The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. — Albert Einstein
This is such a true statement in the world of health and fitness. I have been on the fish oil bandwagon for years but just last week I found out I need to refrigerate my fish oil and take it with vitamin E (more on that later), and that I have likely been taking oxidized fish oil or worse–RANCID fish oil for years–who knew? Anyway, keep reading for great information on why you should be taking fish oil and how you should be taking fish oil.
The thing is, the world of health and fitness is constantly improving and constantly evolving. Sit down and watch ESPN Classic sometime: the athletes only 20 years ago were so far inferior to today’s athletes. Why? I think the short answer is science. We know so much more about nutrition, physical therapy, supplementation, programming, the list goes on. Yesterday I read that when the Brazilians won the World Cup in 1958 they were the only team with a trainer, doctor, and nutritionist on staff. Today high school teams have those resources. In 2014, each Brazilian soccer player has his own recovery drink specifically formulated for him–they actually do sweat tests and body fluid analysis of each athlete to find the perfect ratio of carbs, minerals, and protein to maximize his individual performance. The fact is, science works!
How can you use science to help you?
When it comes to science, one of my favorite experts is Dr. Rhonda Patrick, especially when it comes to vitamin deficiencies and the problems that result from poor nutrition. On a recent episode of Barbell Shrugged, she shared some amazing advice on a variety of topics, that if you have an hour plus of free time and you like sciency stuff you should totally check out here. If you don’t have the time or science bores you, here are some of the more important tips that I think we could all benefit from.
You should be taking fish oil or krill oil.
- Fish oil consists of Omega 3’s — DHA, EPA, and ALA and you need all three. ALA you can get from plants. But you should be taking fish oil to get adequate amounts of DHA (over 30% of your brain is made up of this stuff) and EPA (an important anti-inflammatory).
- Flax seed oil cannot be your only source of Omega 3’s because flax seed is only ALA and less than 5% can get converted into DHA. If you are a vegetarian, at least take microalgae oil. Vegetarians are very deficient in Omega 3’s.
“Please vegetarian people, take microalgea oil for your brain.” — Dr. Rhonda Patrick
- Fish oil is great, but it oxidizes and can go bad really really fast. Consuming rancid fat is a big no no. It acts as a mutagen, which could result in damage or impaired function of a particular gene and the accumulation of mutagens could lead to cancer. So keep your fish oil in a fridge and take it with vitamin E, which can reverse the oxidation.
- The barbellshrugged folks also touched on the processing of fish oil and suggested krill oil may actually be a better alternative because many of the mass producers of fish oil who damage the product in production. The extraction process of krill oil is different and there is some evidence that it may be a better provider of Omega 3s due to this. And krill oil is absorbed within the body better.
- Finally Dr. Rhonda recommends the brand Nordic Naturals and you can find a variety of their fish oil and other Omega 3 products here. And if you are interested in krill oil, click here for a good option or you might want to try out Progenex’s version.
More benefits of fish oil
- Children with high omega 3 intake were found to be 55% less likely to develop diabetes.
- Fish oil promotes weight loss.
- The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids are thought to protect against atherosclerosis, the primary cause of heart disease.
- Omega 3s reduce leukotriene levels, and in turn help lesson the problems of people suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- There have been numerous studies showing that fish oil reduces rates of cancer, stroke, and high blood pressure.
- As stated earlier, fish oil is GREAT FOR THE BRAIN, and it can also help with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ADHD, Schizophrenia, Depression, and studies show that mother’s consuming fish oil had children with higher IQ levels than mothers who were Omega 3 deficient.
BONUS from Dr. Rhonda: Don’t cook with polyunsaturated fats.
- Polyunsaturated fats, like vegetable oil and safflower oil, should not be used when cooking.
- Olive oil is only partially polyunsaturated so not horrible but not really the best.
- Use saturated oils for cooking — coconut oil, bacon grease (can you hear the 1980’s researchers rolling in their graves?).
Dr. Rhonda is awesome! I highly recommend you check out her site. And if you like all this sciency stuff broken down for you in words you understand then sign up for a subscription to Strong Figure in the side bar.
Speaking of science, Strong Figure is interested in doing a study on athletes and hyperthermic conditioning (using the sauna to help performance) if you are interested in participating please contact us here.
Mike Brown says
Does flax seed oil need to be vBulletin reverberated as well?
Erik Walker says
Mike, I have read that the best forms of flax oil are liquid forms and the liquid forms definitely need to be refrigerated. I used to use flax oil and vinegar on my salads and I only used the refrigerated liquid form.
Here is a good blog post on flaxseed oil: http://blog.foundmyfitness.com/why-your-flaxseed-oil-is-inadequate/
Mike Brown says
Wow Eric, I am impressed you were able to figure out those hieroglyphics!! That’s what I get for typing on my phone while traveling on a school bus. Thanks for the reply.