Menhaden Fish Oil: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits

Atlantic menhaden Brevoortia tyrannus, commonly known as Menhaden, is a marine fish from the Clupeidae family. (1)

It is also known as a mossbunker and bunker and is believed to be originated in the United States. This fish is essential to the Chesapeake Bay food web along North America’s Atlantic coast. (2)

Menhaden is well known for its oil content. The oil is extracted from the tissue and fatty flesh of Menhaden.

Menhaden fish oil is also the by-product of the menhaden fish meal industry. (3) A good amount of essential fatty acids in the oil makes this fish medicinally valuable, serving a healthy heart. 

Menhaden fish are silvery with black spots. They are small, ranging from 9 to 12 inches long, and weigh about 0.06 to 0.5 pounds. (4) Manhaden are flat, have soft flesh, and a divided tail. The oil tastes fishy.

Menhaden fish serves as prey for many other fish and birds considered commercially important. The oil is used for salad dressing and as capsules as a supplement in cold form but not in cooking because of the high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids, as heating reduces the nutritional properties of fish oil. (5) 

Nutritional Facts

Menhaden fish oil is rich in nutritional components benefiting our health. It contains 100 grams of total fat. It is high in essential fatty acids, including healthy and unhealthy fats. The presence of a lower quantity of saturated fatty acids and a higher quantity of combined monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids makes menhaden fish oil preferable. 

LipidsAmount per 100 grams
Saturated fatty acid30.4 g
Monounsaturated fatty acid26.7 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acid34.2 g

Menhaden fish oil is high in calories (902 kcal/100 g) and low in cholesterol level (521 mg/100 g). It contains 13.2 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 4.92 grams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two major omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. (6)

Health Benefits

Menhaden fish oil, derived from the tissues of oily fish, is preferred for consumption because of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oils are required for cellular metabolism and physiological functions. The nutritional components in this oil possess anti-oxidant properties and help reduce inflammation. (7) The other health benefits of menhaden fish oil because of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  1. Can keep the heart healthy: Menhaden fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DPA, which are suitable for heart health. These fatty acids help decrease triglycerides, balance the cholesterol level, and maintain the flow of blood, which keeps the heart healthy. (8)
  1. Can support eye health: Menhaden fish oil, high in omega-3 fatty acids, supports eye health. The fatty acid reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration, dryness, and eye itching. The fatty acid also improves vision. (9)
  1. Can reduce inflammation: Inflammation is the defense mechanism of our body against infection and injuries. However, diabetes, heart issues, and depression are considered chronic inflammation, and reducing the inflammation can protect our body against such symptoms. The fatty acid in menhaden fish oil is antioxidant and reduces inflammation. (10)
  1. Can improve mental health: The presence of EPA, DHA, and DPA, PUFAs, in menhaden fish oil possess antioxidant properties. These PUFAs travel through the brain cell membrane and improve brain health. It can reduce the risk of psychotic disorders and depression and prevent or ease Alzheimer’s disease. (11)
  1. Can reduce allergic reactions: Omega-3 fatty acids in menhaden fish oil have protective effects against inflammatory diseases, including asthma and allergy. Intake of this fish oil prevents the swelling of the lungs. Consumption of this fatty acid by a pregnant and a lactating female can decrease the chance of an infant having allergies and asthma. (12)

Menhaden fish oil, being highly health beneficial, with several nutritional components, can cause an allergic reaction in some people. 

For more: Fish Oil (Facts and Health Benefits)

  1. Cuker, Benjamin. (2020). Menhaden, the Inedible Fish that Most Everyone Eats. 10.1007/978-3-030-45481-4_6. 
  2. Goode GB. [Internet]. A history of the menhaden. Orange Judd Co; 1880 [cited 2023Feb21]. Available from: 
  3. Shahidi F. Marine oils from seafood waste. Maximising the Value of Marine By-Products. 2007;:258–78.  
  4. Menhaden fact sheet – [Internet]. [cited 2023Feb21]. Available from: 
  5. Szabo Z, Marosvölgyi T, Szabo E, Koczka V, Verzar Z, Figler M, et al. Effects of repeated heating on fatty acid composition of plant-based cooking oils. Foods. 2022;11(2):192.  
  6. Fooddata Central Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. [cited 2023Feb21]. Available from: 
  7. Balwan, Wahied & Saba, Neelam. (2021). Study of Role of Fish Oil in Human Health. 10.36348/gajms.2021.v03i01.002. 
  8. Chaddha A, Eagle KA. Omega-3 fatty acids and heart health. Circulation. 2015;132(22).  
  9. Britten-Jones, Alexis Ceecee & Singh, Sumeer & Craig, Jennifer & Downie, Laura. (2020). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Eye Health: Opinions and Self-Reported Practice Behaviors of Optometrists in Australia and New Zealand. Nutrients. 12. 1179. 10.3390/nu12041179. 
  10. Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010;2(3):355–74.  
  11. David Mischoulon MD. Omega-3 fatty acids for mood disorders [Internet]. Harvard Health. 2020 [cited 2023Feb21]. Available from: 
  12. Miyata J, Arita M. Role of omega-3 fatty acids and their metabolites in asthma and allergic diseases. Allergology International. 2015;64(1):27–34.  

Diksha Koirala

Diksha Koirala is a recent graduate student in Food Technology. During her study, she developed an interest in the science behind the food used in industries for further product development. Through her writing, she hopes to educate others to create products that not only taste good but also promote a healthy lifestyle.

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