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What's the Difference Between Fish Oils vs. Omega-3 vs. DHA/EPA?

Posted on May 10 2017

What is the difference between "fish oils" and omega-3 or even omega-6 or 9 and DHA/EPA?

Think of "fish oils" as the broad category of healthy fats from fish protein (the most dense source of healthy fats, yet these can also be found in plants such as avocados).

Within this category of fish oils are the different types fatty acids such as omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9.

Finally, DHA and EPA are two of the most valuable types of the omega-3 fatty acids.

So, fish oils is the broad category - of which the omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids are a a part of. The most scientifically/generally beneficial fatty acid from fish for human consumption is omega-3, of which DHA and EPA are the most scientifically/generally beneficial fatty acids for human consumption.

What can fish oils do for me?

Fish oils support overall health and disease prevention. Specifically, they help lower bad choloesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease as well as play a large role in your neurological health by promoting brain development and cognition and reducing the risk of disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Should I take a fish oil supplement?

Because the benefits of healthy fats from fish oils are so diverse, many do benefit from taking a fish oil supplement. However, it might not be necessary for everyone.

People who probably don't need to take fish oil have a diet with adequate intake of EPA and DHA from fish such as cold-water salmon or tuna, they also have no family history of heart disease or Alzheimer's or other related diseases. In addition, they have no environmental factors that may elevate the risk of disease.

People who might benefit from taking fish oil may have a diet of healthy fats, yet may not be getting enough. They also may have a family history of heart disease or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. They also may be subject to environmental factors that may increase the risk of disease.

Because of the diversity in healthful affects from fish oils, many supplement companies will enhance the targeted benefit from fish oils in their formulations, by adding things like niacin to promote the cardiovascular health affects of an omega-3 supplement or by addiing things like ginko biloba to an omega-3 formulation designed more for brain and cognitive function.

Brad Glocke is the Co-Founder of Harmonía, a wellness company. He lives with his wife, Kristina, an ACSM certified personal trainer, and his two children in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He holds a Masters degree from the University of Wisconsin. More information about Harmonía can be found at Brad also hosts a brand new podcast, called the Mind Vitamin Podcast (MVP), which is available on iTunes and Stitcher.



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