Ahiflower oil has been making a lot of buzz lately as a new plant-based alternative to fish oil. It’s a flowering plant known to be high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for brain, gut, and skin health. Most of us have way too many omega-6s (duh – because refined vegetable oils and foods cooked in vegetable oils are full of them! Don’t be fooled vegetables oils are HORRIBLE for us!) and way too little omega-3s in our diet and that is especially true for vegans and vegetarians as there aren’t that many sources for omega-3s that fit those diets. Given all that it’s not surprising that people are very interested in ahiflower. Studies now show that it’s totally safe, but safe isn’t the same thing as effective.
It’s important to remember that supplements aren’t regulated, meaning there could literally be anything in what you’re taking (I’m talking a calcium supplement could have zero calcium and you wouldn’t know because no one checks unless a lawsuit is brought to the table). Time and time again we’re also told that most supplements do nothing at best or, at worse, are actually harming us. I take pre-natals because folic acid is one of the few things that actually has been shown to help prevent certain birth defects, but that’s all. I used to take probiotics since, despite consuming 35 grams of fiber a day, all the fertility medication I’ve been on for two-plus years make me constipated. After this bombshell story, however, I no longer do that. It underlines for me the importance of continually educated ourselves because so many healthy professionals are still advocated for probiotics and collagen powders (which have also been shown to be a complete waste as your stomach will break down that powder before it reaches your skin).
Despite having been proven safe, there hasn’t yet been enough research to say for sure whether ahiflower is doing anything at all for those taking supplements. We do, however, know for sure that it’s not rich in all the same things that fish oil is rich in – namely it lacks EPA and DPA (only found in animal products), which my doctor tells me is especially important for pregnant women (I’m in the midst of trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage).
At this point – even as someone who has a mostly vegan diet – I can’t see that there’s enough evidence to buy into this trend. Would you try ahiflower or consider it as an alternative to fish oil? In any case – especially given how unregulated this market is – it’s always advised to consult with a doctor first! And also note that the New York Times now has an entire series devoted to uncover “wellness scams.”