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cod liver oil vs. salmon oil

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cod liver oil vs. salmon oil

Postby Bill » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:04 am

I've been using Carlson's Norwegian Cod Liver Oil for a while now. I see that Hammer promotes and sells Carlson's Norwegian Salmon Oil. The trainers at the gym I go to highly recommend the cod liver oil. I'm wondering why Hammer recommends the salmon oil over the cod liver oil. I'm working up to my first full ironman and am trying to shore up my nutrition. Should I switch to salmon oil? If so, why? What makes it better than cod liver oil? Thanks.
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Re: cod liver oil vs. salmon oil

Postby steve-born » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:38 am

Hello Bill -

There's nothing wrong with using cod liver oil; you just have to be cognitive about the vitamin A in the product (850 IU/teaspoon). According to one website:

"Vitamin A is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects your cells against damaging free radicals and plays other vital roles in the body. However, it is potentially more dangerous than most other vitamins because it can build up to toxic levels. For this reason, it should be used with caution. It is thought that dosages of vitamin A above 50,000 IU per day taken for several years can cause liver injury, bone problems, fatigue, hair loss, headaches, and dry skin. However, one recent study found no harm with dosages as high as 75,000 IU taken for 1 year. Nonetheless, we do not recommend using vitamin A at doses over the upper levels, except under close physician supervision. Some people may be more likely to develop toxic symptoms than others. If you already have liver disease, check with your doctor before taking vitamin A supplements, because even small doses may be harmful. It is thought that people with diabetes may have trouble releasing vitamin A stored in the liver. This may mean that they are at greater risk for vitamin A toxicity."

That said, the USRDA for vitamin A (for males 14 years and older) is 3,000 IU so unless you have a pre-existing condition (liver disease, diabetes), or unless you're going crazy in your consumption with the cod liver oil, you should be just fine.

Most people get their vitamin A from beta-carotene (found in Premium Insurance Caps), which is the virtually non-toxic precursor to vitamin A. The body uses beta carotene selectively to obtain however much vitamin A is needed, and discards what it does not need. Conversely, the body will store vitamin A.

Other than the caveats listed above, the only "downsides" to cod liver oil liquid are that it needs to be refrigerated (which makes traveling with it kind of a pain), and that it should be consumed within 100 days for optimal potency.

Either way you go, with the Carlson Cod Liver Oil liquid or Norwegian Salmon Oil capsules, you're getting a good dose of the two essential fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which is really the primary reason for taking either cod liver oil or salmon oil capsules.

I hope this information will be helpful to you, Bill. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely -

Steve
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Re: cod liver oil vs. salmon oil

Postby Bill » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:56 am

Thanks, Steve. Very helpful, and very much appreciated!

Bill
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Re: cod liver oil vs. salmon oil

Postby LEDfoot » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:40 am

Hi, I would like to pose a follow-up question here:

My Dr. claims that a good quality fish-oil/omega supplement should have a DHA/EPA ratio of at least 5 to 1 but never really giving a reason for this.
What is your take on this?

Thanks,
//Martin
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Re: cod liver oil vs. salmon oil

Postby steve-born » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:37 pm

Hello Martin -

I haven't had the chance to look at the myriad fish oil supplements available, but from my experience, most of them have about a 1:2 or a 2:3 ratio of DHA to EPA (or somewhere in that vicinity). Personally, I think it would be hard to find a fish oil product that had a 5:1 DHA/EPA ratio; you'd most likely have to get a separate DHA supplement (and there are some available).

I looked briefly at some information from a link (listed below) that I thought was interesting, which said:

It is often thought that EPA and DHA have identical benefits in preventing cardiovascular risk, and since commercial products often have higher EPA concentrations, many believe EPA must be of greater benefit. However, from the conclusion of Mori and Woodman 2006 [1] “The data in humans suggest that DHA may be more favorable in lowering blood pressure and improving vascular function, raising HDL cholesterol and attenuating platelet function. Future studies will need to carefully assess the independent effects of EPA and DHA on other clinical and biochemical measures before decisions can be made with respect to dietary supplements and the
fortification of foods with either EPA or DHA.”

REFERENCE: Mori, T.A. and Woodman, R.J. The independent effects of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid on cardiovascular risk factors in humans. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006; 9(2):95-104.

If you go to this link - http://www.pointinstitute.org/white-papers/ - and click on the link entitled "Differentiating the Therapeutic uses of EPA and DHA in clinical practice," there's a lot of interesting research and information available. At the end, there's a section entitled "General Conclusion and Recommendations" that I found quite interesting.

All this said, I honestly don't know if there's one right-for-everyone ratio for DHA and EPA, and I can't give you a definitive answer as to why your doctor would recommend a DHA/EPA ratio of 5:1. It does appear, at least from this particular article, that a little more DHA is beneficial for a couple of health-related issues, so taking a separate DHA supplement, in addition to a fish oil supplement, may (key word "may") be worth looking into. In my opinion, the main takeaway message is that taking a fish oil supplement (consuming both DHA and EPA) is something that would be beneficial for everyone.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely -

Steve
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Event Sponsorship Coordinator
www.hammernutrition.com
800.336.1977
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