Fish Roe vs Fish Oil

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

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. This is a comparison of fish oil vs fish roe in terms of price and health improvement.

Fish ROE EPA Gram Price

Fish ROE EPA estimates are based on fatty acid composition in following studies:

Content estimates below are given 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 ?

Fish Oil EPA per Gram Price

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.

Fish Roe Perishability

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

A redditor to pointed me to potential concerns about fish roe. Fish roe contains oxidised cholesterol.

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 absorption.

Potentially Harmful Neu5Gc In Roe

Again a redditor pointed me to content of potentially dangerous Neu5Gc reported in fish roe, also I found study reporting natural occurrence 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 Cheaper

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.

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Created on 12 Aug 2017. Updated on: 06 Jun 2022.
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