Plant Verses Animal Based Omega Threes

Different Types of Omega 3’s?

What kind of Omega 3 fatty acids are we looking to get when we take supplements?  We are looking for the type of fatty acids that our body can use and that will benefit us the most.  The types we want specifically are EPA and DHA.  Whenever you are considering any source of Omega 3’s you should always be aware that you are trying to get EPA and DHA as the end result, without these you are not getting the increase in health that you would be taking a supplement for.

Plant Omega 3’s

Plants do contain omega 3’s, but not the ones we are looking for above (EPA/DHA).  Rather they are good sources of ALA, a type of fatty acid found in flaxseed oil.  While you may think you are getting larger doses of Omega 3’s with a flaxseed oil, it is not true because of the following reason.  We do not break down ALA very well and get very little EPA/DHA from consuming it.  The specific reason is because we don’t have the enzyme in our body to break it down effectively (delta-6-desaturase is the name of the enzyme if you like chemistry :))  Because of this fact you are much better off to injest EPA/DHA directly in a form your body can use.

Animal Omega 3’s

The best way to make sure you are getting EPA/DHA is to consume them directly and one way to insure you do this is to take Fish oil.  Since the animals that are used to make a good fish oil are genetically programmed to make the desired fatty acids we mentioned above. (unlike us)


In the battle to stay healthy the clear choice for your best source of EPA/DHA fatty acids is definitely Fish oil.  The conversion rates from plant fatty acids are too low to justify spending money on flax as a viable option when concerned with these essential fatty acids.  It pays to remember that they are called essential because you need them to be healthy, but you are unable to make them; you have to consume them.

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