Fish Oil Does All That? Wow.
An ultra-pure fish oil has become a staple part of my nutrition plan. I was first pointed to fish oil for it’s benefits of helping reduce stress. I
have since learned that is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to the many incredible benefits. My challenge was actually finding a fish oil that didn’t have a really horrible fishy after taste that seemed to linger in mouth for as long as it takes me to run a 250km multi-day race. Good news, I found one. And an option for vegetarians.
First the benefits, which are many so far now weare going to focus on howfish oil has helped support my athletics. (In future posts I detail the benefits to the brain, skin health and several other benefits.)
Cortisol is the stress hormone. It can be menacing. It degrades muscle, leads to fat gain and makes you feel stressed. An ultra-pure fish oil improves the activity of insulin in your body. A high insulin sensitivity gives you the ability to lose fat. Insulin shuttles glucose from dietary carbs (two things here – 1. you need to eat carbs 2. you need to eat carbs. No that is not a typo.) into the muscles to be stored and used as energy. Fish oil helps load nutrients into the muscle like creatine & carnitine for physical performance and fat burning. (FYI – your body naturally produces creatine. It is also found in meat & fish. Yes you can supplement additionally based on your goals.)
Decreasing cortisol can increase protein synthesis; i.e. what you need for energy. The mTOR pathway (regulator of cell metabolism, growth, proliferation and survival of cells) produces muscle growth and studies have shown that fish oil has enhanced muscle growth by 30%. Fish oil helps to repair the tiny muscle tears that naturally occur enabling you to build muscle.
Reducing both your cortisol levels and inflammation in your body (i.e. not necessarily the inflammation that you can feel) can enhance body composition by enabling you to lose fat and build muscle. From an athletic perspective having inflammation in the body equates to delayed recovery times. When it comes to recovery an ultra-pure fish oil has a double barrel impact.
1. Decreases the acute immediate inflammatory response to intense exercise. In English? No problem. Have you ever gone to the gym, for a run, spin class, some other form of exercise jumped into your car and been stiff when you tried to get out? That is acute immediate inflammation. An ultra-pure fish oil can alleviate those symptoms. I will go for a 4 – 5 hour mountain run, take 2 – 4 fish oil capsules, get in my car, drive for 20 – 30 minutes to get home and no longer need to pour myself out of the vehicle. I am super grateful for this new reality thanks in part to my fish oil supplement.
2. Decreases the chronic inflammation aka delayed onset muscle soreness. Again in English. You know when you are sore not the necessarily the very next day but maybe the day after exercising? Yes, fish oil can help with that too.
An ultra-pure fish oil helps reduce inflammation by accelerating the detoxification process. It supports the removal of waste product (no not that type of waste product; lactic acid build up and stuff like that) and removes inflammatory biomarkers.
But Can’t I Just Get Everything I Need From Food?
You know that saying “you are what you eat”? Right. I work with an amazing Registered Holistic Nutritionist who has beautifully reframed that statement. You are what your food eats. When it comes to fish, many species have seen a dramatic rise in their mercury content. Actor Jeremy Piven (Entourage, Old School, Serendipity – yes I watch Rom Com’s) had a high profile case of sever mercury poisoning. It can cost as much as $5,000 to remove the mercury from your system. When you are pregnant it is recommended to only have 1 serving of tuna per month. PER MONTH. If that wasn’t enough to persuade you, the quantity of fish you would need to to eat for optimal benefit is likely more than you would want to attempt. Not to mention that I don’t know anybody who reaches for cans of sardines as their post-workout meal…
Okay So Why Do I Keep Saying Ultra-Pure?
#1 is to ensure there is NO mercury. Zero. In my personal opinion there is no “safe” level of mercury to be ingesting. You want the source of the fish oil to be from small, fast-moving cold water fish like anchovies & sardines. The North Pacific near Alaska and north Atlantic near Norway are the two bodies of water that have the purest / cleanest fish. In the manufacturing process you want to make sure that the fish oil has not oxidized. Exposing it to oxygen can result in the fish oil going rancid inside the capsule. Yep. That’s gross. The brand that I have partnered with and recommend can be found right here.
You Said There Was A Vegetarian Option!
100%. An omega 3-6-9 oil containing safflower, sunflower, flax seed, pumpkin seed oils plus rosemary leaf and turmeric will provide the same or similar benefits. There one main difference is that the vegetarian oil needs to be refrigerated and the fish oil capsules do not. Check out my favourite omega 3-6-9 oil here.