Salmon oil, fish oil or krill oil – what is best for bipolar disorder? Is salmon oil or fish oil better for bipolar disorder? What’s krill oil and how does it fit into the mix? Is it better than salmon and fish oil for brain health?
I also found a bunch of articles touting the healing powers of ‘salmon fish oil’. Huh? So what’s the difference, what is out on the market and what type of supplement do you want to buy and take to help heal your bipolar disorder?
The technical answer is any supplement that contains both EPA and DHA on the label. The interaction of both is what is thought to have a beneficial effect.
The Three Main Types of Omega 3 Fatty Acids are ALA, EPA, and DHA
For brain health and bipolar we are interested in the long-chain Omega 3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. These are found in some cold water (freshwater and saltwater) fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring) and shellfish. ALA is a short-chain fatty acid found in plants such as flaxseed.
Besides knowing you want to be increasing those all important Omega 3 fatty acids in your body, bloodstream and brain tissue… what type of fish oil should you buy? And what’s krill oil?
Here’s some basic info on fish oil and salmon oil supplemnts. The following section discusses krill oil.
Salmon Oil Supplements
Brands and quality of supplements will vary, but in general, is a better bet than generic fish oil.
One high quality (and not cheap) brand that undergoes independent testing by the National Science Foundation (NSF) is Vital Choice. That cheap brand at Walmart – who knows the quality, purity and actual levels of Omega 3’s inside.
Quoted from Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics website:
To ensure its purity, our wild salmon oil undergoes “molecular distillation” to remove contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. Accordingly, Vital Choice Wild Salmon Oil meets all international standards for purity, as certified by the widely respected organization NSF.
Source: Vital Choice FAQ.
I can’t afford their products – wish I could – but find quality brands on Iherb.com.
Fish Oil Supplements
Recent studies found fish oil to increase the effectiveness of antidepressants. Learn more here: Nutritional Supplements Help Antidepressants Work Better.
But fish oil contains some things you may not want to be ingesting – that is not present in high-quality salmon oil supplements – and the quality depends on the type of fish used, plus what parts of the fish. Neither of which will most likely be revealed on the label.
Salmon oil is a surer bet, and has a better ratio of fatty acids:
Salmon ranks the highest in nutritional value and omega-3 essential fatty acids known as eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and docosahexaenoic acid or DHA.
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Dr. Mercola Recommends Krill Oil for Brain Health
I take salmon oil and have for years (off and on, now regularly). I know it has been tested in double-blind studies and found to reduce bipolar-related depression. After learning the below, and since it is a very low cost supplement, I may start adding in a capsule of krill oil daily along with my salmon oil supplement.
Related post: How Omega 3 Fatty Acids Help Bipolar Disorder + My Story.
The below is quoted from an article by Joseph Mercola, M.D.: “Do Some Fish Oil Supplements Contain Mercury?”
“Krill oil, on the other hand, is chock-full of natural antioxidants. In fact, research has shown it to be as much as 48 times higher in antioxidants than fish oil. So with krill oil, you can be sure you’re getting these incredibly healthy fats without having to worry about oxidation issues.”
“Additionally, whereas the DHA and EPA in fish oil are found in the triglyceride form, krill oil supplies them in a double chain phospholipid structure.”
He explains why this double chain structure may be best for brain health:
“What makes this so beneficial is that the fats in your cell walls are in the phospholipid form, so the structure of the EPA and DHA in krill oil makes them much more absorbable. This is particularly beneficial for healthy brain function as your brain is highly dependent on DHA for optimal performance.”
Ignore the Detractors and Focus on Improving Your Health
One article in particular tried to denounce all the research that shows how Omega 3 fatty acids can improve health in a variety of ways. It was this New York Time’s May, 2015 piece: “Fish Oil Claims Not Supported by Research“.
Included in the article is this quote:
“Dr. JoAnn Manson, the chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said the large clinical trials of fish oil focused only on people who already had heart disease or were at very high risk.”
And many are on medications that would of course affect any noticeable improvements – or are elderly.
No article I’ve read claims Omega 3’s are a primary treatment for those with serious illness. Or will reverse age-related declining health. One study the NYT’s used to try and justify the claim their Big Pharma-supporting headline was making used 75 year old test subjects.
Hundreds of Studies Document Health Benefits of Fish Oil
There are many illnesses that have been studied that confirmed the health benefits of Omega 3s, not just “people who had a history of heart disease or strong risk factors for it, like high cholesterol, hypertension or Type 2 diabetes.”
I’d say shame on the NYT’s for publishing such trash but not sure it would make any difference; they clearly have no shame and are more interested in appeasing their Big Pharma-connected advertisers than ethical and accurate journalism.
I’d suggest their reporters check more facts and more studies before publishing such biased crap. I’m sure a few of the ‘hundreds of studies’ that have been done to show positive benefits of DHA and EPA for a wide range of health issues could be easily found with a little research effort.
Don’t their reporters have access to the Internet? Can they delineate the difference between ‘medical treatment’ for diagnosed, severe illness and ‘preventative care’. Do they know the defintion of the word ‘adjunctive’? And that Omega 3 fatty acids can help prevent many illnesses? Have they ever heard of inflammation?
Hundreds of studies suggest that omega-3s may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Ignore the very few articles you will find saying there is little to no benefit to taking regular salmon oil, krill oil or fish oil supplements. Research and find a high-quality supplement, buy it, take it and keep making these excellent efforts to improve your health and try and reduce debilitating mood states of your bipolar disorder.
Photograph of grizzly bear and salmon is a free use image from Pixabay.com.