Cod liver oil, fish oil, omega-3 – what’s the difference?
We all know the benefits of omega-3. But what about the daily dose of cod liver oil? Or is that omega-3? And is cod liver oil and fish oil the same? With these three terms used interchangeably, it’s no wonder we get confused. But they are not all the same thing.
Omega-3 is a term for a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Cod liver oil and fish oil are the names of two different fish products. Cod liver oil is extracted from the cod liver and fish oil is extracted from whole fish.
Both cod liver oil and fish oil are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Möller’s capsules contain fish oil from anchovies and sardines that have been extra concentrated and thus contain more omega-3 than occurs naturally. Möller’s Cod Liver Oil is pure cod liver oil from the Northeast Arctic cod.
Cod liver oil and fish oil contain EPA and DHA
The omega-3 fatty acid, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is found in many plant sources but it is only the marine sources that contain the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). Research shows that it is the marine long-chain omega-3 fatty acids we should be eating more of as they have proven beneficial effects on normal brain, heart, and vision functions.
Does the body produce omega-3?
Yes, and no. The fatty acid DHA is present in many cell membranes in humans and in higher concentration in some organs than others. The body can convert ALA (plant-based omega-3) to EPA and DHA, but these processes are not very effective. It is the microalgae in the sea that form the long-chain EPA and DHA fatty acids. These fatty acids move up the food chain as smaller fish eat the microalgae, larger fish eat the smaller fish, and so on. For people, the sources of these fatty acids are often the larger marine omega-3 oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and cod liver oil extracted from cod liver.
Cod liver oil and fish oil as omega-3 supplements
Added omega-3 fatty acids though diet and supplements such as Möller’s Cod Liver Oil and Möller’s supplements are important to ensure an adequate intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the body. We get plant-based omega-3 through common foods such as vegetable oils, grains and some types of nuts.
How much omega-3 is there in cod liver oil?
The reason why cod liver oil and omega-3 are often mentioned in the same sentence is that cod liver oil is the best available source of marine omega-3. This doesn’t mean that other sources are inferior or that the fatty acids they contain are of lower quality. It just means that cod liver oil has a higher content of these fatty acids per measuring unit. A teaspoon of Möller’s Cod Liver Oil (5 ml) contains as much as 1.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, whereof DHA accounts for 0.6 grams and EPA for 0.4 grams.