If you stop and ask any nutritionist, trainer or vitamin store employee a supplement question, they likely always end up recommending that you take some fish oil. So is fish oil that good that everyone should be taking it? What about the few studies that come out that show fish oil may have a negative outcome? Is that fact or fiction?
Generally, most of the fish oil studies are very positive and they show a variety of benefits making fish oil a multifaceted supplement. The significant “powerhouses” of every fish oil pill is eicospentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are often what the studies refer to when they make mention of “fish oil”.
1) Heart Health
Heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States and there is strong science to back up the claim that fish oil plays a positive role in preventing heart disease. Studies suggest that fish oil works to lower triglycerides. If you consume too many calories and have too much body fat, your body will increase your triglyceride levels which essentially chokes your heart. Fish oil supplements have been shown to lower triglyceride levels.
Studies also suggest that fish oil helps to lower blood pressure which is also linked to heart disease. In addition, while fish oil does not lower cholesterol, it does favorably modify the ratio of “good” HDL cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol. Yet another heart health benefits of fish oil.
2) Cognition and brain health
DHA is present in both the gray and white matter of your brain and is especially important in early childhood development. Fast forward to elderly people and fish oil has benefits on helping elderly folks to maintain their cognitive function as they age. Other DHA studies also suggest that it may help to maintain the actual size of the brain as people age and lot of emerging science suggest that fish oil may help fight Alzheimer disease.
3) Autoimmune disease
Fish oil and DHA have been studied for years for their immune system benefits and studies suggest that fish oil supplements may play a role in controlling autoimmune disease due to its ability to lower inflammation. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that when subjects took fish oil supplements they had less of a need for nonsterodial anti-inflammatory drugs. Pretty cool!
4) Eye Health
Similar to brain health, fish oil has been studied and shows benefits for both early childhood eye development as well maintaining eye health as we age especially with individuals who suffer from age-related macular degeneration,
5) A variety of cancers
There are numerous studies that show the benefits of fish oil supplementation on a variety of cancers including, but not limited to, prostate, liver and lung cancer. How might fish oil fight cancer? That’s really hard to say but it is speculated that fish oil works because most cancers are based in chronic inflammation and fish oil helps to lower inflammation. While more research needs to be done, it’s pretty exciting to see.
How much fish oil is right for me?
Sadly, more fish oil isn’t always better so it’s vital to get the proper amount of fish oil supplements within your total daily fat intake. Here’s some steps to follow
1) Eat fatty, wild caught fish, once or twice per week.
Wild caught fatty fish is the best food source of omega-3 fats and you should aim to include this excellent protein source in your diet at least twice per week. For example, 3 ounces of wild caught salmon contains roughly 1.78 mg’s of essential fatty acids
2) Lower your intake to processed foods and man made fats.
The American diet is filled with processed foods and man made fats such as canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil. These trans fat are high in omega-6 fats which compete with omega-3 fats for space on the cell receptor. As we’re constantly eating, we’re impacting the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 so choosing to eliminate processed foods and man made fats is important in pushing the overall omega balance toward favorably omega-3's.
3) When eating meat choose organic, pastured raised or grass fed options.
While meat is not generally high in omega-3 fats, studies show that organic, pastured raised and grass fed meats do contain more omega-3 fats than their conventionally raised counterparts. Buffalo meat in particular is very high in omega-3 fats.
4) Eat organic extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil daily.
Organic extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil contain other essential fats that mirror some of the benefits of omega-3 fish oil supplements such as fighting inflammation. Eating these daily can be very helpful for general health and as you'll find out in a second, may help you absorb more fish oil.
What’s the best way to take omega-3 fish oil supplements?
Much has been written about debating the proper way to take omega-3 fish oil supplements. Allow me to simplify it. Most fish oil supplements are very poorly absorbed by the body. I looked at the science and added extra Vitamin E to The Physique Formula Extra Strength Fish Oil since Vitamin E helps your body absorb more fish oil due to the delay in fish oil oxidation.
In addition, take your fish oil supplements with a meal containing other fats. That way the fat from your meal helps to prevent fish oil oxidation similar to Vitamin E for a one-two combination punch
Fish Oil Benefits For Athletes And Body Composition.
Up until now we’ve talked about the amazing benefits of fish oil for general health but what about athletes or people like me and you who want to lose fat and build muscle? Well fish oil supplements have a ton of benefits for us too!
We’ve talked about the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio before. In order for you cells to work optimally, they need more omega-3’s. Omega-3 fish oil supplementation improve insulin sensitivity which is vitally important for fat loss. If your insulin sensitivity is impaired due to recent weight gain, a poor diet or lack of exercise, you will have a hard time burning body fat. Improved insulin sensitivity helps your body handle carbohydrates better so you can lose body fat.
Does fish oil make you anabolic?
Anabolic means you’re in a muscle building environment and the answer is yes. Fish oil has been shown in studies to decrease cortisol which is the opposing hormone of testosterone. Any time you lower cortisol, you boost testosterone.
Another study using 4 grams of fish oil supplements a day have been shown to increase protein synthesis which is another way to build muscle. Improved insulin sensitivity from fish oil may increase muscle building due to an increased ability for your body to shuttle nutrients such as creatine, carnatine and amino acids into muscle tissue.
The NCAA actually recently placed omega-3 fish oil on its restricted list due to potential benefits for athletes. Talk about insane right?
Inflammation and athletes.
As we discussed earlier, chronic inflammation can have a negative impact on your health. One way that inflammation gets out of control is with hard training. Studies in training populations have shown that fish oil supplementation helps to lower inflammation, reduce muscle sweeping and leads to less soreness and pain post workout.
As a result, fish oil supplementation may also help to increase detoxification of muscle waste products for yet another benefit.
Let's talk about my recommended fish oil dosing.
General Health:3-6 grams of fish oil evenly spread during the day.
Athletes: 6-9 grams of fish oil per day. 3 grams with 3 meals.
Muscle gain and fat loss:6-9 grams of fish oil per day. 3 grams with 3 meals.
That's it for today. Remember to grab your Physique Formula Extra Strength Fish Oil today and experience the difference.