Fish Oil supplementation is talked about all the time. You've heard people ask others, "are you taking fish oil" or, "what kind of fish oil are you taking?". If you have no idea what they're talking about, and you'd like to learn more, here are some basics about fish oil supplementation and why you should be taking it.
What is it?
Fish oil is a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is a type of polyunsaturated fat. Dont' stop reading, I'll explain! What is polyunsaturated fat you ask, and why is it important?
Polyunsaturated fats are a source of good fat. They can have heart benefits when used to replace saturated fats. They can help lower bad cholesteral levels as well as lower your risk for strokes and heart disease.
There are two types of polyunsaturated fats found frequently in our food, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. These two polyunsaturated fats are sources of two essential fatty acids. They are alfha-linolenic acid (ALA), which in an Omega-3, and linoleic acid(LA), which is an Omega-6.
What does it do?
What benefits are there from using this as a supplement? Well, Omega-3's are know as an "anti-inflamitory" fat and Omega-6 as a "pro-inflamitory" fat. There is a natural balance that you need to keep in your body of these two fatty acids to promote optimimum physiological function. Current diets and bad eating habits promote elevated levels of Omega-6 and therefore inflamation sets in. Inflamtion is the cause of a lot of bad stuff, like heart disease. Stay away!
If most of the processed foods we eat elevate the amount of Omega-6 we intake, what do we then need to do to balance this out? First of all, eat better quality foods, but you should also supplement with fish oil high in Omega-3. This will better help your body be in balance and not succumb to inflamation.
Some benefits of Omega-3 fats:
- Increase the fluidity of cell membranes
- Heart health
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Cardiovascular function
- CNS (Central Nervous System) Function
- Immune Health
* Omega-3 can also act as an anti-coagulant. Please consult your doctor before any surgery or if you're in the military and about to deploy.
Types of Omega-3
Fish oil provides two types of Omeg-3 fatty acids. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are prefered by the brain and body but are inefficiantly converted through regular foods. When you purchase fish oil, make sure you pay attention to the levels of EPA and DHA per serving. These are the two things you need to focus on most.
- Fish (Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Mackrel, Sardines, Herring)
- Grass-fed/Pasture raised meat and eggs
- Black beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Canola oil
* Remember, foods can be high in Omega-3, but might be inneficiently converted (flaxseed). This is where supplementation with fish oil high in EPA and DHA can be helpful as it's already there without your conversion process.
Hopefully you've learned a little bit about what it is and why fish oil should be an important part of your daily routine. Help lower inflamation and feel better. If you're looking to start a workout routine like CrossFit (Check out our recent blog: 5-easy steps couch to CrossFit), I would definitely encourage you to visit your local nutrition supplier and invest in some high quality fish oil.
CF-L1 & CF-L2