Should I Consume Omega-3 or Fish Oil To Optimize My Health?

Should I Consume Omega-3 or Fish Oil To Optimize My Health?

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In this solo podcast episode, Corinna Bellizzi responds to community questions around what the best sources of omega-3 are, from plant-based to fish, and even meat sources. You'll learn why the particular omega-3's EPA and DHA can be harder to get from diet alone, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.

00:00 Introduction

01:45 What are essential fatty acids?

03:30 Why do I need to balance my omega-6:omega-3 ratio?

04:30 What are common sources of omega-6s and why am I getting too much of them?

06:25 The problem posed by a diet rich in seed oils like canola, corn, and safflower and legume oils like soy and peanut

07:53 Algae provides a direct source of EPA and DHA (fish get their omega-3 from algae)

09:00 Why do I get fishy burps with fish oil even other algae oils? (hint - it's the form of the oil)

11:00 How do I reduce my omega-6s while increasing my omega-3s?

12:24 What about omega-9s from olive oil or avocado oil? Are they essential and healthy?

13:25 Why do I need to avoid partially hydrogenated or fully hydrogenated oils (AKA Trans Fats)?

17:29 Why you should lean towards whole foods and away from highly processed foods

18:00 Exceptions to the "seed oil" avoidance rule

19:15 The case for daily supplementation of the omega-3s EPA and DHA in the polar lipid form

21:15 Unique offer for Nutrition Without Compromise listeners -- plus details of our holiday bundle -- including Immunity Boost!

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

About Our Host, Corinna Bellizzi: 
Corinna Bellizzi, MBA is an omega-3 expert who pioneered the growth of Nordic Naturals to over $100 million in annual sales. Given her concern for health of people and the planet, she shifted her focus from fish-sourced omegas to algae in 2016. Today she leads Örlö Nutrition, a new algae brand that features the world’s first carbon-negative omega-3s. Örlö Nutrition grows their algae in pristine water in Iceland, in a controlled environment, optimized with AI and principles of circularity. She hosts a podcast, Nutrition Without Compromise, covering health topics without compromising your ethics, or the health of our home planet.

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Should I Consume Omega-3 or Fish Oil To Optimize My Health?

 Nutrition Without Compromise: Should I consume omega-3 or fish oil to optimize my health? Pictured is a mackerel with a softgel in its mouth.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Nutrition Without Compromise. I'm your host, Corinna Bellizzi, and today we're going to do something a little different as we dig into an episode that is really rooted. And sharing my knowledge of omega threes as I respond to several, ask me anything questions that we've received since the launch of, Örlö Nutrition.

The entire theme of this episode is really around a single question. Should I take fish oils or should I take omega three? What really is the difference? To answer this question, we first have to talk about what dietary fats. What they do and why getting more Omega3 is so beneficial to your overall health.

We're going to start there. So this episode will be one part informational, one part answer of community questions that we've received along the way with this early phase launch of Örlö Nutrition and really a discussion on what forms of fats are most needed, how you can attain your best overall health.

So let's start with this one simple question as we dive into the subject.

What are essential fatty acids?
And why should I care? Why should I really be concerned with them with getting enough omega threes, sixes. Are nines essential? Okay, so let's start with the essentials. Omega-3 and omega six fatty acids are two classes of fats that are considered essential.

This means that your body cannot produce them even if you had all of the right building blocks in your body itself. So you need to consume them in your diet each day in order to achieve your best. Now omega threes, they actually help you to create these anti-inflammatory leukotrienes and prostaglandins.This is part of the function of how they work. Your body gets to these particular anti-inflammatory actors through a multiple process standpoint. So you need to have enzymes that break down plant-based omega-3, alpha linolenic acid, to get to the EPA and DHA that are so heavily researched to promote health.

But why do these fats, EPA and DHA do such incredible work in your body? 
Really, this gets back to what's already in our diet and what we see is a case where, for the most part, we consume far more omega sixes, the other essential fat. So the other essential fat class, the omega sixes, they actually help you to build proinflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes.

Follow @orlonutrition on Instagram and TikTok for more educational shorts.

Why balancing your omega-6:omega-3 ratio is critical
These essentially act in your system to help your body heal when you have an inflammatory event. That could be as simple as stubbing your toe or getting a bruise on your arm, and your body needs to know to send the white blood cells to the right places to send your T cells and get them into action to ultimately defend your immune system.

This particular action of these two essential fats is something that's absolutely critical to have in balance. And the challenge today is that we consume 15 times more omega sixes than we consume omega threes. This has mostly come out of industrial agriculture, the industrialization of our society, really building foods that are shelf stable and easy to grab and go.

The reason we don't get enough omega-3 in our diets
Omega threes. Generally speaking, the reason that they aren't in our diets the way that they might have been in the long distance past is because of the fact that they aren't quite as shelf stable and they aren't also as present in as many of the foods that we eat today. Certain oils have been refined to actually reduce the content of omega threes and improve their shelf stability.

The problem of overconsuming seed oils
So those seed oils that you buy on the shelves to cook with that are considered to be stable, have a high flash point, be able to, uh, go ahead and cook with them under high temperature like corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil on down the line. They're all very, very high on omega sixes and completely replete of omega threes because they've been refined.

And so ultimately what this does is means that you fry food, you cook with oils, you make baked goods with oils, and guess what? You're getting more omega sixes. And if we think too about the foods that we feed are animals... we feed our animals grains like corn, like soy, things that are easy to mass produce, and which we've put a lot of subsidies behind to grow so that we can produce them cheaply, which then means that the confined animal feed lots that are out there creating massive meat that we can consume on a weekly basis.

They're also higher in omega six. If on the other hand you were to have hunted buffalo or even currently hunt deer, you would find that the omega-3 to omega six balance in those animals themselves are actually closer to a one to one because they're grazing on multiple types of grasses. They're grazing even on flax or other types of plants that actually contain more omega three than omega six.

And so those animal meats would be healthier. Even their milks would be healthier. But the reality is we don't live in that world today. You're not getting a hunted, bison burger when you go out to a local restaurant. You're not buying that meat when you go to the grocery store. And so what has happened over the course of the last couple of generations mostly is that our consumption of omega sixes have skyrocketed.

What about plant-sourced omega-3s from flax oil and chia seeds?
You'll hear about a movement lately where we are seeing people come forward and saying, "Reduce the seed oils. Stop eating seed oils.", and this is perhaps an oversimplification of the problem. If you were to consume flax seeds and chia seeds, you would find that you're actually getting a higher level of omega three than omega six.But the problem is that you'd have to consume a whole lot of them [flax seeds and chia seeds] in order to get to the EPA and DHA that your body needs to thrive.

So people ask that simple question, "Should I take fish oils or consume omega-3?" And they're not asking the right question. It should be, "How do I get enough EPA and DHA in my diet?"

And the answer to that, Isn't completely simple or a straightforward either, but one of the common ways that people hear that they can get their levels up of omega 3 is to consume fish. Fatty fish in particular. Eat fish low on the food chain like sardines and anchovies that tend to be quite oily and also, which don't bioaccumulate the same level of toxins of some of their counterparts like salmon.

This is one way you can get there. But the reality for many is that they don't want to consume fish, or they might be concerned with the health of our oceans, our ecosystems. They might be vegan, they might be trending, plant based, and be concerned about getting microplastics in their diet. All real concerns.

Orlo Algae Oil vs. Fish Oil Comparison Chart

Algae-sourced polar omega-3 = the best absorbed omegas, and they're sustainable! 
Luckily we do have an answer here. Algae is actually the producer of the EPA and DHA that the fish then consume and bioaccumulate. And we're at a stage in our technological progress where we're able to isolate these incredible nutrients from algae. So we can literally skip right through that middle fish and go directly to the algae source. This is one of the things that we've worked to do with Örlö Nutrition. 

All of the benefit, with none of the fish or the fishy burp. 
One of the common complaints that you get from people who consume a fish oil product is that they have a fishy repeat or a burp. It's unpleasant. And the reason for this is really simple too. It's that it's in a triglyceride form or even an ethyl ester or a free fatty acid form.

These forms of fats are not quite as stable, and they also stay in liquid form. So if you pour a little bit of oil like that into a glass of water, what happens? It floats on the top and as it floats on top of the fluid in your stomach, it's more likely to create that kind of burp as your your body starts to digest it, and your gastric juices start to flow and work to emulsify it.

Some aldehyde byproducts are created -- and that burp is exactly that -- an aldehyde byproduct. What we've been able to do with, Örlö Nutrition is different because we have  minimally processed the algae, preserving its polar lipid form.

So what is a polar lipid?
A polar lipid. Is a fat that is essentially emulsified already in the algae itself or in the animal itself. It's in the form that your body needs it to be in to be quickly absorbed into your system without additional enzymatic processes. 

It's in the form that your body actually uses the omega-3, and so it gets dissolved directly into your system and into your tissues quite easily. It is both water soluble and fat soluble, so it can be integrated into your cell walls, facilitating the traffic of nutrients, the elimination of toxins, and so much more.

Let's do an experiment.
If you take a capsule of any of Örlö Nutrition's omega products oil and squirt it into, a glass of water, stir it up a little bit, you're going to notice that the oil turns or the water itself turns green and that the oil gets in these tiny little beadlets and, and even seems to disintegrate and disappear in the water itself. Here you can see a demonstration of what that looks like, in a test performed by our parent company, VAXA Technologies, Inc.

This is because it's in the polar lipid form and it's able to easily be integrated into your cell walls for this reason, it also doesn't create this kind of burp back or this aldehyde by product that you would notice consuming a fish oil or even other algae oils that aren't in this polar lipid form.

So I hope that helps to demystify some of the question of omega three, to omega six and why you might be getting so much more Omega 6 in your diet than omega 3. But one of the natural questions that comes after this is simply, "what about the other fats?" We heard for a long time that we should limit our fats, that we should actually eat a low fat diet.

A low-fat diet is never the answer when you are trying to balance your omegas
I've never been a proponent of this. It will not help you achieve metabolic health. That will also not help you achieve hormonal health, nor will it help you achieve your waistline goals. Ultimately, your bodies critically need fat in order to operate optimally, so it's getting the right kinds of fats in your diet consistently.

If you're going to work to reduce your omega 6 consumption, what do you replace it with? You may not be able to necessarily consume that much omega 3. So what do you cook with? You're not going to cook within algae oil or fish oil because frankly, they're not that stable and would have a low flash point and ultimately create some problems because they'd be corrupted at that relatively high temperature.

olive oil with common Mediterranean cooking ingredients including vegetables and pasta.

Replacing seed oils in your kitchen
So there's some key things that you can do in your kitchen to ensure that you're both. Eating healthy fats and also not overconsuming omega 6. And one of those things is simply to consider cooking with a fat that is more stable at high temperatures, and that's coconut oil. Coconut oil is high in MCT oil, which is also very healthy for your cells.

It's a neutral fat in so far as its inflammation status, so it's not going to be anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory. You can also combine coconut oil with things like butter or gee (butter oil), which are saturated fats, and those saturated fats also are able to withstand a higher temperature. . Another thing you can do when you're cooking at low temperature is use olive oil.

Olive oil is high in the omega 9, oleic acid (OA) and omega 9, while an important fat, is not an essential fatty acid. It's incredibly healthy as a nutrient source, and in fact, a great oil to consume in your salad dressings. But I would never cook at high heat with olive oil. So this brings to mind something else.

Many of us try to achieve optimal health and ultimately consume a diet that is balanced in our fats. And we look to things like salad dressings that contain omega nine, that contain olive oil or maybe even avocado oil. Now these can be delicious salad dressings, but the problem is most of the products offered on the shelf contain only a small amount of olive oil or avocado oil, and then the rest of the oil in that product will be canola oil, corn oil, or soybean oil, really high in Omega six. So when you're shopping in your grocery stores, be sure to read those labels as you're consuming or purchasing products that are high in particular fats.

Shop smart to avoid trans fats (partially or fully hydrogenated oils)
Another thing to consider as you do your shopping is to watch out for things that contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated or fully hydrogenated palm kernel oil, or any of the partially or fully hydrogenated oils.

These are simply trans fats, and trans fats are only one molecule away from plastics. And the reason I want to bring this up today is because if you consume a single gram of trans fats, you inhibit your body's ability. To build the important down regulated, essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA from plant sourced omega threes that you might be consuming.

Chia seed pudding with kiwi fruit and berries and chocolate

So if you made yourself that chia seed pudding with a little bit of oat milk and some vanilla extract and maybe some berries, and you let that sit overnight, you think, "Great. I'm giving myself a healthy treat. I'm going to get the alpha linolenic acid, omega 3. I'll make some of that into EPA and DHA." But you also just had a peanut butter sandwich. And that peanut butter had within it both omega 6's from, the peanuts itself and also a partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil. And that essentially gunks up your system. Not only then is your system competing for those same enzymes with the omega 6 peanut oil that you consumed, but you've essentially halted the action of the delta-5 and delta-6 desaturases, which are the enzymes used to digest these fats into the downstream components that you need, the EPA and DHA.

So overall, I hope that this message has been clear thus far. We really need to focus on getting the right nutrition, the right fats in our diets. If we limit our processed foods and if we watch our labels for canola oil, for soybean oil, for partially hydrogenated fats, for peanut oil, for these oils, these seed oils that we know to be high in omega sixes... and we increase our level of omega threes by consuming things that produce those powerful anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes like: alpha linolenic acid, omega threes from walnuts, chia seeds, flex seeds, and the oils that are associated with all three of those, and also consume an algae oil that's high in DHA, and EPA every day.

Then we're giving our bodies the chance to control inflammation, to essentially get to homeostasis or balance. And when our inflammatory system is in balance, we can achieve our optimal health. It's not out of this world. Now, I recently wrote an article for AGEIST.com, a publication focused on healthy aging that really focused on 10 simple ways to balance your health by balancing your fats.

It includes specific tips for how to reduce your omega sixes and increase your omega threes, some of which we've already touched on here. But what I find for many is that sometimes seeing these sorts of things in print really helps to solidify our knowledge base. So what I will do with show notes for this episode is link specifically to that article, and I'm even going to include the HOTLIST items on that page itself so that it's easy for you to reference. You don't even have to hop over to agist if you don't want to, but again, an incredible and easy way to just do a quick review and even consider printing that list when you go grocery shopping because it may help you decide what you're going to buy and what you are not going to buy.

10 Steps To Balance Your Omega-6:Omega-3 Ration (summarized from this article). 

  1. Stop cooking with seed oils.
  2. Stop consuming breaded and fried foods.
  3. Add healthy plant-based sources of omega-3 to your diet.
  4. Aim to consume more whole foods.
  5. Follow Michael Pollan's recommendation of eating "mostly plants".
  6. If you eat eggs, consume DHA-rich eggs.
  7. If you consume fish, consume oily fish, lower on the food chain.
  8. If you consume red meat, shift your meat consumption to exclusively grass-fed beef or bison.
  9. Limit or eliminate consumption of dairy products (unless they have a noted DHA inclusion).
  10. Take an omega-3 EPA + DHA supplement like those offered by Orlo. 

Our health is so much easier to manage when we give our bodies the right tools that it needs to thrive. It's not rocket science, but it does take a little bit of doing, and one of the first steps is to just ask the question and then to consider eating a, a diet that is higher in whole unprocessed foods or foods that at least are not highly processed.

When you get into the ingredients panels and you see something like 30 ingredients, and some of them are very hard to pronounce, and when you see something like partially or fully hydrogenated, soybean, canola or any other oil, then you know you're choosing the wrong thing. Simply processed foods can be very healthy for you. Olive oil technically is a processed food, and it's not a seed oil. It's actually the oil of a fruit. So if you have heard that you need to limit your seed oils. Consider olive oil and exception, and also consider flaxseed and chia oils to be an exception there too. And most certainly, you could consider algae to be an exception.

Algae is a plant, not a seed at all, and the microalgae that we're growing with Orlo Nutrition is grown Photosynthetically. I mentioned earlier that if you were to squirt one of the capsules in the glass of water and stir it up, that the water itself would turn dark green. That's because it retains all those phytonutrients that are present in the algae itself in nature as it's growing photosynthetically.

It also has high levels, again, of those polar lipid forms of omega threes, EPA and DHA, so that when you consume them, you're not gonna burp them back up and they'll be integrated into your system three times more quickly than anything from fish oil. This also means that you can consume less. So when we go back to that first question I asked, "Should I take fish oils or omega3?"

So... Should I take fish oils or omega-3?
The answer is you should make sure you get enough EPA and DHA every single day. And all of the three products that we offer in the arena of Omega-3 at, or Orlo Nutrition -- they all fit that bill -- and they're two to three times more absorbable than fish or krill oil. So you can take them in a smaller pill and get all of the amazing benefits of omega threes and of balancing your health and balancing your fats.

Get the most from your omega-3 supplement by reducing your omega-6 overload.
If you want to get the most benefit, you also want to reduce your omega six level, and that will mean you have better mental clarity, your eye health, your brain health improves because guess what? That EPA and DHA that comes in that single soft gel or two that you consume each day. It is directly involved in every biological process in your body.

Half the fat in your brain and eyes is made up of DHA. They're included in structural components of your cells, from your cell membranes to even the nucleotides, the DNA. They're intrinsically involved in every process of the body and included in every single one of your 37 trillion cells. And if you don't get enough of these particular fats in your diet every day, Guess what? You will make those components up of the other fats that are in your diet. Your cells won't be quite as healthy and nor will you? So perhaps for the day I've been an Omega three evangelist in telling you a bit about how you can go ahead and balance your fats, get your body to a homeostasis so that you are not in a situation where you have out-of-control inflammation. This is when your leukotrienes and your prostaglandins are essentially creating more inflammation and more inflammatory events in the body.

You'll get to a better health overall, you'll enjoy better mental clarity, your overall cardiovascular system will be more healthy -- when you give your body the essential omega-3 building blocks it needs to be its healthiest.

Exclusive offer for our listeners, viewers, and readers
As we wrap up today's show, I want to invite you to visit orlonutrition.com and if you've been compelled to, get more Omega-3, EPA and DHA in your diet. You can go ahead and use our coupon code NWC10 at checkout to get an additional 10% off your order. We're presently offering a holiday promo bundle on our website, and so.

If you check out orlonutrition.com, you'll see that you can get our omega threes along with our Immunity Boost for a reduced rate at only $90 for two months supply of both products. And this ultimately will ensure that you're able to balance your omegas and also supporting your immune system with the power of spirulina, vitamin D, a smattering of B vitamins that will ultimately help you produce natural energy and also protect your immune system. So with that, I would like to say my parting words to all of you as I invite you to raise a cup of your favorite beverage with me. Here's to your health.

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About our host, Corinna Bellizzi: 

Corinna Bellizzi, MBA is an omega-3 expert who pioneered the growth of Nordic Naturals to over $100 million in annual sales. Given her concern for health of people and the planet, she shifted her focus from fish-sourced omegas to algae in 2016. Today she leads Örlö Nutrition, a new algae brand that features the world’s first carbon-negative omega-3s. Örlö Nutrition grows their algae in pristine water in Iceland, in a controlled environment, optimized with AI and principles of circularity. She hosts a podcast, Nutrition Without Compromise, covering health topics without compromising your ethics, or the health of our home planet.

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