Most people interested in the natural health sciences and in improving the quality of their lives have heard about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil capsules or flax seed oil. There is a lot of confusion about the difference between the two and whether fish oil is better than flax oil or not. Here are three things you must know before you make a decision which one to buy.

1. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate a diet high in omega 3s by eating plenty of fatty fish daily. They didn't cultivate flax seeds and make flax seed oil. Most of the studies done on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids that have proven the benefits of these fats for our health have been done with molecularly distilled fish oil capsules and not with flax seed oil.

2. Polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 supplements made from fatty fish contain DHA and EPA, which are the omega-3 fatty acids are bodies were made to eat in exactly the form they were made to eat them. Flax seed oil, on the other hand, contains neither DHA nor EPA. It contains a different omega-3 fatty acid known as a ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid.

3. Fish oil has been proven to provide many health benefits, such as higher good cholesterol, lower triglycerides, improved mental function and reduced inflammation. These benefits are entirely attributable to the fatty acids DHA (especially in depression and cognitive parameters) and EPA (particularly suited to inflammation). ALA, the omega-3 fatty acid found in flax seed oil, has never been proven to have any of these positive effects. ALA can be converted to EPA in the body and EPA can then be converted into DHA. But what flax seed oil companies don't tell you is that ALA is not very effective at all at increasing the level of DHA and EPA in the body. In one study done by the National Institute Of Health, it was shown that only 0.2% of the ALA in flax oil was actually converted into EPA. Of that, 23% was converted into DHA. Which for practical purposes means zero.

Furthermore, ALA only stays in your blood for about an hour whereas EPA and DHA can be detected in your blood by blood testing. For DHA, the half-life is 20 hours and for EPA it's 67 hours! So DHA/EPA capsules keep working for you for several days after you take them.

So the conclusion is obvious. Anybody who is interested in improving his or her health by taking omega-3 fatty acids should be taking a high-quality, pure, pharmaceutical grade fish oil in capsule form. This is the most effective and actually the cheapest investment.

Author's Bio: 

Sector rotator. Natural health and biophysics devotee. I enjoy mountaineering, baguazhang, learning interesting things and the music of Piazzolla.

Get more in-depth self-improvement information please read my blog at life sucks, or check out my post at benefits of green tea.