Saturday, September 12, 2009

Flaxseed Vs. Fish Oil>>>

For long time nutrition specialists have debated whether the omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed oil is the better source for these essential unsaturated fatty acids than that of the fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are a kind of unsaturated fatty acids that are considered as essential fatty acids to humans. These fatty acids are essential for our health, but the problem is that our body cannot synthesize these essential nutrients and therefore we need an external food source for these fatty acids.

Flaxseed oil is obtained from the seeds of the flax plant contains substances that are required for good health. This oil is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is an essential fatty acid that is beneficial for several acute diseases like heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and also a variety of other severe health conditions. On the other hand, fish oil is the excellent source of two long-chain crucial fatty acids, eicosa-pentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosa-hexaenoic acid (DHA) which are known as the omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil contain omega-3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a precursor to the therapeutic eicosa-pentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosa-hexaenoic acid (DHA) fatty acids found in fish oil.

Our bodies have to convert alpha-linolenic acid to eicosa-pentaenoic acid and docosa-hexaenoic acid to get the full benefits of these healthful fatty acids from flaxseed oil. Researchers are concerned about this conversion process in our body and not sure how efficient this process is. Recently a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition throws some light on this ongoing issue. Researchers compared the effects of flaxseed oil and fish oil on a group of 62 firefighters in a controlled manner. Firefighters were selected as the study group for the reason that they have elevated risk of heart diseases. Blood tests showed that a 12 week period of daily doses of either 2.4 or 3.6 g of flaxseed oil, or 1.2 g of fish oil, resulted in a similar levels of therapeutic omega-3 fatty acids in the blood stream. The researchers concluded from the study that flaxseed oil is indeed an effective source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

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