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Fish Oil Supplementation Recommendation

June 17, 2010

My rough recommendation on fish oil supplementation is 0.5-1.0 g/10lbs Body Weight/day of EPA/DHA. The top end is for sick/fat people, the lower end is for most other folks. It seems like a lot, but a can of sardines is about 2.5g EPA/DHA. We are replacing a missing FOOD! – Robb Wolf

Logically, it makes so much sense.  From beef to eggs, everything we ate just a few thousand years ago had a ridiculously higher concentration of Omega-3’s.  Modern day Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratios are so out of whack, and have been so for so long, that we need to replace the missing component as soon and as aggressively as possible.  Do a quick Google search on the benefits of Fish Oil supplementation, and you will see millions of links, studies and anecdotes.  99% of these folks are only taking a gram or two a day.  So, the evidence is there to increase our intake of these beneficial fats, but by how much?  I mean, if 1 gram is great, wouldn’t 30 grams be scrumtrillescent?

“Literature comparisons showed tissue lipids of North American and African ruminants were similar to pasture-fed cattle, but dissimilar to grain-fed cattle. The lipid composition of wild ruminant tissues may serve as a model for dietary lipid recommendations in treating and preventing chronic disease.” ~ Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease, Dr. L. Cordain, et al.  Link to study here.

So while cynics may say that we should go with the small amounts that have been shown beneficial in lab tests, since they have proven to be such a revelation in terms of bang-for-your-buck supplementation, I say go with Dr. Cordain and Mr. Wolf’s recommendation.  Too much of a good thing is a good thing, and I think people are so used to how they currently feel, any improvement is “good enough”.

That’s not “good enough” for us, is it?  We’ve chosen the dietary and fitness path less traveled, so “good enough” simply isn’t in our vocabulary.  Fish oil is a means to correcting a dietary deficiency unlike any we have faced.  Too often, modern medicine is focused solely on “survival”.  The fact that we can live without large amounts of these beneficial fatty acids is not an argument for diminished consumption.

Statins and grains improve “survival” in certain instances, but what does a proper Omega 6:3 balance do to “survival”?  How can we quantify it?  Sure, with 5 grams a day, VLDL goes down and joints feel better.  Acne symptoms reduce and women have “better” periods.  But what could increasing Fish Oil to 30 grams/day actually do?

What I’m suggesting is that unless you are currently supplementing your diet with massive quantities of fish oil or eat grass-fed meat and currently carry a 1:1 Omega intake balance, you have no idea how good you can feel.  You don’t actually know what it’s like to have a body that just works – more efficiently and with greater strength – from the inside out.

Re-Google those benefits.  Memory.  Longevity. Body Comp.  We were designed to ingest MORE Omega 3’s and LESS Omega 6’s.  Let’s get our balance back.

So here’s how to implement it.  I’ll be using Robb Wolf’s Fish Oil Calculator, found here.  If you want to also try this experiment, you need to know three things:

  • How much you weigh in pounds
  • How much EPA & DHA are in the fish oil pills or liquid you own or are buying
  • How messed up you currently feel/currently eat

Punch in this information into the calculator, and voila, you have the correct about of fish oil to supplement!

“But, but, but….” Yes, I know this is a crazy amount of fish oil, and you’re worried that you will be spending too much.  Shut up.  You are replacing a lost food.  Start placing fish oil in your food budget, that way the hit won’t be as bad.  I did some research (and simple math), and it turns out Kirkland (Costco brand) Fish Oil is from wild caught fish and was not on the recent list of PCB infested brands of Fish Oil.  Not to mention, they are cheap as all giddyup – only $15.99/bottle at Amazon.  The DHA/EPA balance is also nice, some fish oils are a bit skewed towards EPA.

According to the calculator, I need to take 31 Kirkland Fish Oil pills per day.  Since it comes with 400 capsules, I will get around 13 days per bottle.  $15.99/13 days = $1.23 per day.  I would gladly put $1.23 in a jar everyday as an investment in my future and current health.

On my doodle sheet below (didn’t want to clutter up the post), you can see that NOW fish oil was a little cheaper, at $.75 per day.  I am not going with that product based on the wild-caught, no PCB’s nature of Kirkland’s Oil.  Would not argue against NOW for anything, I use their SuperEnzymes, ZMA, Vitamin D, etc.  Love the brand for everything outside of Fish Oil (until further notice).

Give the new supplement routine a try for at least 30 days, and see how you look, feel and perform.  Like any good scientist, make sure you take note of any other changes you make, and any improvements/problems you notice along the way.  Just by reading this far, you’ve made a wonderful choice.  Good Luck!

Some links/the doodle sheet:

http://www.crossfitinvictus.com/blog/tag/jackie/ – a solid explanation of fish oil and how to use the calculator

http://whole9life.com/fish-oil/ – the fish oil amount calculator

Doodle Sheet on popular Fish Oil brands, prices courtesy of www.netrition.com + www.amazon.com.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2014 4:15 am

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

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  1. Fish Oil Update + TFOD 6.18.10 « Primal Bodybuilding

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