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Are oysters packed in olive oil a good source for omega-3s?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 23, 2012 at 1:40 PM

I have been eating lots of oysters and sardines to bump up my omega-3 ratio. Am I negating the benefits by eating sardines and oysters that are packed in olive oil (because the olive oil has a high omega-6 ratio)?

Edit: These are the oysters I am eating: http://www.amazon.com/Crown-Prince-Natural-Oysters-3-Ounce/dp/B000EF3E68.

These are the sardines: http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Planet-Sardines-Virgin-4-375-Ounce/dp/B004VDH4KQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1337782270&sr=1-3.

I also eat fish (salmon, cod, etc.) about 2-3x per week, but sometimes I get bored of it because I'm a horrible cook. (please, no recipes that take more than 20 minutes and four ingredients).

Also, I stopped taking fish oil pills because over time I think they were causing me heart burn/acid reflux issues (http://paleohacks.com/questions/110294/never-had-heartburn-before-are-the-paleo-gods-mad-at-me#axzz1vhXRbTNI). So I would like to get my o-3s all from diet if possible.

I am focused on omega-3 consumption for depression and preventing/healing injuries from weightlifting.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 08:23 PM

Thanks for your concern Rick. And Karen, thanks for the balancing perspective. In any case, I don't take fish oil supplements, hence the basis for my question on oysters, sardines and olive oil.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 08:03 PM

actually, that seems to conflict with what they put on their actual web site: http://www.crownprince.com/bpa-free-cans.htm. Guess MDA got that one wrong: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-your-canned-foods-safe-to-eat-a-bpa-free-buying-guide/#axzz1vhVSxyjf.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Thanks for the warning. Luckily, Crown Prince is stating that the oysters in olive oil are in bpa free cans. Check it out: https://www.ncga.coop/BPA/crownprince.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on May 23, 2012
at 06:10 PM

@Alan: can you provide a link for that? I was searching the web for info on oxidization in canned fish, but find either broken links, or nothing but unanswered questions.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on May 23, 2012
at 05:52 PM

You guys are completely right. I amended my answer to talk about fresh fish as a first recommendation, though I still stand by high-quality fish oil supplements.

8828d5922b47a0e2b82bde2232037746

(616)

on May 23, 2012
at 04:54 PM

Yes, DHA and EPA are derivatives of ALA. Our bodies only need a very small amount of DHA and EPA so the small conversion factor is adequate. http://www.brianpeskin.com/efa-analysis.pdf

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on May 23, 2012
at 04:34 PM

RE:Peskin Not the most reliable source of information. http://paleohacks.com/questions/1124/is-fish-oil-bad-for-you#axzz1vi61xD9u Also, DHA and EPA are 2 of several different O3 fatty acids, not derivatives. They are the most biologically available for humans. It sounds like your are saying that they are derivatives of ALA (which they are), but ALA is not well converted to DHA and EPA by humans. Fish convert it from algae just fine, but unless you're a fish, don't count ALA towards your O3 intake.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on May 23, 2012
at 04:12 PM

We don't care about calories. calories in != calories out, we're not combustion engines. Real fresh/frozen fish are better than processed, oxidized oils.

A980a13555ef30d83a0da52761606039

on May 23, 2012
at 04:09 PM

Are any canned fish safe given Cordains assertion that "All canned fish and meat contain high concentrations of oxidized cholesterol which in animal models accelerate the atherosclerotic (artery clogging) process."

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on May 23, 2012
at 03:36 PM

I don't eat any fish at home (hubby is allergic to all fish and seafood) and try not to make my office stink too frequently at work. I take these on days I am not eating fish: http://www.newchapter.com/fish-oil

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on May 23, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Using fish oil supplements certainly isn't the worst thing in the world to do. If you're not eating sizeable amounts of salmon, then a fish oil supplement makes some sense. Certainly there's more good stuff than omega-3s in oysters, but for increasing O3 over O6, oil-packed oysters seem like a poorer choice.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 02:10 PM

Thanks Dave. That "3.5-21% Omega-6 PUFA" is a bit daunting. I'm trying to figure out if even the 21% would negate the benefits of the omega-3 content in a can of smoked oysters. I can't find the numbers I need except that there are supposedly 0.47 g of omega-3 per every "serving"--which I assume to be a 65 g can. Wish I was better at this number crunching.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 01:58 PM

Calories are my special friend. We do a lot together.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 23, 2012
at 01:50 PM

Eating actual fish might be a better choice than pills. I like salmon.

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5 Answers

2
531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on May 23, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Hey watch out. The Wild Planet Sardines are usually BPA free but the Crown Prince Oysters are not. Those nasty xenoestrogens will screw you up so bad (thyroid, hormones, and cancer risk). I was eating Crown Prince Sardines x2 a day for a few weeks until I discovered it had extremely high amounts of BPA in it. During that time I had my thyroid tested and even though I'm 8% body fat, I was also somehow subclinical hypothyroid - I blame the BPA sardine cans. I called Crown Prince and they said only a select few of their Brisling sardines packed in Ireland are BPA free and that they are having a hard time finding packing companies who can provide BPA free cans. Now I only eat Wild Planet Sardines.

Sardines are an amazing source of omega 3 and very low in mercury. I usually split them 50/50 between olive oil or water packed.

What I love most about Sardines is that they are the perfect long distance car trip food! I bought 30 cans on my trip from North Carolina to Toronto, Canada so I wouldn't screw up and eat crappy highway food.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on May 23, 2012
at 06:10 PM

@Alan: can you provide a link for that? I was searching the web for info on oxidization in canned fish, but find either broken links, or nothing but unanswered questions.

A980a13555ef30d83a0da52761606039

on May 23, 2012
at 04:09 PM

Are any canned fish safe given Cordains assertion that "All canned fish and meat contain high concentrations of oxidized cholesterol which in animal models accelerate the atherosclerotic (artery clogging) process."

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Thanks for the warning. Luckily, Crown Prince is stating that the oysters in olive oil are in bpa free cans. Check it out: https://www.ncga.coop/BPA/crownprince.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 08:03 PM

actually, that seems to conflict with what they put on their actual web site: http://www.crownprince.com/bpa-free-cans.htm. Guess MDA got that one wrong: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-your-canned-foods-safe-to-eat-a-bpa-free-buying-guide/#axzz1vhVSxyjf.

2
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 23, 2012
at 01:49 PM

Maybe. Olive oil n6 content can vary quite a bit. I'm guessing they don't use the good stuff to can with. Olive oil isn't ideal, but it's not as bad as most veg oils. Use a paper towel to drain/wipe off the excess or switch to water packed.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/healthy-oils/

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 02:10 PM

Thanks Dave. That "3.5-21% Omega-6 PUFA" is a bit daunting. I'm trying to figure out if even the 21% would negate the benefits of the omega-3 content in a can of smoked oysters. I can't find the numbers I need except that there are supposedly 0.47 g of omega-3 per every "serving"--which I assume to be a 65 g can. Wish I was better at this number crunching.

2
F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on May 23, 2012
at 01:49 PM

If you're interested in bumping your omega-3 ratio, you're better off eating fresh fish! If convenience is an issue, I've heard that canned salmon is actually quite good. For whatever reason, farmed salmon doesn't hold up well when canned, so most canned salmon is wild-caught. You can also take fish oil supplements (either liquid or gel tablet).

As you said, olive oil has a high omega-6 content, which can be detrimental because the aim in consuming omega-3 is to balance your omega-3:omega-6 ratio. Also, remember that olive oil has a lot of calories!

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 01:58 PM

Calories are my special friend. We do a lot together.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on May 23, 2012
at 05:52 PM

You guys are completely right. I amended my answer to talk about fresh fish as a first recommendation, though I still stand by high-quality fish oil supplements.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on May 23, 2012
at 04:12 PM

We don't care about calories. calories in != calories out, we're not combustion engines. Real fresh/frozen fish are better than processed, oxidized oils.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 23, 2012
at 01:50 PM

Eating actual fish might be a better choice than pills. I like salmon.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on May 23, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Using fish oil supplements certainly isn't the worst thing in the world to do. If you're not eating sizeable amounts of salmon, then a fish oil supplement makes some sense. Certainly there's more good stuff than omega-3s in oysters, but for increasing O3 over O6, oil-packed oysters seem like a poorer choice.

0
8828d5922b47a0e2b82bde2232037746

(616)

on May 23, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Please don't take fish oil supplements - Google "Brian Peskin fish oil". Omega 6 oil is not bad for you if it's raw, organic. and cold pressed. PROCESSED O6 (soybean,safflower,palm,etc) IS bad for you. A friend of mine is the lead researcher at NIH who studies fats and their affect on the brain. The evidence clearly shows that we need very little O3 fats (maybe 1000mg/day) and the best way to improve your O6/O3 ratio is not to increase your O3 but to stop using processed vegetable oils and other processed O6 sources. Rare to medium grass fed steaks will give you what you need. Cold pressed, raw, organic hemp oil gives you the exact O6/O3 ratio as well. Fish gives you mostly DHA and EPA which are DERIVATIVES of omega-3. Your body actually needs the parent form of O3 for many processes and will convert the DHA and EPA from the parent O3 as needed. Please do a Google search on Brian Peskin.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on May 23, 2012
at 04:34 PM

RE:Peskin Not the most reliable source of information. http://paleohacks.com/questions/1124/is-fish-oil-bad-for-you#axzz1vi61xD9u Also, DHA and EPA are 2 of several different O3 fatty acids, not derivatives. They are the most biologically available for humans. It sounds like your are saying that they are derivatives of ALA (which they are), but ALA is not well converted to DHA and EPA by humans. Fish convert it from algae just fine, but unless you're a fish, don't count ALA towards your O3 intake.

8828d5922b47a0e2b82bde2232037746

(616)

on May 23, 2012
at 04:54 PM

Yes, DHA and EPA are derivatives of ALA. Our bodies only need a very small amount of DHA and EPA so the small conversion factor is adequate. http://www.brianpeskin.com/efa-analysis.pdf

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on May 23, 2012
at 08:23 PM

Thanks for your concern Rick. And Karen, thanks for the balancing perspective. In any case, I don't take fish oil supplements, hence the basis for my question on oysters, sardines and olive oil.

-1
9a090a18d6b5809988d91a438fc6a762

(-4)

on June 01, 2013
at 07:27 PM

There area lot of environmental problems associated with eating fish (over fishing, by catch, etc) The world's fisheries are expected to collapse by 2050 due to misuse, so if you choose to continue eating it, please research carefully the methods used to fish the seafood you are purchasing.

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