What is fish oil and who is it for?
Fish oil is made up of omega 3 fatty acids (specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), being the most beneficial). These are incredibly important for several bodily functions including the production, repair and regeneration of cell membranes that support neurological function and metabolic health. But these fatty acids can't be produced by the body, meaning you have to ingest them, which is why they are an essential component of your nutrition.
So who should be taking fish oil? Everyone. Unless you eat fish high in omega 3s multiple times a week then you should be supplementing with fish oils. It is recommended that you take between 2-3 grams a day. Fish oil can be found almost anywhere from your drugstore or your grocery store and be taken in capsule or liquid form.
Reasons to supplement with fish oil
1. It will help you lose fat!
Yes, you heard that right. How is this possible? Well there’s actually a few ways.
First of all, it promotes healthy cells which leads to optimal metabolism and improved insulin sensitivity. This means your body can readily respond to, and regulate, blood glucose levels to ensure your body uses glucose effectively rather than storing it as fat.
Secondly it’s been proven that omega 3s increases flow of blood to your muscles and stimulates the enzymes that transport fat to be used for energy. That means more calories burned from fat rather than muscle.
Finally, it has also been proven that people who have a high amount of omega 3 in their diets have lower levels of cortisol. What does that mean? Well cortisol is the stress hormone and it is catabolic to your body, which means it can make you gain fat and break down muscle. Since that's pretty much the opposite of most people's health goals, that's why we want to avoid it.
2. It’s amazing for your heart
Do you know what is the number one cause of death these days? Heart disease. It has been proven that the risks associated with heart disease are dramatically reduced in those who consume a lot of fish or supplement with fish oil. Some of the great things fish oil can do for your heart include:
3. It reduces inflammation
You may or may not know that inflammation is our body's way of fighting off infections and healing different injuries. However what you may not realize is that several of us walk around with some level of chronic inflammation throughout our bodies all the time. This is usually caused by environmental factors such as being overweight, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, pollution, poor oral health and excessive alcohol consumption. Whereas acute inflammation like swelling after you stubbed your toe is your body's way of protecting and healing itself is a good thing, chronic inflammation is not. In chronic inflammation your body has the same internal protect and heal response, but there's nothing to actually do; so white blood cells can eventually start attacking internal organs, tissues and cells. So obviously this is not a good thing for anyone and can make matters worse for those with pre-existing illness or other issues as obesity, joint problems, diabetes and heart disease.
Hence another pro for supplement with fish oil: it has anti-inflammatory effects. Omega 3 fatty acids inhibit an enzyme that trigger this kind of inflammation, similar to how aspirin works. This is the concept behind popular diets such as the 'mediterranean diet' that include lots of fish, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats such as nuts. So if you can lower the levels of inflammation in your body, you will be much healthier long term.