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What Is Sardine Oil?

By Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Updated May 16, 2024
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Sardine oil is a type of oil harvested from small, herring-like fish known as sardines. The oil is used widely in manufacturing. It also has nutritional benefits, similar to the oils from other types of fish such as salmon.

A variety of companies use sardine oil as a lubricant. The substance is a common ingredient in paint, varnish, linoleum and even biofuels. Soap is another product sardine oil is used in. The fact people put sardine oil to use in so many capacities in addition to ingesting the oil has led to jokes that sardine oil is one of the few substances that works just as well in the body as it does in a machine or on someone's wall.

Nutritionally, sardine oil is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, next to salmon oil. Scientists believe these fatty acids are critical to the absorption of calcium, which is a requirement for strong bones. It also aids in other physical processes such as blood clotting, transmitting nerve impulses and protein structuring.

Another health benefit of the omega-3 fatty acids found so richly in sardine oil is the reduction of triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels are associated with the buildup of plaque in arteries, which can increase blood pressure and damage the heart. Doctors cannot consider sardine oil to be a cure for cancer, but the omega-3 fatty acids in the oil have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancer types.

Extracting oil from sardines involves the same basic process as extracting oil from other fish. Workers cut up and cook the sardines with steam. They then centrifuge the fish to separate the oil and water from the fish flesh, or fish meal. Following the separation of the meal and liquid, workers separate the oil and water. The oil is then purified, and antioxidants are added prior to packaging if the oil is intended for consumption.

For industrial purposes, sardine is put into bottles or large vats. People often choose to ingest sardine oil by eating the sardine fishes. Sardines have a rather strong flavor and odor, so for people who don't care for the taste, sardine is available in capsules. Ingesting sardine oil this way is fairly easy, as the person taking the capsule cannot taste the oil directly. This type of oil is available in most health food stores, as well as online for both nutritional and industrial purposes.

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