By Craig Weatherby
Dear Vital Choice,What are the differences between your salmon oil and cod liver oil?Mary K.Chicago, IL
We get this question quite a bit, and here’s the answer.
First, Salmon Oil and Cod Liver Oil contain similar levels of omega-3s. Beyond that, the choice is a matter of personal preference and needs. Both fish oils are highly beneficial, but each offers distinctive features:
- Only unrefined Salmon Oil like ours contains the powerful, red-hued antioxidant called astaxanthin, which is stripped out of refined Salmon oil supplements.)
- Both oils contain vitamins D and A, with Cod Liver Oil providing considerably more of each. (Whole wild Salmon are extremely rich in vitamin D; a 6-oz serving provides about as much vitamin D as a 1,000 mg capsule of Cod Liver Oil.)
- Both oils contain about 20 percent saturated fat.
- Both oils are low in omega-6 fats (no more than 10 percent).
Nutrients per 1,000 mg (1 g) capsule (average amounts):
- Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon Oil—220 mg total omega-3s.This total includes about 145 mg of the two key omega-3s (80 mg of EPA + 65 mg of DHA), plus other omega-3s (octadecatetraenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, linolenic acid, and eicosatrienoic acid).
- Cod Liver Oil—180 mg total omega-3s.This consists almost entirely of the two key omega-3s (70 mg of EPA + 110 mg of DHA).
- Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon Oil—114 IU
- Cod Liver Oil—100 IU (USDA data: many Cod Liver Oil brands claim 400 to 1,000 IU)
- Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon Oil—687 IU
- Cod Liver Oil—1,000 IU
- Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon Oil—800 mg total omega-3s. This total includes about 620 mg of the two key omega-3s (320 mg of EPA + 300 mg of DHA).
- Cod Liver Oil—850 mg total omega-3s. This total consists almost entirely of the two key omega-3s (300 mg of EPA + 500 mg of DHA).
- Sockeye Salmon Oil—456 IU
- Cod Liver Oil—450 IU
- Sockeye Salmon Oil—2,748 IU
- Cod Liver Oil—4,500 IU
Some authorities advise against taking refined Cod Liver Oil, which typically contains synthetic versions of vitamins A and D, added to replace the natural vitamins stripped out during refining. The synthetic form of vitamin A may be less safe than the naturally occurring forms in unrefined Cod Liver Oil.
- Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon Oil data by Covance Laboratories, Inc. The omega-3 figures are the average of two years’ test results; The vitamin A and D figures come from Covance Laboratories analysis of batch #70403416 reported April 26, 2006: vitamin A = 114 IU per gm (342 IU per 3 gm serving); vitamin D = 687 IU per gm (2,061 IU per 3-gm serving).
- One gram of Salmon Oil equals about 1/4 tsp. Thus, one tsp of Salmon Oil contains 4 times as much, or 456 IU of vitamin D and 914 IU of vitamin A.)
- Cod Liver Oil data comes from the USDA Nutrient Database at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search.