We are fortunate to have Dr. Andy, a biochemist, on our staff at CrossFit Mt Olympus. Several people have asked WHY we take fish oil, so we turned over the question to him.
We will be placing an order for SFH Fish Oil this week. Let us know if you would like to order. 10% discount for all pre-orders.
Fish oil is a dietary supplement that contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid, meaning that your body cannot make them and they must come from a dietary source. This fatty acid, along with omega-6 fatty acids are critical for normal growth and are powerful stimulants for regulating inflammation and cardiovascular health, among other things. These fatty acids are transformed into a variety of short-lived molecules (called eicosanoids) that have potent effects. At low levels, these potent molecules are beneficial, but at high levels, these molecules can have dangerous sides effects such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, asthma, and arthritis. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids require the same set of proteins to transform into these potent molecules, but omega-6 fatty acids are transformed much faster. Omega-6 fatty acids are made into these potent stimulants much faster than they breakdown, eventually leading to the diseases I mentioned earlier. The standard American diet (composed primarily of corn and soy based products) contains very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, and could be one of the reasons we have such high incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Other regions that have diets with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (such as Greenland or Japan) have much lower rates of cardiovascular diseases. This is because omega-3 fatty acids help to slow down the conversion of omega-6 fatty acids into these potent stimulants.
As I mentioned before, both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids need the same biological machinery to transform into the active forms. Omega-3 fatty acids are transformed slower than omega-6 fatty acids. This conversion is likely slower than their eventual break down, therefore accumulation of the potent molecules is less likely with omega-3 fatty acids. By taking a longer time to be made, the machinery is also occupied and cannot transform omega-6 fatty acids to their potent forms.
Think of it like controlling how fast kids enter a bounce house. With an excess of omega-6 fatty acids, there is an uncontrolled flow of bodies into the bounce house, chaos ensues, and someone is going to get hurt. With a proper balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, the flow is controlled and everyone has a good time. Balancing the levels of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in your diet will help you have a better time with life. Balance is the key!
A typical American diet has an omega-3:omega-6 ratio of 1:30. The ideal diet has a balance of 1:1, or even better 4:1. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include grass-feed meat, flax seeds, and cold-water oily fish (salmon, sardines, halibut). To get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, begin by incorporating these foods into your diet. An additional source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil. This is a fast, convenient way of balancing your essential fatty acid levels.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends approximately 3 grams per day (combined) of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (ask me for specifics about these two fatty acids, but look for them directly on the label). There is also a calculator available for how much fish oil you could take at http://whole9life.com/fish-oil/.
However you get your omega-3 fatty acids, your body will thank you. I am fairly skeptical of most nutritional supplements, but the science and data behind increasing omega-3 fatty acids in your diet are solid. I invite you to examine your diet and talk to your CrossFit Mt Olympus coaches about how you can improve your health.
Workout of the Day
21-15-9 Reps of: