Fish oil is high in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Fatty fish like salmon is one of the best sources of these essential fatty acids, which is why the American Heart Association recommends that everyone eat fish at least twice a week. If you don’t like fish supplements are the second best option to get your omega-3s.
Unfortunately, the body cannot produce its own omega-3 fatty acids, which is why we need to get them through our diet. sadly, the typical western contains far more omega-6s than omega-3s. Usually, the ratio is around 16-to-1, which is due to food processing and agricultural practices.
Even though omega-6s are generally considered “healthy” fats, a very high ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s might lead to negative side effects and increased inflammation in the body. It was long assumed that the ideal ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s is 1:1, but a growing body of research found conflicting evidence and today we also have some researchers like Walter Willett from Harvard calling it a myth.
So what the ideal ratio is and if it even exists…I can’t tell you. But even if it doesn’t, most people still consume too many foods high in processed seed- and vegetable oils (which are loaded with Omega-6) and not enough healthy fish (high in Omega-3). This definitely is an argument for fish and fish oil supplements and why I believe you should give them a try.
What do fish oil supplements do?
Studies have found a series of benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids. Most importantly is probably a reduction of triglyceride levels, which is the fat found in your blood. This reduction seems to be the highest in people with very high triglyceride levels.
There are also studies indicating that fish oil can help maintain a healthy heart. in those who already have existing heart diseases, it might also be able to lower their risk of death from heart disease, but only if no heart medications was taken along with the fish oil.
Other reported benefits include reduced pain and swelling and joint health. Basically, fish oil improves joint support, which gives your joints more cushioning to perform better and lift heavier without hurting your joints.
How should you take fish oil?
The American Heart Association recommends 1g of fish oil daily either through supplements or fatty fish. If your goal is to reduce soreness, you might need a higher dose of around 6g which you should spread over the course of a day.
Fish oil is generally safe when consumed in low to normal doses (3 grams or less per day). If you consume large amounts of fish, mercury could become a problem. Some types of fish like farm-raised salmon, shark and king mackerel should therefore be consumed in moderation, whereas fish oil supplements typically do not contain mercury.