Ever notice there’s a huge bucket of fish oil at the box? Ever wonder why you might need it, how it benefits you, what to consider in choosing a brand and how much to take?
The Omega 3′s from fish are highly beneficial. But as always, it is critically important to understand the WHY behind the WHAT. And it all boils down to your body’s Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio, and if you zoom in a little further, this means inflammation.
As a general rule, Omega 6′s (N6) are inflammatory. Omega 3′s (N3) can be thought of as the yin to N6′s yang with anti-inflammatory, joint, muscle building, exercise recovery and immune system enhancing benefits. Nature, always seeking balance, sets our body’s genetic expectation of N6:N3 to a 1:1 ratio which keeps inflammation down and everything in balance. On an ancestral diet, this is what nature provides for us. But, unfortunately due the industrial food chain, mineral depletion in soil and the consumption of high amounts of N6 ladened vegetable oils, grains and grain feed meat, hydrogenated oils and other toxins present in processed foods, the typical American has a ratio of nearly 30:1!! You read that right THIRTY to one. What this presents is a highly inflammatory state – and inflammation is the precursor to nearly every chronic disease known to man. But what if you are right on point with your diet and eating right for your metabolic type? High quality organic vegetables, grass fed/pastured/wild meats, no sugar, no gluten, no alcohol etc? There are still a host of benefits to be had from fish oil supplementation, primarily from the Omega 3′s DHA and EPA which play large roles in brain and eye health, immune system, physical performance and increased insulin sensitivity. Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts, vision problems, as well as cancers like prostate, breast and colorectal, all may be linked to low levels of essential fatty acids EPA and DHA.
“Ok cool, but did you say something about ‘physical performance’??” Yes, high intensity exercise significantly increases the demand on the circulatory system to provide oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, lungs and brain and to remove metabolic waste during the workout such as lactic acid. N3 has also been shown to support lung function and to promote blood flow, oxygen delivery and protein synthesis (ALL OF THE MUSCLES! –> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161106.htm). They have also been shown to play an important role in recovery.
I recommend taking 1-3 grams per day. If your diet is very low inflammatory or if you eat wild caught fish frequently you can get by with less. As always self experiment a bit and find the dosage that feels right for you. You should feel more energy, recover faster and notice stronger cognitive performance.
When choosing a brand of fish oil, quality is extremely important. Cheap fish oil is harvested from farmed fish and buying from the bargain bin or Costco means it’s very likely that it could have gone rancid from the time it was harvested to the time it hits your shopping cart. Rancid oils are oxidized oils and oxidized oils are NO BUENO. I recommend Theralogix Sport, SFH, Nordic Naturals, or the real deal – Sardines from Wild Planet (it seems like everyone is pre-programmed to say “YUCK!” but Sardines are delicious – meaty like tuna, but slightly milder, packed with amazing nutrition and high in protein). For the less adventurous who still want the benefits of taking Fish Oil, however, we have an account set up with Theralogix for you to get a discount on their product. Just make sure to use our referral code (C2040) when ordering and you’ll be all set.
Next time you come into the gym, grab a few samples and a brochure and try for yourself. Any questions, tips or testimonials? Post in comments!