It’s a hot and heavy, ongoing debate in today’s health conscious world that has hemp aficionados pitted against fish oil advocates – which oil provides more health benefits and is the better choice?
What science says about hemp seed oil:
Hemp seed oil is composed of nearly 85 percent essential fatty acids (EFAs) alone and offers the richest, most balanced natural source of EFAs. In fact the amount of alpha-linolenic and linolenic acid in 15 ml (one tablespoon) of hemp seed oil provides more than the daily EFA requirements suggested by the FDA. In addition, hemp seed oil is lower in saturated fatty acids than other comparable oils, is easily digested and has been shown to alleviate symptoms of atopic dermatitis (eczema) and even psoriasis.
Hemp seed oil also exhibits the highest total phenolic content and antioxidant activity compared to all other plant-based oils (with the exception of pumpkin seed oil). Naturally occurring phenolic compounds are known to play a key roll in reducing the risk of cancer, relieving systemic inflammation, acting as a powerful antioxidant and promoting free radical elimination.
Chemo-preventive (anticarcinogenic) properties of hemp seed oil work by causing apoptosis (cell death), inhibiting the cell cycle and preventing the abnormal proliferation of cells characteristic of cancerous tumors.
What science says about fish oil:
Obtained from the tissues of “oily” fish (such as sardines, salmon, tuna, anchovies etc.), fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and two other fatty acids called EPA and DHA. Oily fish themselves do not naturally manufacture omega-3 fatty acids but rather they accumulate it in their tissues by eating other fish that have stored amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and microalgae in their bodies.
Although studies have shown that fish oil may help reduce incidences of cardiovascular disease, its ability to relieve other conditions such as macular degeneration, cognitive decline and depression, as attributed to hemp seed oil, has not been verified.
Unfortunately, fish oil also doesn’t contain the prefect balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids for the body. Oils from most fish that are used to cultivate fish oil capsules (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines) have a profile of around seven time the omega-3 oil as omega-6 oils.Hemp seed oil contains the optimal 1:4 ratio of omega-3 to 6 required for body consumption and use.
Fish Oil Warnings from the FDA
Oil obtained from predatory, “top of the food chain” fish (albacore tuna, swordfish, king mackerel sharks etc.) often contains toxic substances due to biomagnification, or the increase in the concentration of pollutants as they pass from one food chain link to another. Mercury, chlordane, dioxin and PCBs are toxins potentially ingested by people who consume fish oil. Fish oil also produces peroxides that may cause sever gastrointestinal irritation.
Moreover, fish oil can spoil very easily compared to hemp seed oil due to the unstable nature of the highly unsaturated DHA and EPA it contains. Many of the fish oil capsules on the market are actually rancid. Unfortunately, the less saturated oil is, the more unstable it is and the faster is degrades. Because hemp seed oil is plant-based, cold pressed, packaged and stored appropriately it does not oxidize and spoil as easily.
Sustainable Hemp Seed Oil – Better for the Environment
In addition to being safe to consume, hemp seed oil is more sustainable than fish oil because it does not upset ocean ecosystems and reduce sizable fish populations necessary to support fish living in the upper areas of the food chain. In addition, hemp plants are pest and disease resistant, help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and provide hemp seeds from which we can cold-press versatile, nutritious and eco-friendly hemp seed oil.