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Question
Posted by: Alf | 2003/02/16

Salmon oil v. Flaxseed oil

As one of my food supplements to help my osteo-arthritis I take a 1000mg capsule of salmon oil each day, for its Omega 3 content. Someone pointed out to me that concern has been expressed about concentrated toxins in salmon livers from certain areas, and that flaxseed oil is the safer option. I emailed Vital healthfoods (who market the salmon oil capsules) for their comments a few weeks ago but they didn't bother to reply. What are your views on the subject and how much flaxseed oil has the same Omega 3 content as salmon oil? I'd be grateful for your advice.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Alf
I would think that a product like the Salmon Oil which is made under very strict Quality Control, would be tested for contaminants such as heavy metals which I think you are referring to. The Salmon oil is still the best source of the most important omega-3 fatty acids, namely DHA and EPA. If you take flaxseed oil (which could theoretically be contaminated with pesticides and herbicides!), it contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body will have to convert to DHA and EPA. I can't say what quantity of ALA is required to produce the same amount of DHA and EPA as is found in a 1000mg capsule of the salmon oil, but because of the need for conversion, I would surmise that you would need to take large doses.
Best regards
DietDoc

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