FAQ Essential Fatty Acids and Omega-3

What are Essential Fatty Acids?

Essential fatty acids are essential because the human body cannot manufacture them but needs them for many important functions. Therefore, essential fatty acids must be obtained from dietary sources.

What are "Omega-3" and "Omega-6" fatty acids?

Omega-3 and omega-6 are families of essential fatty acids used to make local hormones that control the local functioning of tissues throughout the body. The omega-6 fats tend to have pro-inflammatory effects, and the omega-3s tend to have non-inflammatory effects. We need to have a balanced intake of mega-6s and omega-3s for optimal health. The essential fatty acids include the omega-6 fatty acids, (as found in most common vegetable oils and products from livestock animals raised on grain, and the omega-3 fatty acids, as found in flaxseed oil, wild ocean fish, wild game, products from livestock raised on green vegetation, and fish oil). Most people consume too much omega-6 fats and insufficient omega-3s. Therefore, we need to decrease the intake of omega-6 sources and increase the intake of omega-3 sources.

What is flax oil and is it the same as flaxseed oil?

Yes, flaxseed oil and flax oil are the same. The seeds of the flax plant are pressed to obtain the nutrient rich oil that they contain. Flax oil is classified as a polyunsaturated vegetable oil. Flax oil is unique in this category, because it is the richest source of omega-3 as well as containing omega-6.

What is the recommended serving of flax oil for adults and children?

The recommendation that is given most often by nutritionists and health care providers is 1 tablespoon of the oil for every 100 lbs. of body weight, to be used daily. For a child the recommendation is 1 teaspoon of the oil for every 33 lbs. of weight.

How many capsules does it take to equal one tablespoon of the oil?

Technically it would take 14 capsules to equal 1 tablespoon of the oil since each tablespoon is 14 grams and each capsule is 1 gram (1 gram = 1,000 mgs). Most people choose to use the oil since it mixes easily into the daily diet, although the capsules are very convenient for traveling and for keeping in places where refrigeration is not possible.

What are lignans and why would I want to have them in my oil?

Many people choose the Highest Lignan Flax Oil simply because it is so rich in phytonutrients. The lignans are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, help with digestion, and research also suggests they may be helpful in the prevention of certain types of cancer.

What is the difference between Borage Oil and Evening Primrose Oil?

Both of these are sources of the beneficial omega-6 fatty acid known as GLA. Borage has been helpful for people with certain skin problems. For decades, women have been using evening primrose oil to alleviate the discomfort of PMS.

What is the ratio of Flax Oil to Borage Oil in the Omega Twin formula?

The Omega Twin formula is one part borage oil to five parts flax oil.

Fresh ExpressHow do I know my oil is fresh?

Each bottle of our fresh pressed oil has two dates located on the side of the label. The first date will tell you exactly when that particular bottle of oil was pressed and the second will tell you when it should be opened in order to maintain full potency, optimal taste and freshness. You may open the bottle on the second date and still have eight weeks in which to use the oil.

Do you ship the oil refrigerated? Does the transit time affect the oil?

Either high heat or sustained heat over a long period of time can degrade the oil. The relatively short transit times and variable seasonal temperatures encountered during transit have been found to be insignificant when tested. Remember, when you order your oil from Barlean's, its made to order and shipped the very next business day.

What color should my oil be?

If you have chosen to use our Highest Lignan Flax Oil, expect the oil to range from a medium brown to almost licorice in color. Please be sure to shake the bottle well, since the particulate does tend to settle rapidly. Sometimes you may need to stir the lignan oil in order to get the particulate lifted from the bottom, especially if the bottle has been sitting upright, undisturbed for a long period of time. These instructions are noted on the bottle. You may want to store the bottle on its side or upside down in order to help the particulate be more easily dispersed.

If you have chosen our clear Flax Oil, expect the color to range from bright yellow to golden amber.

Why is there a variation in the color of the oil among different bottles?

At Barlean's we do not alter our oil in any way. This results in color and taste variations throughout the year depending on the variety of seed that is used for each batch, growing conditions, seasons, etc. Our oil is completely natural, and although methods could be used to make sure each batch is identical, we refuse to alter or change the oil from its natural state. The variations that occur from batch to batch are a part of nature.

Do my capsules need refrigeration?

The capsules never need refrigeration. They may be kept on the counter or in a cupboard and will remain at full potency until the expiration date on the bottle.

Once I open the bottle of flax oil, how long will it stay "good"?

We suggest that once opened, you keep the bottle refrigerated and plan to use it within eight weeks for full potency.

Health Concerns & Information

Who can benefit from taking flax oil?

Because flax oil contains both of the essential fats needed for optimal health, virtually everyone can benefit from taking flax oil. Essential fats are directly connected with many life-sustaining biological functions. A lack of essential fats in the diet has been associated with numerous diseases and health complications.

What are early signs of EFA deficiency?

  • Fatigue and lack of endurance
  • Dry skin, cracked nails, dry hair
  • Dry mucus membranes
  • Maldigestion
  • Constipation
  • Weak immunity
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Hypertension
  • Chronic arthritis
  • History of cardiovascular disease

Will I get too much Omega 3 if I take flax oil?

Since most people actually ingest much more omega-6 than they need each day, it is important to get enough omega-3 and cut back on extraneous omega-6 intake.

Will EFA oils cause me to gain weight?

Of all the poly-unsaturated fatty acids in the human diet, the omega-3 fatty acids, as found in flaxseed oil and fish oil, put the least amount of fat on the body. In fact, these fatty acids actually increase metabolism and the burning of undesirable body fat. This is the reason knowledgeable personal trainers advise using flaxseed oil and fish oil as sources of energy that will not add extra unwanted fat tissue.

I take medications. Will Flax Oil interfere with my medicines?

It is important that you consult your pharmacist or health care professional concerning your medications and let them know that you are planning to use flax oil as a part of your daily diet in order to obtain the healthy fats that your body needs.

Is flax oil safe during pregnancy?

Please consult with your health care practitioner whenever embarking upon a new health care regime or when significantly altering or supplementing your diet, especially when pregnant.


Can I add my oil to hot foods?

We do not suggest using flax oil in high-heat cooking. Instead, add your oil to foods that are already cooked or reheated to avoid any possibility of adversely affecting the omega-3s. The oil can be safely added to foods that are table ready.

What foods can I place flax oil in for my children?

The oil may be mixed with any foods that your child likes. It is especially great in blender drinks (use their favorite juices and fruits), flavored milk, over toast with some honey, mixed into peanut butter, mixed with syrup for breakfast time, stirred into oatmeal with a topping, over rice or pasta before you add the sauce, drizzled over popcorn, and of course mixed with their favorite salad dressing.

Am I able to give my pet the same oil that I am using for myself?

Yes, if you are using the regular Flax Oil or the Highest Lignan Oil you may certainly share it with your pet. The recommendation is 1 teaspoon for every 25 lbs. of body weight for your pet. We also highly recommend Barlean's Flaxseed Oil for Animals (link), which has been formulated specifically for pets with the valuable Omega-3 fatty acids they require for optimal health.

Can Flax Oil be applied to the skin?

Yes, you may use the oil topically, and some of it will be absorbed by the body - but the best usage by far is to ingest the oil with food daily.


What type of container will my oil be in?

We prefer to use black, opaque plastic bottles made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for Barlean's Organic Oils. HDPE is fully approved by the US and Canadian governments for vegetable oils and has an untarnished record of health and safety. We take all care possible in protecting the oil from light frequencies that even the darkest amber glass bottles allow through. The integrity of our oils is one of our highest priorities.

How can I get the oil to come out of my newly purchased "Drip Free" bottle?

To assure optimal freshness and convenience, our revolutionary "Drip Free" bottle require you to first unscrew the top, remove the seal, then screw the top back on. Now you are ready to shake the oil, flip the cap, turn the bottle upside down and squeeze the oil (which now comes out through a tiny membrane) in a manageable stream. This drip free bottle minimizes spillage and dramatically limits the amount of oxygen that enters the bottle. This is one more way that Barlean's protects their oils from oxidation and photodecomposition.

Certifications / Ingredients

What organization certifies that your products are organic?

Quality Assurance International is the organic certifier of our products.

Are your products certified Kosher?

We have many products that have been certified as kosher and bear the emblem to indicate this. Our Borage Oil, Forti-Flax, Flax Oil, Highest Lignan Flax Oil, Omega Twin Oil and our Highest Lignan Omega Twin Oil are all kosher certified.

Are any of your products gluten free?

Yes, all Barlean's products are gluten free.

Are your capsules made from an animal source or are they vegetarian?

The capsules used with our Barlean's Greens are vegetarian caps.

The gelatin capsules used to encapsulate our oil products are not vegetarian. These capsules are made of animal-based gelatin, glycerin, water, and are caramel coated as a darkening agent to suppress the damaging effect of light.

Fresh Catch Fish Oil

How can I be assured of the quality of Fresh Catch Fish Oils?

Barlean's Fresh Catch Oils are all CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) Monograph compliant. The CRN is a Washington based trade association that represents ingredient suppliers and manufacturers in the supplement industry. CRN members must adhere to a strong code of ethics, comply with dosage limits and manufacture to high quality standards under Good Manfacturing Practices (GMP). The CRN developed a specific monograph for Omega 3 products. The monograph set quality standards/limits of environmental contaminants.

We are also GISSI study compliant- this is an optimal dosing standard regarding potency and daily requirements.

Our fish oils are ultra purified and have integrity to ensure optimal digestion and assimilation. In addition, they are physician recommended.

What is meant by “Pharmaceutical Grade” when referring to Fresh Catch Fish Oils?

The term Pharmaceutical Grade actually refers to our fish oil's compliance with European Pharmacopeia standards. While there is no single definition for pharmaceutical grade when applied to fish oil in the United States, the oil being pharmaceutical grade implies that:

1. The fish oil has been purified and therefore has a sufficiently high concentration of the marine omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA per gram of fish oil. For example, a fish oil capsule containing 1g of fish oil that is pharmaceutical grade is said to have at least 600mg of DHA and EPA.
2. The amount of DHA and EPA as stated on the bottle, is what is in the capsule. Some companies guarantee their potency.
3. Because of purification process, it is expected that there will be a low or undetectable level of contaminants such as mercury and PCBs, and other compounds. This means a safer product, but also, there will usually less side effects such as reflux as well.

Are there any common allergens in Fresh Catch Fish Oil?

Fresh Catch Fish Oil contains no gluten, yeast, milk derivatives, artificial colors or flavors.

It does contain natural vitamin E derived from refined soy.

How is oxidation prevented in Fresh Catch Fish Oils?

Barlean's features a freshness system called "Five Layer Oxidation Protection" that protects our fish oil from the detrimental effects of heat, peroxides, oxygen and light. The result is the freshest fish oil in the world.

Five Layer Oxidation Protection System:

1. Fresh Catch Processing Technology ensures that oil is free from the damaging effects of heat, light and oxygen.
2. Black Opaque Bottles suppress light induced oxidation.
3. Nitrogen Flushed Bottles suppress oxygen-induced oxidation.
4. FreshLok® Anti-Oxidant Protection suppresses peroxide-induced oxidation.
5. Recommended Refrigeration for Liquids suppresses heat-induced oxidation. Carob-coated black-opaque Softgels suppress light and oxygen induced oxidation.

What is the difference between Fish Oil and Flax Oil?

Both fish oil and flax oil ultimately supply your body with Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which have been shown to have a number of important effects within the body. If you feel you are very Essential Fatty Acid depleted you may opt to take fish oil until you notice an improvement, and then convert to flax. Both oils have been shown to contribute positively to health and some people opt to take both oils, so that they complement each other.

Search Site

Now Food
North American Herb & Spice
Now Solutions
Carlson Labs
Lily of the Desert
Aubrey Organics
Garden Of Life