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Flaxseed Oil Vs. Fish Oil: Know Their Benefits and Side Effects

Flaxseed Oil Vs. Fish Oil
There is a great debate on the basis of effectiveness, when it comes to flaxseed oil and fish oil. Here is detailed information on the same.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Nov 01, 2018
Flaxseed oil, also known as linseed oil, is the oil that is extracted from flax seeds when they are pressed. On the other hand, fish oil is the oil extracted from the tissues of an oily fish. The fish-liver oil is derived from the livers of some fish. Supplements of flaxseed oil and fish oil are taken by many people for health benefits.
Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oil?
When talking about the similarities between the two, we find that both, flaxseed oil and fish oil, are equally rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. But, the major difference between the two is that flaxseed oil contains only alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); whereas fish oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Now that we know the major similarity and difference between the two, let us now take a look at the two types of oils in detail.
Flaxseed Oil
One of the most prominent properties of flaxseed oil is that it dries when exposed to air and becomes very hard. Hence, it is also known as drying oil. When the high amount of esters in flaxseed oil come in contact with the oxygen in the air, they lead to a polymerization reaction, which results in hardening of the oil.
This is a very useful property of flaxseed oil; and nearly all its applications are based on this property of the oil.
Benefits of Flaxseed Oil
It is used as a paint binder and for making putty. The most widely used benefit of this oil is that it is used as a natural supplement for various health benefits. It is a rich source of omega 3 essential fatty acids and has various cardiovascular health benefits. It helps a patient to overcome constipation; lower blood pressure; soften skin and many more.
Side Effects of Flaxseed Oil
Apart from the benefits, there are also numerous side effects of linseed oil. It is considered carcinogenic, and the person can be on a high risk of breast cancer if the oil is consumed in large quantity. People consuming flaxseed oil may also suffer from allergic reactions. Loose motions or flatulence are also common side effects associated with this oil.
Fish Oil
Oil extracted from fish or the fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids; Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Herring, sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon are the fish that contain high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is used by people all over the world to get the essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Benefits of Fish Oil
Fish oil reduces chances of cancers like breast cancer or prostate cancer. It is beneficial in improving the overall immune system of the person. Fish oil supplements are also given for better and proper functioning of the brain. There are several beneficial effects of fish oil on the heart, as it helps in maintaining proper cardiovascular health.
Side Effects of Fish Oil
Some fish species, may contain high level of toxic substances like heavy metals and mercury. Stomach upset, indigestion and heartburn are the other common side effects of fish oil. Sometimes, people also experience nausea or bloating or the taste of fish in the mouth.
However, the occurrence of side effects may be rare as the toxins in these fish are filtered using advanced methods.
After knowing the benefits and side effects of both, flaxseed oil and fish oil, it is difficult to judge which is better. They both have equal number of benefits and side effects. Therefore, one cannot come to any unanimous conclusion. It is wise to consult the doctor before using either of these on a daily basis. Take care!