Fish Oil: Why you need it
As a strength and fitness professional this is easily one of the most frequently asked questions by old and new athletes/members alike. Over the years my opinion on the matter has changed drastically and the answer itself can vary quite a bit given the individual who is asking the question. My typical belief is that we should get the vast majority of our nutritional needs from the FOOD we consume on a daily basis. However, there is one supplement whose benefits are undeniable. It can benefit you no matter who you are, your age, sex/gender, background or whatever it may be. That answer is: FISH OIL.
(Vegan? No excuse… flaxseed oil has nearly all the same benefits)
Fish oil is the closest thing (currently) in the world today to a miracle drug. The benefits are plentiful and it is a readily available, relatively low cost supplement. The benefits are so profound it is almost negligent not to take it. Just have a look at a few of the benefits:
- Studies have shown that people who consume fish oil daily have much lower rates of heart disease. Currently, heart disease is one of, if not the leading cause of death worldwide for many reasons. Most of which taking fish oils helps:
- Cholesterol: fish oil can increase the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol
- Triglycerides: It can lower triglycerides by about 15–30%
- Blood pressure: Even in small doses, it helps reduce blood pressure
- All of these lower your risk of heart disease
2. Fish oil can treat certain mental disorders. Your brain is made up of nearly 60% fat, and much of this fat is omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, omega-3s are essential for normal brain function. Some studies have shown that people with certain mental disorders have lower omega-3 blood levels. Research also indicates that fish oil supplementation can prevent the onset or improve the symptoms of some mental disorders such as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders as well as fight against mental decline (i.e. dementia)
Those are two big benefits but by no means are they the only. Many other benefits exist such as:
- supports eyes health and protect against vision deterioration as we age
- reduce inflammation and symptoms of inflammatory disease.
- support good skin health
- helps improve symptoms of depression and anxiety
- supports good muscle growth and bone health
- improve attentiveness and hyperactivity in children
- and many more
As you can see, there is scientific evidence and proof of the effectiveness and benefits fish oil has to offer all of us; and even on a bigger scale society as a whole. If you were to take one supplement, I think its clear to say that the one supplement should be fish oil. However there are a few things to consider when buying fish oil such as:
- Make sure your fish oil has at least 1000mg combined of Omega-3 EPA and DHA. Its best if it contains this it one serving size as it shows the supplement has a high potency thus making you have to consume less!
- Microfiltered fish oil that has been purified for potency and the removal of mercury is by far the best. It is a stronger more potent source of omega-3 without the excess fish oil!
- The best fish oils wont smell “Fishy”(at least not super fishy). A good test you can do is to place your fish oil in the fridge. If the oil appears to be cloudy its not a great product!
- The two fish oils that I would call the “Highest Standard” in the market are OmegaVia and Viva Naturals Triple Strength. These two products are of the highest quality so if you cant actually purchase them, take a look at the label and get your hands on something as similar as possible.
The overall purpose of dietary supplementation is to increase your quality of life, and fish oil is a very strong proponent to that. So next time you look at your supplement cabinet, no matter what is in there or how many products it contains, make sure fish oil is there.
- Coach Taylor