Hemp seed oil vs fish oil! Why should I choose one over the other and which one is better for me?
If you are asking these questions, then you have come to the right place – this article. Here we go into depth about the benefits of both oils and why one might be a better alternative than the other for you and your family.
What we know about fish oil
Fish oil is obtained from the tissues of “oily” fish (such as sardines, salmon, tuna, anchovies etc.), it contains omega-3 fatty acids and two other fatty acids called EPA and DHA, Which have shown to contribute to better heart and brain health. Fish do not have naturally occurring omega 3 fatty acids, but they accumulate it by feeding other fish that have stored these omegas, and other micro-algae in their tissue. Fish just like us, also have the ability to convert their plant-based sources of omega 3 into EPA and DHA.
Wild caught and farmed fish all over the world are known to be contaminated with dangerous toxins such as Mercury, Dioxins and PCB’s. Therefore, the British Government Food Standards Agency and others publish public warnings to limit the amount of fish eaten, especially in pregnant women.
Hemp Oil vs Fish Oil – straight up
Fish Oil Supplements –
Although fish farming has its downsides like risk or pollutants and toxins associated with mercury and plastic. Good genuine sources of fish oil can be a great option for a short term boost of EPA and DHA which the body cannot produce. Our body has a natural mechanism that converts plant sources of fat like Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) into EPA and DHA, so if we supplement these fats our body naturally converts we can switch off these natural mechanisms by oversupplying the body with EPA and DHA, making it harder for the body to take this process back over if we stop supplementing.
Fish oil can often contain unstable ratios of omega 3 & 6, often seven times more than the daily required intake which can have negative health consequences. Compared to the perfect ratio (1:4) found in hemp seed oil.
A study on plant-based fat conversion was carried out on fish that are farmed for human consumption, showed that farmed fish that were fed with fish feed required increased supplementation of algae oils and algae extracts to increase their EPA and DHA content, where access to their natural diet of smaller algae feeding fish and plant materials were limited.
Hemp seed oil as a food –
Although hemp seed oil doesn’t contain EPA and DHA (non-essential fatty acids) which are found in fish naturally, our body can convert the plant-based source of omega 3 ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) which is found in hemp, into EPA and DHA. Hemp seed oil boasts a perfect ratio of 4:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 polyunsaturated fats.
Hemp seed oil is not so much of a supplement in our eye’s but an easy platform to boost the number of polyunsaturated fats in our food. It is important to add these plant-based omega 3 and 6’s into our diet to ensure we help our body maintain its natural process of converting plant-based essential fatty acids into the much needed EPA and DHA that brain needs, but we cannot produce.
Previous studies have shown that the conversion of these fats is not very effective, and has an efficacy of around 1%. These studies were performed most likely on the standard American diet that has an already unbalanced ratio of omega 6 to 3 fatty acid consumption of 16:1 which potentially decreases the efficiency of these essential fatty acid conversions.
What increases our DHA and EPA conversion from hemp seed oil?
Cofactors are nutrients that increase the conversion of plant-based fats into EPA and DHA.
What cofactors can help the conversion?
- vitamins: B6, B12, biotin, niacin, folinic acid
- minerals: zinc, magnesium, and selenium.
- Leafy greens
- Nuts and seeds
An important cofactor to increase the plant-based essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil is Tumeric. Tumeric can increase the effectiveness of essential fatty conversion from the plant-based (ALA) to EPA and DHA by up to 50%. Not only does this increase the conversion rate but it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory duo that is great for joints, and guts health when absorbed into the Gut wall.
What we know about hemp seed oil.
Hemp Seed Oil is fast becoming a hot topic for health and wellness advocates in Australia, the hemp food industry in the U.S, Canada and Europe has been slowly expanding from the shadows since 1998. It is fast becoming a mainstream superfood for those willing to dodge the stigma that surrounds hemp as a food and start adopting this all natural plant-based seed oil as part of their daily health optimization.
So what makes hemp seed oil so good, and what do we know about it?
- Hemp seed offers a perfect ratio of 1:4 essential fatty acids omega 3 & 6, which is crucial for brain and heart health.
- Hemp seed oil is a great source of bioavailable vitamins and minerals.
- Has naturally occurring vitamin D, which is vital for calcium absorption. Great for vegans and vegetarians
- It contains beneficial amounts of the omega 6 Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA) and 238% of your AI* Adequate intake of plant-based omega 3 (ALA).
- Hemp is a sustainable crop that helps reduce our carbon footprint and return nutrients to the soil that it is grown in. This is great for Australian agriculture.
Hemp seed oil overall, is a plant-based, all natural and sustainable source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Industrial hemp crops have a positive impact on the environment as they do not require any nasty chemicals, herbicides or pesticides during the cultivation process.
The omega 6 (GLA) found in hemp seed oil restricts the production of blood inflammatory markers which amongst other things result in joint pain and soreness, making it ideal for those that suffer arthritis, as well as significantly reducing systems of eczema, acne, and psoriasis.
Hemp seed oil also contains the highest total phenolic content and antioxidant activity compared other plant-based oils, (except for pumpkin seed oil). Naturally occurring phenolic compounds are known to play a vital role in reducing the risk of cancer, relieving chronic inflammation, and acting as a powerful antioxidant by promoting free radical elimination.
The question stands, is plant based omega 3 enough? Plant-based oils are the source of omega fatty acids including grass-fed animals harvested for meat, if you are in need of an EPA and DHA boost, then fish oil supplementation has you covered. Always to be sure to find an ethical natural source of fish oil, don’t just buy the cheapest one you can find without knowing where it comes from.
Hemp seed oil is a superior source of plant-based omega 3 and 6 and carries far less risk with environmental impact and potential toxins. If you are looking to restore or maintain the bodies natural fat conversion process through all natural food, grab a bottle of Australian grown hemp seed oil, you won’t regret it!