What is Omega 3 Fish Oil and Why Should You Take It?
So, you’ve heard about Omega-3 fatty acids. Perhaps you’ve heard about EPA, DHA or ALA and that you should be making sure you’re getting plenty of these essential fatty acids in your diet.
I’ll attempt to make things a bit clearer in this blog past and explain the benefits of omega 3 and how they can help with your training and performance.
UNDERSTANDING FATTY ACIDS
Essential fatty acids (Omega 3, Omega 6 & Omega 9) cannot be made by the body so we need to consume them through our diet.
Optimally, our body should have a ratio of 3:1 between omega-6 & omega-9 : omega-3 fatty acids.
Western eating habits and the strong and varied use of dietary fats with high omega-6 and omega-9 content in the food industry have negatively impacted this ratio. The easiest way to positively influence your health is to increase your omega-3 levels and reduce your intake of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.
Omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids promote the formation of "bad" eicosanoids. Among other things, these hormone-like substances can cause chronic inflammation in the human body and counteract your quest for better health and performance.
Unfortunately, a lot of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are in foods that most of us love and can sometimes overindulge in. We’re not saying you should banish these foods completely. But perhaps think about the amount you consume, and reduce them.
I'LL JUST EAT ALL THE SALMON, THEN!
In theory, we’d recommend eating as much salmon as possible. Not only because it’s an excellent source of protein, but because its consumption promises a high intake of both EPA & DHA.
Sadly, most salmon products in supermarkets come from farmed salmon and don’t deliver on their omega-3 promise. The rearing takes place in dark tanks or fish enclosures and is accompanied by the typical characteristics of mass animal husbandry - overfeeding with grain-based pellets and the large-scale use of medicines.
In contrast to farmed salmon, whose meat must be coloured artificially through food colouring in their feed, wild salmon gets its pink colour by eating small fish and crustaceans – which also contribute to the accumulation of omega-3 fatty acids.
So, whilst farmed salmon isn’t dangerous, its not optimal and we’d always recommending opting for as much wild caught fish as your budget can afford.
WHAT ABOUT ALA?
You’ll find α-linolenic acid (ALA) in foods such as flax and chia seeds.
Whilst ALA is a precursor to EPA and DHA, the conversion rate in our bodies is very low – typically less than 1% - meaning there is little to no benefit in consuming ALA as an omega-3 source.
I'VE HEARD KRILL IS A SUPERIOR OMEGA-3 SOURCE
Krill is a small marine crustacean. It serves as a source of food for many larger marine fish species. Krill products can have a particularly high value of omega-3 fatty acids. This means that the omega-3 fatty acids present can be used particularly well by the human body.
Our concern with krill isn’t necessarily based on efficacy but sustainability. Professor Jonathan Napier of Rothamsted Research in the UK said:
“there is concern that harvesting this very small animal, which is near the bottom of the marine food web is at best foolhardy, if not reckless, irrespective of being technically challenging.”
The huge decline in krill numbers has led to campaign groups taking retailers to task on stocking these products and many have dropped them from their shelves for ecological reasons.
We have a commitment to limit our impact on the wider environment and will always strive to source our omega-3 oil from the most sustainable sources.
SO WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TAKING AN OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENT?
“People who consume more fish have a lower risk of dying from heart disease”
Dr Dariush Mozaffarian
Strong enough reason for you?
How about that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids:
contributes to the normal function of the heart
contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure
contribute to the maintenance of normal triglyceride levels
Has a positive effect on cognitive ability and contributes to maintenance of normal brain function
When you take all of these factors into consideration, we see huge potential benefits when it comes to recovering from exercise and improving athletic performance.
We’ve had customers contact us and talk of their experiences of recovering faster, improved skin health, reduced DOMS, improved performance, increased energy and being able to train harder, more regularly (see the pictures below)
If you’re not incorporating enough into your diet, check out our great tasting, omega-3 oil which will help your recover better, train harder and improve your performance.