I don’t like to recommend a stack of supplements to my clients as I like them to get as much as they can from whole foods and a balanced diet. Not to mention saving them a small fortune.
There is however one supplement I will recommend to the majority of my clients and that’s fish oil.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is a form of fatty acid that contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), these fatty acids fall under the sub heading omega-3 and as the name suggests we get these fatty acids from fish. Fish oil has a whole host of benefits to health and performance and here is a list of 6 of them.
• Fish oil has been shown to turn on the lipolytic genes which are responsible for utilising fat stores. On top of this it has also been shown to turn off the lipogenic genes which are responsible for fat storage.
• It has been shown to reduce inflammation within the body which will not only improve heart health but reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as diabetes and CHD.
• Fish oil has also been shown to improve mood and decrease the incidence of depression and even carbohydrate cravings by increasing the levels of serotonin (the feel good hormone) within the body.
• Fish oil has been shown to support the function of white blood cells which are key cells in your immune system. This improved immune function means you should minimise chances of getting sick.
• Improved brain health and function is another benefit of fish oil as it regulates blood supply to the brain allowing you to maintain focus and improve memory and cognitive function.
• Finally fish oil has been shown to increase protein synthesis which is crucial for muscle building. The effects occur when fish oil is combined with protein or amino acid consumption.
So these are just a few of the benefits of fish oil and there are many more. However not all fish oil supplements are created equal, some have better quality fatty acids than others. Here are a few tips when looking for the right product.
– Most fish oils have more EPA than DHA within them however research suggest that ideally you want an EPA to DHA ratio of 1:1. Failing that try and get a product with at least 200-300mg of DHA per capsule.
– Try and find a fish oil from small fish based formulations such as herring or mackerel as they will have less environmental toxins, if unsure ask for a certificate of analysis to confirm they meet international standards. Do your homework as some fish oils can do more harm than good.
– Ideally your fish oil should be packaged with anti-oxidants such as astaxanthin and vitamin E to stop the fish oil from going rancid as again this will have a negative effect on the body. An easy way to check is to break open a capsule and smell it. If it smells like rotting fish then steer clear, it should smell like the ocean. Also be aware of any strong lemon or lime scents as sometimes these are sued to cover up the rancidity of the product.
Follow these steps and you should have a quality product that gives you all the benefits mentioned earlier. As always if you want more information, get in touch!