Fish oil and omega-3, are the ultimate healthy food components names that help your body prevent numerous diseases. However, people get confused as they are similar.
Fish oil is a type of oil, whereas omega-3 is a type of fatty acid. Both have distinct structural and component differences. Furthermore, fish oil produces two types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA, while the three types of omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA (DHA). Hence, both are different things with some similar impact on your body functions.
To understand these terminologies better we can define them individually.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is fat or oil derived from fish tissues. It is typically extracted from oily fish like herring, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel. However, It is also occasionally made from the livers of other fish, such as cod liver oil.
Fish, in reality, do not produce omega 3. These fish get it from eating prey fish and microalgae rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
What is Omega-3 Fatty Acid?
Omega-3 fatty acid is a type of fat that is especially polyunsaturated. It comes in three forms: ALA, EPA, and DHA. DHA and EPA are found in fish such as cod, sardines, and others.
In contrast, ALA can be obtained from vegetable oils such as canola or soybean oil. Walnuts and flaxseeds are also sources of ALA. Today, omega-3 supplements are available that deliver all three of these components.
Furthermore, omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that lowers triglyceride levels in the body, reducing the probability of death, heart attack, and stroke.
Similarities Between Fish Oil & Omega-3
Both fish oil and omega-3 benefit humans in multiple ways. It also aids in cardiac rhythm regulation, reducing the risk of arrhythmia and atherosclerosis.
Overall, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is one of the world’s most common causes of death. The elements of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids also act as anti-inflammatories. As a result, it can enhance one’s memory and mental abilities.
Major Difference Between Fish Oil & Omega-3
When we talk about fish oil and omega-3, the most significant difference is their source. Omega-3 can be obtained from either fish or plant-based sources including vegetable oils, walnuts, flaxseed, dark leafy greens, etc.
Moreover, fish oil only contains DHA and EPA, while omega-3 consists of DHA, EPA, and ALA. Hence, omega-3 fatty acids have benefits of three-major types of components that are necessary for bodily function.
Since fish oil is a common term for oils derived from fish tissue, omega-3 refers to a specific kind of fatty acid that is necessary for our health and well-being but that our bodies cannot develop.
The Bottom Line
Fish oil and omega-3 are not the exact same thing. They share similar health benefits that led most people to believe they are identical. Omega-3 is sourced from fish oil and also has vegetarian substitutes. Whereas, fish oil can’t have any substitute for vegetarians.
Taking fish oil supplements or eating a diet that includes oily fish can help increase the amount of fish oil you consume. However, there really is no substitute for taking omega-3 supplements.