Omega-3 fatty acids are chains of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon atoms. They are polyunsaturated in nature which means that their chemical structure has many double bonds. These fatty acids cannot be produced by the human body and are required to be part of every healthy diet. As a result, they are known as essential fatty acids. Unlike many other fatty acids which are just stored in the body for producing energy, omega-3s play some important roles in several body processes, like brain function, heart health, and inflammation. Omega-3 deficiency is linked to depression, lower intelligence, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and several other health problems.
Fish oil supplements are now very commonly used by professional athletes, bodybuilders as well as people who want to improve their health in a safe and efficient manner. Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids along with other ingredients. However, both these terms are so deeply related that they are very commonly interchanged for one another.
Let us try to understand the differences between omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil in detail along with the differences between fish oil capsules and liquid, and wild salmon oil and fish oil in this post.
Omega 3 vs Fish Oil
In simple words, omega-3 is a fatty acid while fish oil is just oil. Right from the components to the structure, everything is different between the two.
Omega-3 fatty acids are of many different types. However, not all the various types of omega-3 are equal. They can be divided into 11 different types, and three of the most beneficial ones are DHA, EPA, and ALA. DHA and EPA are commonly found in fatty fishes, like sardines, cod, etc. and are essential ingredients of any fish oil supplement. ALA is commonly found in plants and can also be extracted from flax seeds and walnuts.
On the other hand, fish oil is just an oil which is produced from tissues and fat cells of fishes. It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, the oil derived from fishes only contains EPA and DHA and not ALA. As a matter of fact, the fishes themselves do not produce these two types of omega-3 fatty acids in their body. The microalgae and prey fish that the fishes, like sardines and cod eat, contains these fatty acids.
Fish oil supplements are commonly available in capsule and liquid form. There is also a growing debate as to which type of fish oil supplement is more beneficial. As the fish oil vs. omega 3 differences are now understood, in the next part, let us try to find out which type of fish oil supplement is more beneficial.
Fish Oil Capsules vs. Liquid
Several popular supplement manufacturers now offer fish oil supplements. While some manufacture them in the capsule form, others offer them in the liquid form. So what is better?
Both the capsule and liquid form have their advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits and disadvantages of Fish Oil Capsules
Advantages – A significant number of people prefer swallowing flavorless, odorless fish oil capsules as compared to consuming the liquid form of the supplement which is reviewed negatively for its strong flavor. Apart from being easy to consume, the airtight capsules minimize the oxidation risk and increase the shelf life of the supplement. With capsules, taking daily dosage is far simpler as compared to the liquid form of this supplement.
Also, a lot of people who use fish oil supplement suffer from side effects, like sour stomach, heartburn, and diarrhea. Capsules delay the release of fish oil in the body due to which the total amount of time that the fish oil spends inside the stomach is reduced along with chances of developing these side-effects. Also, if the capsules are stored in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before consuming, increased amount of the fish oil is released in the lower intestine and not in the stomach. This again minimizes the chances of developing any side-effects.
Disadvantages – A lot of people are allergic to the capsules which are made from substances similar to gelatin. Many of the companies make use of body parts from cows and pigs for making these capsules which make them non-kosher. A lot of people avoid consuming such ingredients.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Fish Oil Liquid
Advantages – People who do not prefer swallowing capsules prefer fish oil supplement in liquid form. It is the poor taste and smell of this liquid due to which most of the people prefer consuming capsules. However, as the filtering and refinement procedures have improved substantially, the liquid supplements are now much better in taste. Moreover, some companies that add in flavors and sweeteners to make the product more palatable. One can also mix the liquid supplement in their salad or juice to readily consume it.
Also, one is required to consume multiple supplements to get the same amount of EPA and DHA that you can get from a single teaspoon of liquid fish oil supplement.
Disadvantages – When a liquid fish oil supplement is opened, it is very susceptible to going rancid. The oxidation expedites due to the exposure to air, heat, and light. Because of this, the benefits of EPA and DHA which one can get from the supplement are severely reduced. Moreover, if the exposure is severe, the supplement can also result in a wide range of side-effects, like gastrointestinal problems, belching, and aftertaste. Thus, it is highly recommended that once opened; liquid fish oil supplements should be stored in a dry, dark place.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with both, the liquid as well as the capsule form of fish oil supplement. Depending on the preferences one can make the right decision. If you do not mind consuming multiple pills in a day, the capsule form can be an excellent choice. And if you can only manage a single dosage in a day, fish oil supplement in the liquid form should be the preferred option.
Apart from the capsule and liquid form, fish oils supplements of many different types are also available in the market and one of the most popular ones is wild salmon oil. Let us understand the differences between wild salmon oil and fish oil.
Wild Salmon Oil vs. Fish Oil
Fish Oil – Fish oil is very popular due to the high amount of EPA and DHA. This oil is derived from many different types of fishes, like sardines, mackerel, herring, cod, etc. The purification standards used and the type of fish from which the oil is derived determine the quality of the fish oil. Fish oil supplements are now very commonly used by people due to the amazing health benefits that the omega-3 fatty acids in it can offer.
Wild Salmon Oil – As compared to standard fish oil, wild salmon oil has higher amounts of EPA and DHA. Wild salmon belongs to the Salmonidae family of fishes and are known for their higher fat content which means a greater proportion of EPA and DHA. Apart from the benefits offered by standard fish oil, wild salmon oil is also very effective in increasing the HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the body.
Difference between Fish Oil and Wild Salmon Oil
The significant difference between the two oils is the amount of EPA and DHA and their source. As mentioned above, the amount of EPA and DHA in wild salmon oil is higher in wild salmon oil as compared to standard fish oil. Apart from omega-3, salmon oil is also an excellent source omega-6, which again is beneficial for the body.
Some of the reports suggest that fish oil derived from fishes like cod and tuna contains omega-3 which is lower than 15% of what a human body needs on a daily basis, whereas, the salmon oil contains more than 80%. Apart from the omega-3s, wild salmon oil also contains some other nutrients which benefit the body in several ways.
While fish oil is an excellent choice, if the amount of EPA and DHA is taken into consideration, wild salmon is a better option. But be it fish oil supplement or wild salmon oil supplement, when buying make sure that you select a reputed brand to ensure that the supplement can deliver the desired results without producing any severe side-effects.
Now that you know a lot more about fish oil vs. omega-3 and fish oil supplements go through our Best Fish Oil Supplements Reviews page to pick an efficient and safe fish oil supplement that can provide you with some health benefits. Apart from this, we have also reviewed some of the best creatine, fat burners, and pre-workout supplements too on our website.