ARE FISH OIL PILLS REALLY ALL THEY’RE CRACKED UP TO BE?
Let me shout it from the rooftops: yes! Fish oil pills are one of the most powerful supplements you can take! And we literally have thousands of studies (the kind on humans, not just rats) that show how powerful these are for our health.
Fish oil supplements can have a positive change on almost any part of your body – your hormones, your immune system, brain, skin, hair, organs, blood, attention, memory. They are that good for you.
Popping fish oil pill after pill isn’t actually going to give you these huge perks.
You see, our bodies need fat to survive. And we have different kinds of fatty acids we need –omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are the two most common.
Now you’ve probably heard that Omega 6s are the “bad for you kind” while Omega 3s, the kind from fish oil, are the “good for you kind.” And this is partially true.
Omega 6s come from things in our diet like vegetable oils. And when you get too many of these 6s, they increase the inflammation throughout your body. Now they aren’t completely terrible though because in some cases, a little bit of inflammation is actually good for us. When we workout and our muscles and cells are breaking down, the little bit of inflammation from these omega 6s can actually help stop the breakdown and preserve our muscles. But yes, in too high of doses, these 6s aren’t your BFFs.
But in the average American diet, we eat wayyyy too many of these Omega 6s. Actually, we eat 16x more Omega 6s than the good for ya Omega 3s. When we really should be aiming for equal amounts of each.
Now why is this a problem? Because both the 6s and 3s are fatty acids, they have to share the same enzymes to get used in the body. And if we have way too many 6s, those enzymes spend all their time taking in the 6s and leaving the omega 3s out with the dust. That means we aren’t getting any of the healthy perks of the omega 3s because our body spends all the energy just processing the huge amount of omega 6s we eat. And eating more Omega 3s doesn’t fix that problem. Because it’s just more 3s waiting in line for those enzymes.
Now, our bodies have biologically been designed to function best with an equal ratio of 6s to 3s. So in order to get back to that healthy balance, we have to start eating less omega 6s while eating more omega 3s. And since most people aren’t big lovers of sardines and anchovies, which have huge doses of the good 3s, we can supplement with a quick pill. But at the same time, we have to think about eating less of the 6s – that means less vegetable oils.
When we get a better balance in our fatty acids, we get the huge overall health perks.
Supplementing omega 3s (while working to decrease your 6s) have been shown to:
- Lowers cortisol levels which reduces stress and decreases fat storage
- Increases insulin sensitivity to increase fat burn
- Increases protein synthesis to grow and preserve muscles
- Lowers heart rate and triglycerides which ultimately protects your heart and arteries
- Reduces inflammation and joint pain to speed your recovery
- Raises testosterone levels to boost your athletic performance
Plus tons of other benefits that would turn this Q&A into a thesis paper. But all of those healthy perks are packed into those little capsules.
So how much fish oil do you need to see these health benefits?
It all depends on your current health and your diet. And remember, it’s about balancing your 6s and 3s. So focus on cutting back on your vegetable oils, margarines and shortenings. And then either start eating sardines daily (I promise, they aren’t that bad!) or take your supplement.
The American Heart Association recommends the average person, with a mostly healthy diet, take about 1-2 grams of fish oil each day. But for folks that regularly eat salmon, mackerel or sardines, you may already get a sufficient amount of the good for you omegas just through your food.
Now if you are on a mostly processed food diet or you’re looking to drop some excess weight, researchers show that you could benefit with up to 6 grams per day. It just depends on your body.
So start with the 1-2 dose and gradually increase if needed!
And if you haven’t got your own daily supply of fish oil, just let us know, we’d be happy to help! Plus, we’ve got a really cool liquid fish oil supplement you can try! You just drizzle it on or in your food, rather than swallowing a capsule!