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Is Calamari Oil All That?

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Intro
You may have heard about calamari oil and its health benefits. So should you be taking this instead of fish oil? APD, Matt O’Neill explains.

 


Calamari oil is the latest omega-3 supplement to hit the market with TV and magazine ads. The main claim is that calamari oil contains more omega-3s than fish oil and krill oil combined and being specifically high in omega-3 DHA. Let’s look beyond the marketing hype.

Fish oil supplements contain two kinds of potent fish oils – docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicispoentantoic acid (EPA). Both DHA and EPA have benefits for heart, mood, joint and metabolic health – including fat loss.

General government recommendations for heart health and wellbeing are an intake of 430mg of omega-3s per day for women and 610mg per day for men. But higher doses may be needed to optimise metabolic function and for joint health.

Calamari oil has around four times the DHA per capsule compared to regular fish oil capsules. But it only has around half the EPA. There are load of studies backing the health benefits for both DHA and EPA, so no ones doubting it works. However, there’s no clear health trophy going to DHA over EPA.

Getting your omega-3 DHA from calamari oil is terribly expensive. For example, to hit a higher 1800mg DHA and EPA target (for metabolic health) from one product on the market, it would cost you $3.99 per day. The same total dose of omega-3s from the same supplement company’s regular fish oil costs less than $1 a day.

We don’t know whether calamari oil is more readily absorbed into the body than fish or krill oil so better absorption is not an advantage.

Calamari is more ecologically sustainable than other types of sea life because they grow faster and reproduce younger. So, there’s a valid reason to switch if you want to support sustainable aquaculture. You could also choose fish oil from farmed or sustainably captured sources too, although it’s hard to verify the degree of sustainability.

In summary, fish oil is a much cheaper way to get your daily dose of DHA and EPA. And please check with your doctor before talking any dietary supplements, particularly if you are taking any medications.

 

Is Calamari Oil All That?
Matt O'Neill
Dietitian