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Vaclav Kosar
Software And Machine Learning Blog

Fish Roe vs Fish Oil

Healthiness and price of a salty delicacy versus oily softgels. EPA, DHA, Neu5Gc.

fishes

Fish oil is popular supplement. It’s production was optimized for maximum content of popular fatty acids DHA and EPA. Fish roe is food of salty taste produced from egg masses of fish known to be good source of omega-3 fatty acids. With this article I am trying to compare the two in terms of price and health improvement.

EPA Gram Price Comparison

EPA estimates are based on fatty acid composition and referenced studies and package fat contents. Content estimates are per common container size of 50g.

Fish Fat Content (g) Estimated EPA Content (g) Price ($) $/g EPA
Salmon 5 0.85 8.3 9.76
Lumpfish 1.75 0.34 3.6 10.58
Capelin 1.95 0.37 1.5 4.05
Herring 0.75 ? 0.08 ? 1.5 18.75 ?

For comparison, Now Foods Omega-3, 180 EPA/120 DHA, 200 Softgels:

  • Serving of 2 capsules contains EPA grams: 0.36
  • $/g EPA: 0.18

Thus fish oil EPA is 22 times cheaper.

Perishability

Although I expected that thanks to refrigeration and natural encapsulation of fish roe, it will be heathier than oil there are potential issue.

A redditor to pointed me to potential concerns about fish roe - oxidised cholesterol content reported in [5].

Product COP content
oil average 7.52
fresh salmon roe 6.23
salted lumpfish roe 37.56
smoked cod roe 93.06

Fish roe oxidized cholesterol products content is 5 times higher.

Beneficial Phospholipid DHA In Roe

Salmon Roe contains DHA in a phospholipid form, which is preferred format for absorbtion.

Potentially Harmful Neu5Gc In Roe

Again a redditor pointed me to content of potentially dangerous Neu5Gc reported in roe in [6], also I found study [7] reporting natural occurence of this acid. But it is not clear if Neu5Gc is dangerous as Rhonda Patrick speculates.

Fish roe contains higher amount of Neu5Gc than even meat while fish oil doesn’t contain any.

Conclusion

Fish oil EPA is more than 20 times cheaper and contains 5 times less oxidized cholesterol products and doesn’t contain very high amount of Neu5Gc.

References

12 Aug 2017