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Does fish oil contain cholesterol ?

Yes, it does, even more than eggs or meat ! Still, fish oil is well known for its positive effect on the blood cholesterol level. This is mainly due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids and similar poly-unsaturated fatty acids.

Blood cholesterol levels are a combination of the cholesterol produced by the body as well as dietary cholesterol. The dietary cholesterol only plays a minor role in the regulation of the blood cholesterol levels. The blood cholesterol level is more influenced by the composition of the dietary fat than by the concentration of dietary cholesterol. 

Simplified it can be stated that more saturated fats result in higher levels of blood cholesterol, more unsaturated fats result in lower cholesterol levels. This is mainly due to the fact that unsaturated fatty acids can replace cholesterol in some of the functions of cholesterol in the body. Therefore less cholesterol is needed for the body.

As fish oil contains many poly-unsaturated fatty acids, the blood cholesterol lowering effect is much stronger than the effect of the ingested cholesterol in the oil.

Some data on cholesterol in fatty products :


Cod liver oil

0,57 %

Herring oil

0,78 %

Salmon oil

0,48 %

Sardine oil

0,71 %


0,1 %

Goat milk

0,01 % in milk (0,4 % in the fat fraction)

Human milk

0,014 % in milk (0,7 % in the fat fraction)

Cow's milk

0,014 % in milk (0,65 % in the fat fraction)

Eggs (chicken)

0,43 % in whole egg, 1,2 % in the yolk

Pork steak

0,07 % in the steak (1 % in the fat fraction)


less as 0,01 %

* nearly all margarine is made of vegetable oil and thus has no cholesterol

Source : USDA Nutrition database ( )


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