We know it, and there’s no reason to debate it – Omega 3 is good for you. Yet could it be that some sources of Omega 3 is better then others, and could it be that some supplement companies lie about the dosage of Omega 3 that you need to consume ?
I started asking these questions after noticing that most people who are using regular fish oil or plant based Omega 3 products was not in the right Omega 3 to 6 balance, when tested. What’s even more interesting is that switching from one product to another could actually remove their chronic pain, and other inflammatory markers, that was not removed on their previous product.
So could it be that Omega 3 is not just Omega 3 ? The answer is YES !
Lets start out with plant based Omega 3 vs. fish oil. The vegan community has over the years hyped flaxseed & chased as the ultimate source of Omega 3 that is going to save the oceans and make us healthy at the same time. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fatty acids we need in our bodies are EPA & DHA. Plantbased Omega 3 is in the form of alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) which must first be converted to Stearidonic Acid and Eicosatetraenoic acid before it ends up in the form of EPA and DHA that we need. Studies have shown that women converts aprox. 5% and men far less.
That way having a primary Omega 3 source from plant based Omega 3 source is no way near sufficient in balancing your Omega 3/6 ratio, and as such plant based Omega 3 intake becomes highly inflammatory.
But even for those using a fishoil based Omega 3 product there’s problems – and most likely they are not doing you any good.
When I made the post that you can see on the right hand side of this article – I caused an uproar. People started commenting that it’s to much and I was overdosing.
this only proves the ignorance that surrounds the general public about how much Omega 3 we should take. If 2o ml. of Omega 3 would cause an overdose then we should be seeing inuits, who’s diet was mostly seafood, die like flies from an Omega 3 overdose. That was not what was found, the Inuits lived longer and had less lifestyle diseases as the western world.
First off – ditch the recommended daily dosage on 99,9% of fishoil products. 1-3 capsules per day won’t take you anywhere. It’s a sales trick made up by the supplement industry because they believe that the impact it makes on your wallet is more important to you then wheter it works. In other words, if you can be convinced that you do something good for your health without paying to much for it, they believe that it’s easier to sell the product.
The reason why we need to take fish oil in a g/kg body weight ratio is because the goal is to get rid of inflammation and restore the Omega 3 to Omega 6 balance as closely to 1:1 as we can. Hence you also need to take fish oil in a ratio equivalent to your Omega 6 intake. This goes hans in hand with a study published earlier this year that clearly concluded that trials on Omega 3 that is aiming at a biological effect should use a weight based dosage rather then an age based dosage.
So how much Omega 3 should you take ? In the book The Paleo Solution, Robb Wolf recommends 1 gram of EPA/DHA per 10 lbs. of body weight for sick, overweight and highly inflamed people. For lean, muscular athlets he recommends 0,25-0,5 gr. EPA/DHA per 10 lbs bodyweight.
That’s probably cutting it a bit high – but that again depends on the quality of your fish oil, and that’s where we go with our 3rd and last point of why your Omega 3 source might not work for you.
in a review study published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2015 Dr. Paul Clayton and Szabolcs Lady asked the question why some fish oils appear to work better then others in scientific studies.
The scientists points to the purification process as the culpit. They reference a study made by The University of tromsø that has shown that the purification process (which due to the build up of toxic waste in our oceans unfortunately has to be done) also removes trace ingredients in fish, such as algal-derived lipophilic polyphenols.
The argument is that for fish oil to continue to be effective we need to add those lipophilic polyphenols back into the oil.
The problem is – most fish oil supplements has been enhanced with vitamin E as an antioxidant to protect it from oxidation during the long process it takes for the body to accumulate the fatty acids. However vitamin E alone is not an effective antioxidant for protecting fish oil. The result of such products would therefore be that most of the Omega 3 is not accumulated and some of it would turn rancid through the process.
One way to add these lipophilic polyphenols is to add olive oil made from unripe olives, and thus bring fish oil back to the composition it has from nature’s hand.
If you do this then I would say you do not need as high as dosage as Robb Wolff describes – the fish oil that I shoed in my post is about 5 grams which is good for my body weight and with a quality polyphenol rich fish oil I would say that most people are good at around 2-5 grams of EPA and DHA.
To my knowledge though, there’s less then a handful of companies out there who actually do this to their fish oil. The product that I use and recommend Balance Oil does contain these polyphenol high olive oil and with this product the recommended dosage is 0,15 ml / kg body weight.
So if you are not sure if your fish oil is working for you then ask the following questions:
1). Is my Omega 3 source plant based ?
2). Is my dosage high enough ?
3). Does my Omega 3 source contain lipophilic polyphenols ?
If any of the answers is no, then you’re most likely not experiencing optimal benefits !
Further reading and sources:
α-Linolenic acid metabolism in adult humans: the effects of gender and age on conversion to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
Body weight affects ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) accumulation in youth following supplementation in post-hoc analyses of a randomized controlled trial.
From alga to omega; have we reached peak (fish) oil?