Omega-3 vs cod liver oil vs fish oil: what's the difference?

You have likely heard the terms omega-3, cod liver oil and fish oil, but knowing the difference between cod liver oil and omega-3, as well as the difference between cod liver oil and fish oil is important, as they each provide various health benefits. All three of these do typically however come from fish.

The UK’s Department of Health recommends that UK adults eat at least two portions of fish a week with at least one of these portions (around 140g when cooked) being oily fish.

If you don’t eat the recommended amount of fish per week, you may benefit from taking omega-3 or fish oil supplements.

But what’s what when it comes to these marine-sourced oils? And should you take fish oil or cod liver oil?

What is omega-3 and what is it good for?

Omega-3 is a type of fatty acid that's vital for good health. There are three main types of omega-3s:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

ALA is found mainly in nuts, seeds and plant oils, such as flaxseed, walnut and rapeseed oil, whilst DHA and EPA are primarily found in fish and other seafood. The body is able to convert some ALA into EPA and DHA.

The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids – DHA and EPA – are the beneficial omega-3s found in fish oil supplements or Omega-3 supplements. These omega-3 fatty acids are extracted from oily fish such as salmon. They can also be obtained from vegetarian sources such as marine algae. In fact, this is where oily fish get their omega-3s from initially.

DHA and EPA both help to maintain health and wellbeing. In fact, these omega-3s provide several benefits…

Brain health - DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function. A daily intake of 250 mg of DHA is the amount needed to achieve this benefit.

Eye health - DHA also contributes to the maintenance of normal vision with the beneficial effect being obtained from a daily intake of 250 mg of DHA.

Heart health - EPA and DHA contribute to the normal function of the heart. A daily intake of 250mg of EPA and DHA is the amount needed to acquire this benefit.

Blood pressure - foods that provide a daily intake of 3g of EPA and DHA also contribute to the maintenance of normal blood pressure.

Cholesterol levels - DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal blood triglyceride levels. This benefit can be obtained from foods which provide a daily intake of 2g of DHA. ALA also contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, with the beneficial effect obtained from consuming 2g per day.

Pregnancy - maternal intake of DHA contributes to normal foetal brain & eye development. A beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 200mg DHA in addition to the recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids for adults.

What is cod liver oil and what is it good for?

Cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of cod. As a result, cod liver oil supplies the long-chain omega-3s EPA and DHA as cod fish livers contain oil. Cod liver oil also supplies the two fat-soluble vitamins that cod store in their liver – vitamin A and vitamin D3.

Cod liver oil supplements therefore offer the benefits of Omega-3 fish oil supplements as well as the extra vitamins:

Vitamin A - provides a number of benefits, including helping to maintain normal skin, normal vision and supporting the normal function of the immune system.

Vitamin D - we need vitamin D3 to help absorb calcium and phosphate, needed for normal bone health. Vitamin D also supports the normal function of the immune system.

What is the difference between cod liver oil an omega-3

Fish oil and cod liver oil come from different sources but both can help to increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake. Cod liver oil comes from the liver of cod fish while fish oil can come from a variety of fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel. As well as this, cod liver oil contains vitamin A and vitamin D3, which omega-3 oils do not.

Is cod liver oil the same as omega-3?

Cod liver oil and omega-3 are not the same. Omega-3s are a type of fatty acid, typically found in fish. Cod liver oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin A and vitamin D.

Is omega-3 in cod liver oil?

Yes, cod liver oil contains omega-3 fatty acids the DHA and EPA, which provide the body with many benefits.

What is fish oil and what is it good for?

Fish oil, as the name suggests, comes from fish, particularly fatty fish. This includes mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring and tuna. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, which means fish oils are a dietary source of omega-3.

Therefore, the fish oil benefits include all the benefits which come from omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA.

What’s the difference between cod liver oil and fish oil?

When it comes to the difference between cod liver oil and fish oil, the stand out difference is that cod liver oil comes from a specific source - the liver of cod fish - whilst fish oil comes from a variety of different fatty fish. Cod liver oil is a type of fish oil and also comes with the added benefit of vitamin A and vitamin D3.

Is fish oil the same as omega-3?

Fish oil is a dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Often, the two terms are used to describe the same thing, however, the health-beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, especially salmon, tuna, mackrel, sardines and herring, so in those cases it could be said that yes, fish oil is the same as omega-3.

Is omega-3 in fish oil?

There are omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. Fish oils, and the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, are found in fatty, oily fish, like salmon, tuna and sardines. The specific omega-3s are DHA and EPA.

Omega-3 vs cod liver oil vs fish oil

There are some differences between omega-3, fish oil and cod liver oil benefits…

†A beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of DHA.

‡A beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of DHA and EPA.

Should I take cod liver oil or fish oil for omega-3?

A cod liver oil or fish oil supplement can be a useful way to safeguard your intake of healthy omega-3, however, it isn’t necessary to take both.

Vitabiotics Ultra Cod Liver Oil provides a combination of Cod Liver Oil plus Omega-3 Fish Oil so an omega-3 supplement isn’t required. This supplement also includes vitamin A and vitamin D.

It’s worth noting that women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take cod liver oil as it contains high levels of vitamin A which should be avoided during pregnancy and breast-feeding. To safeguard your intake of omega-3 during pregnancy and breastfeeding try Pregnacare Plus, Pregnacare Max or Pregnacare Breast-feeding.

[Info will be outputted here..]
[This element could be added only to article page]

Related Products

see all omega-3 supplements
Ultra Omega 3·6·9
10.35
buy now
Ultra Omega-3 High Purity Fish Oil
10.55
buy now
Ultra Red Krill Oil
14.95
buy now
Ultra Cod Liver Oil
7.35
buy now
Pregnacare Plus
14.95
buy now
Pregnacare Max
20.25
buy now
Barnabas Santa