit D in the body isnt healthy .
    a few things about fish oil though :
    its better than flax becos caffine(cola, coffee) prevents the flax from converting into EPA ,fish oil is a better choice at this point .
    side effects seems to be the increase in clotting time and affect the immune response (decrease it). [the side effect part was taken from haycock's site , am not too sure myself) .

  23. Flax is rich in Omega 3's but also has the Omega 6 and Omega 9.

    I just bought 300 capsules of fish oil at Sams for about 6 bucks

    I hear Barlean's is a good brand of flax.

    I would have to go with the fish-oil as a better bet, only b/c of the exclusive use of Omega-3, which we don't usually get from our diet.
    Last edited by derekmac; 06-27-2003 at 06:27 PM.
  24. Twin Labs

    TL makes a couple very good fish-based omega 3 products in liquid form:Emulsified Liq. Omega 3 12 oz. retail 13.95 , and Emulsified Super Max EPA , 12 oz. retail 17.95. Both are mint flavored and very tolerable. During the winter months I always use reg. TL cod liver oil liquid, then switch to one of these during warmer times of the year. I believe Barry Sears of The Zone fame was the first nutrition writer in the early- mid 90's that informed the public that using fish oil instead of flax oil was the way to go, simply put, since the fish has already done the conversion for you, why use flax, with it's complicated bio-chemical gymnastics necessary to make it usable in the first place?


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