Your mom always told you to eat your fruits and vegetables. It’s still sound advice. Fruit and vegetable consumption is certainly a critical component of any diet. But a good diet also includes some key supplements. This article will tell you why you should get EPA/DHA oil, how to get it, and how much to get. Here’s why you should take EPA/DHA supplements. If there were a substance that mitigated your risk of liver disorders, intestinal disorders, immune disorders, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, reproductive failure, visual problems, neurological disorders, protected your joints, and helped you burn fat, wouldn’t you take this magical potion? Of course you would. And for $10-$30 per month you can have all those benefits. Not only will your life be healthier, but you might live longer too. A good example is the Eskimos, or Inuit. The Inuit live far longer than Danish people, even though they are ethnically the same and both people consume fat in similar quantities. The difference is that a larger percentage of the Inuits’ diet consists of omega-3 fats. The two fatty acids that you need to focus on are docosahexanoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid (DHA and EPA for short). The other omega 3 fatty acid is alpha-linolenic acid, which can be found in flaxseed, hemp seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, canola oil, and even bread. But ALA is not nearly as potent as DHA and EPA, so not all omega 3 fatty acids are created the same. Unless the source is fish, then omega 3 fatty acids aren’t doing you much good. Processed foods that supposedly have these fatty acids usually don’t have as much as they claim. The typical western diet of processed foods creates too much arachidonic acid in our bodies. High levels of this acid, the foundation of hormones called eicosanoids, are involved in the synthesis with cytokines that produce inflammation in the body. Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory, and inhibit the effects of arachidonic acid.
One of the best things about EPA/DHA oil is the way that reduces inflammation in the body. You might not know it but inflammation is implicated in almost all diseases, especially heart disease. Where there’s inflammation, there’s disease. Not only does it reduce inflamed joints, but because high levels of inflammation are usually the precursor for high levels of very-low lipoproteins (VLDL) in the arteries, reducing inflammation means that the liver will reduce the amount of VLDL it sends to the arteries to fight the inflammation. EPA/DHA consumption can reduce level so interleukin-6 and c-reactive protein, both good indicators of inflammation in the body.
Our ancestors used to consume a diet that had a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. The typical American eating processed food has a 20:1 ratio! So to balance that, stop eating a lot of omega 6 fatty acids, and start eating more omega 3 fatty acids. The best way to do that is to cut processed food and start consuming EPA/DHA oil.
You are 50% less likely to suffer a cardiac death if you consume fatty fish once per week rather than once per month. A study 10 years ago showed that 1000 mg of EPA/DHA oil supplementation reduced sudden death from heart attack by 50%! EPA/DHA decreases triglyceride levels, which are usually high in obese people. Levels of VLDL, the most dangerous form of cholesterol in the body, go down with EPA/DHA consumption. If you’re recovering from bypass surgery, then EPA/DHA can help in the recovery process. Hypertension can also be reduced with 4,000 mg of fish oil per day. Fish oils make cell membranes more fluid and elastic. Saturated fats can make cells more rigid, which can lead to more arrhythmia’s.
EPA/DHA alleviates inflammatory joint disease by decreasing inflammation of chrondrocyte (connective tissue in the ligament) metabolism. Chondrocyte degradation causes cartilage erosion, but fish oil can reverse this. People report that joint pain has vanished almost immediately, even though they’ve had pain all their lives. Bodybuilders have been taken fish oil for years but only recently have we discovered the secret. Those with rheumatoid arthritis experience less fatigue and stiffness with 3 grams of fish oil, and report using fewer non-steridol anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
EPA/DHA is now being used to treat a variety of diseases and syndromes, including fibromyagilia, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, schizophrenia, multiple slcerosis, sickle cell anemia, and Chrone’s disease. High levels of fish oil are inversely related to rates of skin, prostate, and breast cancer.
Fish oil also aids in fat loss
Forget CLA, green tea, fat burners, and thermogenic supplements. While they might work, they cost a lot of money and they can’t overcome a lack of exercise or a poor diet. Save your money and take fish oil. Not only will you get all the benefits I’ve just mentioned above, but you will also accelerate fat loss. In one study in the International Journal of Obesity, men either ate no fish, lean fish, fatty fish, or fish oil. Men who ate fatty fish like salmon and supplemented with fish oil lost two pounds without adding any exercise to their life. Talk about a fat burner! It’s been shown that fish oil increases resting metabolic rate, can improve insulin levels, and improve glucose tolerance in type-II diabetics. This is great news for those suffering from adult-onset diabetes.
Don’t discount exercise however. A study a couple years ago in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied participants who walked a measly 45 minutes three times per week. Those who exercised and supplemented with fish oil lost the most fat. The theory is that fish oil makes more fat available for energy. Fish oil decreases resting heart rate, which makes it harder to achieve a particular heart rate. The more you have to work, the more energy your burn. Fish oil, like exercise, increases oxidation of fat by increasing the amount of mitochondria in your cells.
Another way fish oil can aid in fat loss is by reducing the amount of stress we experience. Although stress is psychological, fish oil inhibits adrenal activation in the kidneys. High levels of stress can release too much cortisol, a hormone that inhibits fat loss and promotes fat gain. Fish oil can also alleviate depression, reduce the chance of alcoholism and suicide. If you’ve had a bad day, take some fish oil!
Okay, so now that you know the benefits of fish oil, you know you should be taking it. But how do you get it? Of course, the best way is to consume cold-water fish: mackerel, sardines, tuna, wild Pacific salmon, and anchovies. Mahi mahi and shrimp, eggs don’t have as much.
If you don’t like fish, it’s okay. Supplement manufacturers have devised a method of extracting EPA/DHA from fish and encapsulating them into pills. I recommend that you consume 3,000 mg per day. If one pill has 500 m g, then take six per day. That’s 60 calories, but don’t forget the thermogenic effects of fish oil.
Take your EPA/DHA with your food. The best thing to do is to consume it at breakfast so you don’t forget. You will notice that your breath might smell like shrimp or fish. If you don’t like that, use a breath mint or a Listerine strip. Your breakfast should conceal the fish breath anyway.
I recommend you look for a fish oil that contains about 500 mg per capsule. Twin Labs has 450 mg of EPA/DHA, while Biotest’s Flameout has 500 mg. I’ve seen some capsules that say ‘1000 mg fish oil’ but only 100-200 mg of that is EPA/DHA. Remember, don’t look for fish oil, look for EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the two fatty acids you’re looking for. Carlson Labs also makes a good way. Whichever product you buy, get 400-500 mg per capsule.
I hope this helps. Keep eating plenty of clean food, but you must supplement with EPA/DHA, unless you eat large amounts of fish every day. Even though I eat fatty fish every day, I still take four-five capsules per day. A can of salmon has about 2,000 mg of EPA/DHA, but that’s still 1,000 mg shy of the recommended intake of 3,000 mg per day.
If you’re a vegan, then I high recommend that you make this one exception. There is no way you can get EPA/DHA if you’re vegan. Wild pacific salmon, wild-caught mackerel, pole-and-line caught mahi mahi, wild-caught Atlantic herring (a.k.a sardines, sperling, pilchard, brit, and sild), and Atlantic pole-and-line Yellowfin Tuna are all excellent choices. They are sustainable harvested and they do not endure the cruelty of animal feedlots. Veganism should be healthy. I respect the central tenants of veganism, but this is one exception that you must make.