Salmon oil is a known source of omega-3 long-chain fatty acids derived from salmon. (1) The salmon is large fish that belongs to the family Salmonidae.
The oil is extracted from the belly fats, liver, muscles, skins, heads, and guts of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar). Viscera and Head parts are used to extract oil from Alaska red salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) and Alaska pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha).
Salmon oil is rich in PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids), EPA, and DHA. Likewise, it is also a good source of MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid); oleic acids. (3)
Consumption of salmon-derived oil has been associated with many health benefits, like lowering triglyceride levels and decreasing inflammation. (4,5) Adding salmon oil to the diet has also reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (6)
Like all oil, salmon oil is an excellent source of fatty acids. It has both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Although saturated fatty acid (SFA) is considered unhealthy because it increases LDL- and total cholesterol levels, consumption of these in a limited amount is considered good. So, Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming only 11% of calories from saturated fatty acids. (7)
Likewise, both mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids are present in salmon oil. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also found in salmon oil. However, it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids instead of omega-6 fatty acids. 100 g of salmon oil provides 902 Kcal energy and has 100 g of fats. (3,8)
|Name||Amount||Daily Requirements for Adults|
|Energy||902 Kcal||2000-2,500 Kcal|
|Total fat||100 g||60-80 g|
Fatty Acids (SFA)
SFA found in salmon oil are palmitic acid, stearic acid, and myristic acid. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend only 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids, but American Heart Association recommends even lower amounts, i.e., 7% calories from saturated fatty acids. 19.9 g of saturated fatty acid is in 100 g of salmon oil. (2)
|Name||Amount per 100 g|
|Myristic acid (SFA 14:0)||3.28 g|
|Palmitic acid (SFA 16:0)||9.84 g|
|Stearic acid (SFA 18:0)||4.24 g|
Fatty Acids (MUFA)
The monounsaturated fatty acids found in salmon oil are palmitoleic, oleic, paullinic, and erucic acids. Among them, oleic acid is in higher amounts, i.e., 17 g of oleic acid per 100 g of salmon oil. A total of 29 g of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) is present in 100 g of salmon oil. (2)
|Palmitoleic acid (MUFA 16:1)||4.82 g|
|Oleic acid (MUFA 18:1)||17 g|
|Paullinic acid (MUFA 20:1)||3.86 g|
|Erucic acid (MUFA 22:1)||3.38 g|
Fatty Acids (PUFA)
Essential fatty acids like DPA, DHA, and EPA are in reasonable amounts in salmon oil. DHA content is highest among other fish oils and foods, and EPA is also good. 40.3 g of total PUFA is present in 100 g of salmon oil. (2) 485 mg of cholesterol is also found in salmon oil, which is less than that present in Mehenden oil. (2)
|Linoleic acid (PUFA 18:2)||1.54 g|
|Linolenic acid (PUFA 18:3)||1.06 g|
|Stearidonic acid (PUFA 18:4)||2.8 g|
|Arachidonic acid (PUFA 20:4)||0.675 g|
|EPA (PUFA 20:5, n=3)||13 g|
|DPA (PUFA 22:5, n=3)||2.99 g|
|DHA (PUFA 22:6, n=3)||18.2 g|
Consuming fish oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids, one of the essential fatty acids, has shown many health benefits. EPA and DHA in salmon oil are the two primary fatty acids with anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular disease lowering, and maintaining cell integrity properties. Health benefits often associated with the consumption of salmon oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids are as follows:
- Can improve heart health: The omega-3 present in salmon oil is known to lower human triglyceride and cholesterol levels. A report on the effects of adding salmon oil to the Chinese men’s diet showed that levels of triglyceride and cholesterol in serum decreased. (6) The decrease in the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol helps prevent cardiovascular disease in dyslipidemic individuals. (6)
- Has anti-inflammatory properties: The EPA and DHA lower the number of inflammation reactions, including leukocyte chemotaxis, leucocyte-endothelial adhesive interactions, adhesion molecule expression, production of eicosanoids like prostaglandins and leukotrienes, and producing inflammatory cytokines and T cell reactivity. So, it has been effective against rheumatoid arthritis. (9)
- Can help in the proper development of the fetus: A study shows that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids-rich food helps increase the length of the fetus and develop the fetal brain and the retina. (10)
- Has a positive impact on cognitive health: The DHA, an omega-3 PUFA, is highest in the brain. Likewise, DPA and EPA are also found in the brain. These omega-3 fatty acids are effective for healthy brain aging. It has been used as a therapeutic agent against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (11)
- May promote eye health: A trial conducted by providing an oral supplement of omega-3 on normotensive patients with glaucoma for three months showed that it decreased intraocular pressure. The increase in intraocular pressure is a risk factor for people with glaucoma. (12)
- Helps in better blood flow: Salmon oil is a good source of DHA and EPA. A study concluded that treatment with DHA and EPA improves blood flow in the artery during exercise. (13) It also increases the stroke volume and cardiac input, which increases oxygen delivery during exercise. (14)
- Can be good for skin health: Salmon fish oil has a good amount of EPA, DHA, and linolenic acids. Applying the oil directly to the skin has proven effective against some skin cancers, photoaging, dermatitis, allergy, melanogenesis, and cutaneous wounds. (15)
Short-term side effects of omega-3 rich foods are mainly mild. These include bad-swelling sweat, unpleasant taste, headache, and bad breadth. It can also lead to gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, diarrhea, and nausea. In long-term some research suggest people who consume fish oils rich in long chain omega-3 can increase risk of prostate cancer. (16)
In contrast, other research have shown seafood lowers the risk of prostate cancer. Further studies are required for confirming the effects of seafood in prostate cancer. Likewise, supplements of omega-3 can react with blood thinning drugs and lead to bleeding. (16)
- Genot C, Meynier A, Bernoud-Hubac N, Michalski M-C. Bioavailability of lipids in fish and fish oils. Fish and Fish Oil in Health and Disease Prevention. 2016;:61–74.
- López-Pedrouso M, Lorenzo JM, Cantalapiedra J, Zapata C, Franco JM, Franco D. Aquaculture and by-products: Challenges and opportunities in the use of alternative protein sources and bioactive compounds. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research. 2020;92:127–85.
- Fooddata Central Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. USDA; 2019 [cited 2023Feb22]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172343/nutrients
- Harchaoui K, Visser M, Kastelein J, Stroes E, Dallinga-Thie G. Triglycerides and cardiovascular risk. Current Cardiology Reviews. 2009;5(3):216–22.
- Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: From molecules to man. Biochemical Society Transactions. 2017;45(5):1105–15.
- Zhang J, Wang C, Li L, Man Q, Song P, Meng L, et al. Inclusion of atlantic salmon in the Chinese diet reduces cardiovascular disease risk markers in dyslipidemic adult men. Nutrition Research. 2010Jul;30(7):447–54.
- Institute of Medicine 2006. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11537.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
- Calder PC. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory processes: Nutrition or pharmacology? British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2013;75(3):645–62.
- Coletta JM, Bell SJ, Roman AS. Omega-3 fatty acids and pregnancy [Internet]. Reviews in obstetrics & gynecology. U.S. National Library of Medicine; 2010 [cited 2023Feb22]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21364848/
- Dyall SC. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: A review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and dha. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2015;7.
- Downie LE, Vingrys AJ. Oral omega-3 supplementation lowers intraocular pressure in normotensive adults. Translational Vision Science & Technology. 2018;7(3):1.
- Walser B, Giordano RM, Stebbins CL. Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augments brachial artery dilation and blood flow during forearm contraction. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2006;97(3):347–54.
- Walser B, Stebbins CL. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation enhances stroke volume and cardiac output during dynamic exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2008;104(3):455–61.
- Huang T-H, Wang P-W, Yang S-C, Chou W-L, Fang J-Y. Cosmetic and therapeutic applications of fish oil’s fatty acids on the skin. Marine Drugs. 2018;16(8):256.
- Omega-3 supplements: In depth [Internet]. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018 [cited 2023Feb22]. Available from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3-supplements-in-depth#hed6