Fish oil and Omega 3's
Of all the supplements available on the market, by far one of the most important is fish oil or the omega-3 components of DHA and EPA. From a physiology stand point we clearly have essential aminos (which make up protein) and essential fatty acids (or good fats). If we are to thrive and survive we need to ensure an adequate supply of both from diet and supplements. Omega-3's have been clearly showing themselves pivotal to almost every malady imaginable. If you were to do a pubmed search for "n-3" (the fancy way to say omega 3) and the disease of your choice, you would find it a positive adjunct when addressing everything from Arthritis to Xenophobia and all the letters in between. For the fitness enthusiast the two key effects of adequate omega 3 intake are that it turns off lipogenic genes (fat creation) and turns on lipolytic genes (fat burning). As a trainer we encourage daily usage in our clients as it addresses two big hurdles typical in the resistant client: depression (it raises serotonin levels- the happier our client the more likely they are to comply with our programs and diets) and chronic low grade inflammation (achy joints are the bane of most stressed clients and clearly impede performance and of course outcome in our programming). Most clients that resist "pill popping" will tell me,"I eat fish so I don't need to take extra". Keep in mind heat will destroy the fragile structure of these fats- so if you are eating daily servings of sashimi- I'll listen. But if you're going to try to sell me on your canned tuna (mercury anyone ?) or that fish and chips you had for lunch . . sorry Charlie. Even Omega-3 eggs, while superior to normal eggs, once cooked inevitably denature much of the valuable omega-3 therein. In fact supplement quality itself will dictate whether you benefit from the addition or walk around with "fish burps"- very common to the Costco, Walmart supersaver brands typically labelled "fish oil" (think processing plant leftovers put through a juicer - yep it "may contain" omega-3 but that certainly isn't all). Good things are seldom cheap and cheap things seldom good and when it comes to a supplement as valuable to blood lipids, neurotransmitter health, managing inflammation and keeping the arteries clean and slippery- I'll stick to molecularly distilled/ pharmaceutical grade extracted from little fish like sardines, anchovy and mackerel- low on the food chain and typically devoid of any significant toxins. Brand name like ATP LAB come to mind as of choice. Health expert Charles Poliquin along with head of the Hypertension Institute, Dr. Mark Houston both advocate addressing obesity in the dosage range of up to 1g fish oil per % bodyfat. This would mean someone at 30% bodyfat would need 30 1g capsules of fish oil spread over the day or more manageable,about 3 tbsp of liquid (consumer note: the ATP OMEGA-3 is pharmaceutical grade and tastes great- flavoured with raspberry ketones). Those dealing with severe acne have found relief in using high amounts of EPA (found in the fish oil). The excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in our food have led to excessive production of inflammatory factors such as prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4. Both of these encourage acne, which is a consequence of inflammatory reactions. When the daily dose of EPA reached 930 mg, the most harsh forms of acne saw marked relief. Ironically those using in the 3-6g range daily for arthritis relief enjoyed even greater relief from their acne. (Lipids Health Dis. 2012 Dec 3;11:165.). This of course points to the broad reaching effects of controlling inflammation. This addressing one malady with n-3 and seeing other benefits has become commonplace. In a French study, diabetic women given fish oil for their diabetic issues enjoyed substantial fat loss around their midsections (Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Dec;86(6):1670-9.). The supplement reduced the activity of inflammatory genes in the women's fat cells, the researchers discovered. Clearly, if one was working within a supplement budget, high grade omega-3 from fish oil lends an enviable bang for your buck.