1st Phorm  logo
1st Phorm  logo

All articles

The Benefits of Fish OilUpdated 2 months ago

The Benefits of Fish Oil

Fish oil: It's a supplement I'm sure you've heard plenty about. If you haven’t heard of fish oil before, I'd be surprised! When it comes to supplements, it's among the most popular.

Either way, I'm sure you came to find out about the benefits of fish oil and whether you should take it or not.

Well, fish oil can definitely be beneficial. In my opinion, it's something that I believe close to everyone should be taking. Most people know that fish oil is probably something they should supplement with as well.

What most people may not know is just how many benefits fish oil can offer. In addition to that, what to look for when it comes to finding a high-quality fish oil supplement.

Believe it or not, there can be significant differences in the quality and efficacy of fish oil products. But don't worry, I'll show you exactly what to look for.

First, let's dive into the benefits of fish oil, and how it can help you. That way, you'll leave here today knowing whether fish oil is something you should be taking or not.


WHAT IS FISH OIL?

Fish oil supplements provide your body with fatty acids that we often don’t get enough of in our daily diet. They get the name "fish oil" because they're sourced from fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines to name a few.

Now, let me clarify something quickly. In America, we get plenty of fats in our diet. However, not every type of fat is the same. Some fats are non-essential, meaning we do not need them. Other fats are essential, meaning it's crucial that we get them.

As humans, we need omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Our body can't make either of these fats, meaning we have to get them in our diet.

We use these fatty acids for a lot of different things: 

• Cell membranes
• The nervous system
• Brain cells
• Reproductive hormones
• Bone health

...and this is just to name a few. Fats are involved in so many different aspects of our overall health.

The problem is, that we normally consume a lot more omega-6 fats than we need. An even bigger problem is that we often don't get nearly enough omega-3 fats.

The imbalance between these two fats can actually cause several issues in our body. In fact, this imbalance can promote the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory diseases (1).

This is where the benefits of fish oil come in. Fish oil supplements provide the omega-3 fatty acids we fall short of in our diet. Trust me, when it comes to omega-3 fats, it’s vital that we get enough.

Now, there are actually many different omega-3 fats. Of those fats, fish oils provide two very important ones in particular:

• Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) 
• Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

So, why are these omega-3 fats so important? What makes EPA and DHA in particular so important? Let's talk about that next...


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FISH OIL?

Real quick, let's revisit why the imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is such a big issue.

You see, up until about 100 years ago, most humans consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a 4:1 ratio in favor of omega-6. Most people in Western society nowadays eat closer to a 20:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats (2). 

This hefty increase in omega-6 fat consumption, while eating less omega-3 fats, increases inflammation in the body. 

Now, a common misconception is that inflammation is always bad. It’s not, but too much inflammation surely can be ... Especially if the inflammation is chronic and lasts a long period of time.

Inflammation is an increase in blood flow to specific tissues. It also recruits help from the immune system. Inflammation is meant to help your body fight off infections and repair damage within the body.

With too much inflammation though, the immune system can become overactive and damage healthy tissue (3). This can lead to a host of complex issues. Some of these issues include an increase in autoimmune diseases, allergies, and inflammatory diseases (2).

Now, some omega-6 fats like arachidonic acid are pro-inflammatory. This means they lead to increases in inflammation.

On the other hand, omega-3 fats like EPA & DHA are anti-inflammatory. So, as I’m sure you can guess, a diet lacking in omega-3 fats can lead to excess inflammation.

It’s safe to say most of us need more omega-3 fats, and we need them badly! While inflammation is necessary, too much can be worrisome. Sadly, more and more people are experiencing heightened inflammation today than ever before.

Lowering inflammation isn't the only thing the omega-3 fats in fish oil can help with though. The omega-3 fats in fish oil can also help support:

• Reduced blood pressure
• Lower “bad” cholesterol and increased “good” cholesterol
• Cognitive function
• Improved mood
• Heart health
• Increased insulin sensitivity (which can be helpful for weight loss)
• Alleviated joint pain/discomfort (by reducing inflammation)

Speaking of cognitive function, it’s possible that a deficiency in EPA & DHA could be a contributing factor in Alzheimer’s (5). This makes sense too since DHA is so prominent in brain tissue and the nervous system. 

Also, Alzheimer’s is now looked at as being type 3 diabetes in the brain. Follow my logic here for a second...

Chronic inflammation can lead to insulin resistance in your muscles, liver, fat, and brain. When this occurs, insulin isn’t allowing blood sugar to enter these tissues like they’re supposed to. That's what insulin resistance is.

Glucose (AKA blood sugar) is the main energy source in your brain. So, if there is insulin resistance in your brain, your brain won’t be able to get the energy it needs to function properly.

Well, a lack of EPA & DHA can lead to increased inflammation in the brain (6). So, you can see how this could be an issue.

If a lack of EPA & DHA may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, getting these fats would be very important!

It's no secret that there can be some major benefits to using fish oil supplements. Not only benefits you want but also benefits you may truly need!

HOW MUCH OMEGA-3 DO YOU NEED DAILY?

Now, it's certainly possible to consume the right amount of omega-3s from your diet alone. But, what exactly would that look like?

Well, it’s recommended that men get over 1.6 grams of omega-3s per day, and women get over 1.1 grams per day (3). This ends up being at least 3 oz of cooked wild salmon, or 6 oz of rainbow trout per day.

I can tell you this … Most people are certainly not eating fatty fish, or fish in general, every day. That's where a high-potency fish oil can make a difference. I know it's not every day that I'm eating fatty fish, so I use a fish oil supplement. It's insurance that I'm getting the omega-3s my body needs daily.

If you want to go the whole-food route for your daily omega-3s, more power to you! There are a couple of factors to consider, though, when it comes to getting these omega-3s from food.

First, the sourcing and quality of the fish matter. Ideally, you'll want wild-caught fatty fish to be the source. More times than not, farm-raised fish are not on diets that are high in omega-3s.

If they don’t eat the omega-3 fats themselves, they won’t have it when you eat it. So, it's likely that you may be getting more omega-6 fats while you’re trying to increase your omega-3 fats. Keep that in mind.

Second, a good rule of thumb would be to consume 3-5 servings of a high-quality source every week. While it would be better to eat a source of wild-caught fatty fish every day, it's not very practical.

That's not to mention that 3-5 servings a week is only the minimum recommendation. If you’re dealing with inflammation issues like insulin resistance, or work out often, you may need more.

Plus, if you do buy wild-caught fish, you could end up spending far more money than you may think. The last time I bought salmon, it was $15 for just one pound!

For these reasons and more, many people turn to fish oil supplements. Even still, there are certain things I recommend you look for when you pick out a fish oil supplement.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS

Not all fish oil products, or supplements in general, are made the same. For example, a lot of fish oil supplements have very low doses of EPA and DHA.

When picking out a fish oil supplement, look for these 3 things in particular:

Overall omega-3 content. This should be a minimum of 1-2 grams per serving. Ideally closer to 2 grams.

EPA and DHA content. EPA and DHA should together make up at least 1 gram of the total omega-3s. 

Where the fish oil is sourced, similar to picking out fish at the store, you should look for “wild-caught”, “deep sea”, “cold water”, and “fresh” caught fish.


WHICH FISH OIL IS BEST?

If you search the isles of a department store for your fish oil, odds are you probably won't find a good one. Make sure you turn the bottle around and take a look at the nutrition label!

I have been using Full-Mega for years, and for good reason. I have yet to find another product with as much EPA, DHA, and total omega-3s from a reputable source.

Full-Mega is sourced from fresh, wild-caught Icelandic fatty fish. It also has close to 2 grams of omega-3s per serving.

Even better, 1.5 grams of the total omega-3s in Full-Mega come from EPA and DHA. So, not only does it have an effective amount of EPA & DHA, but it also comes from high-quality sources.

If you are trying to lower inflammation or improve your overall health … Fish oil may be a good solution for you!

If you have any more questions about fish oil, or any of our other products here at 1st Phorm, we’re happy to help! Our mission is to help real people, like you and me, get real and long-term results.

That's why we have a full staff of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches here in St. Louis, Missouri. For any health or fitness goal you may have, give us a call at 1-800-409-9732, or send us an email at [email protected]! Our team is happy to help any day of the week from 6 AM to 10 PM Central.

If you're ready to reap the benefits of a high-quality fish oil, give Full-Mega a try here!


REFERENCES:

(1) Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79. doi: 10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00253-6. PMID: 12442909.

(2) DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe J. The Importance of Maintaining a Low Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio for Reducing the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases, Asthma, and Allergies. Mo Med. 2021 Sep-Oct;118(5):453-459. PMID: 34658440; PMCID: PMC8504498.

(3) Oronsky B, Caroen S, Reid T. What Exactly Is Inflammation (and What Is It Not?). Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 28;23(23):14905. doi: 10.3390/ijms232314905. PMID: 36499232; PMCID: PMC9738871.

(4) “Office of Dietary Supplements - Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

(5) Swanson D, Block R, Mousa SA. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Adv Nutr. 2012 Jan;3(1):1-7. doi: 10.3945/an.111.000893. Epub 2012 Jan 5. PMID: 22332096; PMCID: PMC3262608.

(6) von Schacky C. Importance of EPA and DHA Blood Levels in Brain Structure and Function. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 25;13(4):1074. doi: 10.3390/nu13041074. PMID: 33806218; PMCID: PMC8066148.

Was this article helpful?
Yes
No