Fish oil and Flaxseed oil

Can flaxseed oil to replace fish oil in the diet?

The most important Omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (α-Linolenic acid), EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). Flaxseed oil contains ALA, fish oil contains EPA and DHA, ie flaxseed oil does not contain those acids that found in fish oil, ie flaxseed oil can not fully replace the fish oil. At the same time, the flaxseed is effective in lowering LDL cholesterol [1,8] (some studies did not find any evidence that flaxseed oil can lower cholesterol [6]), and a recent evidence supporting a potential anticancer role of flaxseed and flaxseed oil is for breast cancer [7].

Alan Aragon’s thoughts on this topic:

Despite potential negatives, having both flaxseed & fish oil in your diet is probably a good idea, in moderate amounts. If not exceeding target fat grams is an issue, these need not be taken on the same days. Rotational dosing through the week is fine; our bodies don’t work on a 24-hr clock [2].

Adequate Intakes for ALA: 1,6 g/d for males and 1,1 g/d for FeMales (for other categories refer to the source) [4]. Flaxseed oil contains 47.4% ALA [5].

The recommended dosage of EPA / DHA for athletes – 1.8-3.0 g/d [3].


  1. Health aspects of partially defatted flaxseed, including effects on serum lipids, oxidative measures, and ex vivo androgen and progestin activity: a controlled crossover trial
  4. Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
  6. Flaxseed oil does not affect inflammatory markers and lipid profile compared to olive oil, in young, healthy, normal weight adults. Metabolism. 2013 May;62(5):686-93.
  7. Beneficial Influence of Diets Enriched with Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil on Cancer. Evidence-based Anticancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 5, 2013, pp 55-89
  8. Meta-analysis of the effects of flaxseed interventions on blood lipids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 August; 90(2): 288–297.
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