Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Help me, mighty Omega-3!


Help me, mighty Omega-3!

Fish oil might be a great addition to your daily self-care because of the omega-3 fatty acids.  Another method is to avoid supplementation and clean up your diet (more to come about this topic).  Getting the right amount of omega-3s and limiting omega-6s can help reduce inflammation and bring along myriad other health benefits.  As with all dietary changes, and particularly supplementation, I encourage you to do your own research and decide what is best for you.
Here is some information about omega-3s, excerpted from
There are the two main types of omega-3 fatty acids:
  • Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are plentiful in fish and shellfish. Algae often provides only DHA.
  • Short-chain omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). These are found in plants, such as flaxseed. Though beneficial, ALA omega-3 fatty acids have less potent health benefits than EPA and DHA. You’d have to eat a lot to gain the same benefits as you do from fish.
Hundreds of studies suggest that omega-3s may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
How could fatty acids be so beneficial for so many different conditions?
“All these diseases have a common genesis in inflammation,” says Joseph C. Maroon, MD, professor and vice chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Co-author of Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory, Maroon says that in large enough amounts omega-3′s reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic conditions.
And here is but a small section lifted from a Robb Wolf post dated 1o/5/11 (emphasis added by me).  Please read the entire article when you have the time!

So, what should I do?

1-LIMIT linoleic acid!! You’d think after I jumped up and down about his for the past 1500 words that it would be obvious, but I just wanted to make sure we are clear on this. Nuts, seeds, corn, safflower, sunflower and similar seed oils are “no bueno.”
2-Limit linolenic acid from things like flax, hemp, chia etc. I’d prefer you get the bulk of your N-3’s in the ready made forms of EPA/DHA and your N-6’s as aracidonic acid.  The conversion of linolenic acid to EPA/DHA is inefficient and overall exposes up to a greater oxidative potential as you must consume MORE total polyunsaturated fats to get the goods. I know there are some folks that recommend these short chain fats. Do whatever you like but this is what makes sense to me.
3-Try to get the bulk of your EFA’s (both N-3 and N-6) from grass fed meat, and perhaps pastured dairy in the form of butter. BUT that’s expensive!! I know Buttercup, I know. Do your best. Sardines, mackerel and similar fish are also great sources.
4-Supplement with 2-4 grams of EPA/DHA heavy oils from fish oil, fermented cod liver oil (god help me…that stuff is NASTY, but Chris Kresser loves the stuff) or vegetarian sourced DHA from algae. The DHA can retro-convert to EPA, so no problems there. Which should it be, 2 or 4 grams? If you are “big” take 4. If you are little, take 2. If you do not know if you are big or little, please disavow all knowledge or the paleo diet and adopt veganism. Please.
At the end of the day I think these recommendations support our best understanding of the science and it seems to reflect clinical findings. It also simplifies things to a great degree. Many a client has balked at the high-dose fish oil that has been part of my and other folks recommendations. I think there are some great supplements for specific purposes (adaptogens, creatine and a few other goodies) but where food is concerned, food seems to be best. Shocker. Similarly, there are no shortcuts to health and wellness, just better information and feedback so we can make better decisions.
  • Warm up
  • Clean & Jerk
    If proficient, work up to heavy single rep
  • “SQT”
    3 RFT:
    10 Ground to Overhead (GTO) (Rx: 95/65)
    200m Shuttle run (2 x 50m down and back)
  • Cool/stretch

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