Fish oil: friend or foe? Part 2
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids
In our previous blogpost we explained how slowly researchers came to the realization that omega-3 fats play a vital role in our body. Below we explain why we are no fans of omega-3 fish oil products, and, therefore, do not sell them. Our advice here is to get the most out of eating fish or shellfish. Should this cause problems, krill oil is your best bet.
Natural omega-3-rich foods such as mother milk or fatty fish are more bio-effective than fish oil capsules because they have a superior absorption profile. One of the reasons for this is the position of omega-3 fatty acids on the glycerol backbone, of which there are three: sn-1, sn-2 and sn-3. In food sources such as fatty fish they are mainly found at the middle, sn-2, position. If one processes and refines fish oil, a large proportion shifts from the sn-2 to the sn-1 or sn-3 positions.
The shift results in the oil becoming less stable and more susceptible to decay. Bioavailability, that is, absorption, is also affected by this shift of DHA and EPA to the outer positions. Fish oil omega-3 fatty acids are less digestible, less easily absorbed and less active in the central nervous system (the brain) than are sn-2 omega-3 fatty acids
The body positively loves DHA: the more you eat, the more it is collected in tissues. This is a continuous but slow process. After eating oily fish fatty acids, they are still found in the blood after 3 days. Whether this is similar with fish oil, which rather causes a single fast peak in the blood, is not well understood. But there are reasons to believe it plays a substantive role.
Omega-3 fatty acids in their natural package
In addition to the positions of the fatty acids, one reason why eating fish is superior is the evolutionary composition that omega-3 fatty acids are normally co-delivered in. Fish oil is highly refined, and just like refined foods, misses important natural co-components. This results in vital metabolic properties being affected.
The natural, evolutionary package of omega-3 fatty acids consists of protein (meat and collagen), selenium, zinc, iron, iodine, phospholipids, and so on. It seems that by itself, the oil portion is no match for this interplay. The body expects real food with additional (micro-)nutrients to assimilate it and incorporate it into the body.
Alternatives for omega-3 fish oil
Krill oil has a favorable share of omega-3 fatty acids on the SN-2 position. Phospholipids and astaxanthin deliver part of the natural package. This makes krill oil a superior supplement choice than does fish oil. Rosita’s Extra Virgin Cod is minimally processed and given its preservation of the natural essence, also has its fatty acids predominantly in the SN-2 position. Of note, Green Pasture’s natural fermentation process hardly affects this specific property.
Many of the biochemical mechanisms and functions of omega-3 fatty acids in the body are known, but with his 2013 publication “A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signaling throughout evolution”, professor Michael A. Crawford has opened a new chapter on DHA.
In summary: for over 600 million years DHA has been essential for evolution in the animal kingdom. The unique molecular structure of DHA provides it with quantum properties. The fundamental function of DHA, then, is not found in biochemistry, but in physics. Converting light into energy and vice versa is the basic task of this fatty acid. DHA thus seems to work as an electron tunneling device that converts light into usable energy for the body!
Side note: Omega-3 supplementation
We are not anti-fish oil; we simply believe that there are better alternatives. Depending on personal situation, fish oil is sometimes better than nothing. This blogpost is intended to alert you as a reader to the differences so you can make an informed choice. Regularly eating oily fish or shellfish remains the way to go. I need of extra omega-3s? In our opinion krill oil or minimally processed cod liver oil will be your best choices.