"Fish Oil.. Is it all Good?"
I. Fish Oil, Is it what it is all cracked up to be? by Dr. Mike Molloy:
For a long time, many bright minds in the fitness/nutrition community have advocated taking fish oil at what seemed like fairly high doses. I myself was taking 2-3 grams/day for about a year and saw small but positive changes in my blood lipid profiles as well as in my performance in the gym. However, recently a number of well respected sources have called into question the practice of taking high dose fish oil for long periods of time.
Omega-6 PUFAs in the diet mainly consist of arachidonic acid, which is derived via enzymatic elongation of linoleic acid. Generally arachidonic acid is considered to be pro-inflammatory.
Omega-3 PUFAs in the diet consist of EPA and DHA. Interestingly, EPA can and is converted to DHA in the body. Both of these molecules are considered to have anti-inflammatory properties.
The modern U.S. diet leads to people having a very high ratio of Omega-6:Omega-3 and this is thought to cause inflammation which contributes to a number of diseases. Interestingly, a number of studies have shown that high levels of linoleic acid correlate with decreased levels of DHA, especially in nervous tissue. This is believed to be because the conversion of LA to arachidonic acid requires the same enzymes as does the conversion of ALA to DHA.
Using this data, there are really two ways to deal with this.
1) Reduce your intake of Linoleic acid allowing for better availability of the enzymes to make DHA.
2) Supplement heavily with DHA.
The second approach is what has attracted the attention of a number of bright minds of late, namely Chris Kresser and Chris Masterjohn.
Here are the articles that they have written. I’d recommend taking the time to read Kresser’s if you want the short story and Masterjohn’s if you really want to dig into the details… its a great great summary of about 80 years of work.
A key point to both articles is that you really want to minimize the amount of unsaturated fats that you are taking into your body. It is true that PUFAs ARE essential, however the levels needed to live appear to be relatively low.
Why? I’m going to explain the basics of the biochemistry but it really comes down to why its OK to store your coconut oil (saturated fat) on the counter top but you should store your fish oil (unsaturated fat) in the refrigerator.
The carbon bonds of an unsaturated fat have the ability to become oxidized which leads to the production of dangerous compounds. One of the more dangerous ones is called MDA which can modify DNA and proteins in harmful ways and has been shown to cause birth defects.
OK, so all of this is great theory but where’s the proof that long term use of fish oil can cause problems?
3g/day of fish oil increasing insulin resistance:
4 year study of fish oil showing increased heart disease risk:
So where does this leave us?
There does appear to be benefits to taking fish oil in the short term. As such, people new to a paleolithic or anti-inflammatory diet that are sick (autoimmune disease, metabolic syndrome, etc) would be the most likely to benefit from fish oil supplementation. I would also recommend consumption of the fish oil with a high fat meal as this appears to improve absorption into the body.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, you need to get your new clients to reduce their omega-6 intake. This means cutting out ALL vegetable oils, moving from grain fed meat to grass fed, and making sure they aren’t eating too many nuts. Once this has happened, you should definitely begin to ween them off the fish oil to limit the total PUFA intake.
In summary here would be my recommendations:
Sick, overweight and eating a poor diet: Short term, high dose fish oil supplementation for one month. Then dramatically reduce the intake.
“Healthy” but still consuming food with high levels of omega-6: Low dose daily fish oil intake (<1g/day) OR consume several meals of wild-caught fish per week.
Eating a "Paleo" diet or other diet low in omega-6 intake: NO fish oil supplementation
This resource from the Whole9 will be of great assistance:
II. Dynamic Mobility Warm-Up:
Barbell Progressions: Snatch Variations
High Hang Snatch- 2 inches, 4 inches, 6 inches
Mid Thigh Snatch- 2 inches, 4 inches, 6 inches
Deck Snatch- 2 inches, 4 inches, 6 inches
Shoulder Band Hangs- 2 Minutes each Shoulder
III. Conditioning Workouts of the Day:
A1. AMRAP 6 Minutes of:
7 Push Press
7 Box Jumps
-Rest 3:00 Minutes
A2. AMRAP 6 minutes of:
7 Front Squat
Weights Used @ 75/55
Weights Used @ 95/65
Weights used @ 115/80
IV. Competitors Schedule Workouts of the Day:
A. Recovery and Mobility Workout of the Day:
Not For Time, Done at own Pace:
5 Rounds of:
7 Strict Pull-Ups
10 Back Extensions
15 Kettlebell Swings(Light)
10 Bench Press @ 135 lbs/85 lbs
Row 150 m
Post Number of Rounds Completed to Comments.