“If you can’t fix it with squats and fish oil, you’re probably going to die.” I’m not sure who or where that quote came from, but it’s one that stuck. The importance of consuming quality Omega-3 (O3) fish oils seems to be the one aspect of nutrition that everyone in the industry agrees on! It is, however, important to understand why it is so beneficial.
The Omega-3/Omega-6 Balance
This is arguably the most important reason. O3 comes from wild seafood, wild game and wild vegetation. The operative word there being WILD. Unless you’re out there catching and growing your own food from untouched sources, the seafood, meat and vegetables you’re eating don’t have the amounts of O3 they would have had pre-agriculture. Omega-6 (O6) comes from vegetable oils (sunflower, soybean, peanut, corn – man made oils), margarines, and grain-fed animal fats – items that you have hopefully begun to eliminate from your diet given what we teach from your first week at the CFJ facilities.
A 1:1 O3/O6 ratio helps keep inflammation in check. O3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, while O6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory. In the modern, unbalanced diet O6s far outweigh O3s, thereby contributing to inflammation.
Like I said, most of you will have taken the advice given by us to cut out vegetable oils and opt for animal products from cleaner sources. So your O6 intake will already be lower than most. However, because most animal products and vegetation is not wild caught and grown anymore, you may not be getting enough quality O3s in.
More Health Benefits
- Cardiovascular health: O3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been shown to keep triglyceride levels down. That ensures that plaque development in blood vessels is limited. By keeping blood clotting and inflammation of blood vessels down, blood flow is maintained to ensure proper oxygen delivery to working muscles.
- Neural and retinal development: Brain, nerve and retinal (eye) tissue contain huge amounts of DHA. Last trimester babies can therefore really benefit from fish oils. Have you given birth before? Did you take note of short-term memory loss, slightly impaired cognitive function and slow reaction times? It’s because baby was sucking all that O3 from you! So pregnant women especially need to supplement with fish oils. And on the flip side, visual and neural health tends to decline as we age. Low DHA and EPA levels have also been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s, some dementias and vision deficiencies.
- Insulin sensitivity: Yes, fish oils may even improve insulin sensitivity.
Adverse Side Effects.
Given the lower levels of inflammation, better cardiovascular health, healthy neural tissue and good vision, could there be anything wrong with fish oil supplementation? While there are a few known side effects, it’s highly unlikely to get too much of this good thing. There are some contraindications, though.
Too much fish oil may lead to too much thinning of the blood. Therefore, if you’re on chronic medication to prevent blood clotting you need to consider your O3 dosage. Consult your physician about that.
Oxidised fish oil can actually contribute to toxic fish oil. How do you avoid that? Only get your fish oil from reputable sources, keep your product in a cool place and don’t overcook your fatty fish.
A diet high in high glycemic carbs and alcohol can also place undue load on the liver if you’re supplementing with fish oils too. But hey, you’re off that boat already, right? And for those still on that boat thinking, “Well I’ll just keep eating as is because the fish oils will counteract that,” you’re actually doing more harm.
In the current environment of the supplement industry that is all about numbers, quality is especially important. Most supplement companies water down their products to yield a greater quantity of saleable produce. Fish oil from small, wild caught fish has the best concentration of O3. The products also need to be distilled to reduce mercury and be kept away from high temperatures and levels of oxygen to prevent oxidation.
Most of you reading this will already have a low sugar intake, and be avoiding refined carbs and vegetable oils. But you won’t quite be dining on wild caught venison and salmon everyday. So for most of you on a healthy primal-type diet, fish oils will help balance your fatty acid profile, keep inflammation at bay, promote good heart health, give your brain, nerves and eyes the fatty acids needed to develop and stay healthy, and counteract some of the pitfalls of modern life.
The effects are best experienced when taken with a good dose of squats.