Fish Oil and Omega 3 the Thrilling Conclusion…
Did you know that almost all Americans are deficient in Omega 3′s?
Did you know that there have been over 4,500 studies on the subject?
Did you know that deficiency in Omega 3 (O3) Fatty Acids is related to:
- Cancers of all kinds (especially colon, breast and prostate),
- heart disease and almost all vascular diseases
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- skin disorders
- digestive disorders (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)
- chronic pain
- hormone problems
- pain syndromes
- vision problems
- arthritis of all kinds
- ADHD and other developmental and behavioral disorders, eczema, and many more.
I hope you are thinking “am I deficient?” Because if you are living in America and not supplementing (or eating a lot of health fatty fish, no processed foods and lots of wild game) YOU ARE! Now that I have your attention, we can begin to answer some of the questions posed in my last fish oil article, and also give some action steps to follow…
#1: So Fish Oil is Omega 3? Not exactly, but Fish Oil is loaded with two types of Omega 3′s (O3), Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Ecosapentaenoic Acid
(EPA). Each have a very important role in our body. These can be converted from the plant O3 ALA, but not in sufficient quantities – especially for developing children and pregnant mothers! This is why, I am sorry to say to my vegan friends and readers, Fish Oil (or eating a lot of fish/animals that have DHA & EPA) is a must to be truly healthy.
#2: What’s so important about DHA? DHA has a HUGE role in our brain development and maintenance. DHA makes up over 25% of the essential fatty acids that build our brain. Just as calcium is used to build our bones and protein is used to build our muscles, fat (especially DHA) is used to build our brain and nervous system (the master regulatory system!). The reason that this particular O3 has such a huge role in our nervous system lies in its flexibility and fluidity. For a system that needs to send signals from the tips of your toes to the top of your head and BACK in less than a second, these qualities are essential. Our normal flora (probiotics/helpful, healthy bacteria that line our digestive tract) also require these essential fatty acids to stay healthy, and their health directly relates to our immune system health. DHA also strengthens our arteries and helps our heart beat stronger, as well as a host of other positive benefits (too many to list or tell). See the books and websites listed below for more.
#3: How Do I Avoid Fish Burps?? This always comes up almost as soon as the topic is mentioned, and it really has to do with the quality of the fish oil. Rotten (oxidized) fish oil is the culprit here, but not only does it cause Fish Burps, it is toxic for you and worse than taking no fish oil at all. Try not to get frustrated – knowledge is power and empowering, and now you know. TO DETERMINE IF YOUR FISH OIL IS HEALTHY: 1st Check the ratios of DHA to EPA. In natural (not synthesized by man) fish oils, they have roughly a 2 to 3 ratio of DHA to EPA (ex: 600 mg to 900 mg). 2nd Bite the capsule – if it makes you gag, get rid of it. I’m serious – I’ve bitten at least 15 different ones and gagged about 11 times, and once I almost threw up. (*Note, make sure you do it with friends around, so at least someone can get a good chuckle from your reaction). Good fish oil should taste like oil , not like fish. It may even have a lemony taste associated with it, which is dandy. One last thing: it’s best to take fish oil with food – that way, if you do burp, the taste will be masked by the other foods (although good, healthy fish oil shouldn’t have a bad burp taste). Plus, it doesn’t make sense to me to just take oil – our Hunter-Gatherer ancestors would never have been able to do that.
#4: What Kind of Fish Oil Should I Take? From #3 you can gather that many of the fish oils out there are poison in pill form (often the way poison is delivered), but here are two types that have passed the oral test, as well as the knowledge test. Both are available in liquid form (great for smoothies) or gel caps. 1) Omega Sufficiency by Innate Choice (the brand we sell in the office and the best that I have found) must be purchased in a doctor’s office and usually runs about $50 for roughly a month’s supply. 2) Omega-3 by Nordic Naturals (NN) is the only over-the-counter fish oil that I have found to pass the tests. You can find NN in most stores, but definitely at GNC or Whole Foods; it usually runs about $90 for a month’s supply. (Stay tuned because Bonfirehealth.com is in the creation process of what should be an amazing fish oil as well as other well life supplements.) Also important is the type of fish that the oil comes from. You want your oil to come from small fish, such as sardines, anchovies, herring, etc. because they do not accumulate much in the way of mercury and other toxins. And lastly, you want your oil to be molecularly distilled to make sure if the fish happen to have a tiny bit o’ toxins, that none of them get through into the oil. Side note: YOU SHOULDN’T GO BY THE SERVING SIZE POSTED ON ANY BOTTLE, BECAUSE THEY JUST AREN’T ENOUGH – which brings us to….
#5: How much should I take? From much of my reading, I’ve come to the understanding that we really are so super-duper (yes the duper was used, it’s that bad) deficient in these critical health-promoting (normalizing) fats that we need to take a lot of this oil. Don’t worry, its not like a meal replacement or anything, we just need more than what is posted as a recommended serving. My recommendations based on my readings (two major and fantastic sources if you just want more info: Dr. James Chestnut’s book The Innate Diet & Natural Hygiene and Susan Alport’s book The Queen of Fats) Roughly 2-6 Grams of O3′s per day. The bigger you are, the more inflammation in your body (lifestyle diseases) and the harder you are on your body (physically, mentally, chemically), the more you will want to take. I feel that a minimum of 2 grams DHA + EPA together is necessary to bring our sufficiency levels to where they should be from our diet. To use me as an example for O3 consumption levels: I weigh roughly 200 lbs., I eat healthfully, exercise vigorously (which is great but means more repair) and I am generally a low-stress person (outside these last few months). I get about 2-3 grams from my diet each day (grass-fed beef, fish, healthy eggs, flax seeds, etc.) and take another 2-3 grams from fish oil to bring me to sufficient levels.
#5a: How Much For My Children? Again, this depends on a number of factors, but an easy recommended supplemental amount is 1/2 teaspoon in liquid (should = 1000 milligrams total O3 (DHA + EPA) for every 40 lbs. of body weight. Once old enough, some kids find it fun to chew the capsules like gum. I still do it some times! ;-p
REMEMBER: FISH OIL IS NOT A DRUG. IT CONTAINS ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS, AND ESSENTIAL MEANS YOU REQUIRE IT FOR LIFE AND THAT YOUR CELLS CANNOT MAKE THEM ON THEIR OWN. THAT BEING SAID, YOU CAN’T OVERDOSE ON OIL, (this is not a challenge). THE WORST POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECT FROM TAKING TOO MUCH FISH OIL IS NEEDING TO USE THE BATHROOM QUITE FREQUENTLY. (If you are forced to undergo surgery, often they will ask you to stop supplementing with fish oil because it works to keep your blood thinner, good for natural and better oxygenation and waste removal from your tissues, but bad for unnatural surgery.)
***Oh yeah – I almost forgot. This is something that isn’t used for treatment, it is to get healthier, so we should take this everyday 4 life. It’s what I do, it’s what my family does, and it’s what my future family will do….got it?!! Any questions? Let me know.
This has been fun, but I’m all fished out.
Be sufficient 4 Health,
Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP