Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea…

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Nutrition | 211 comments

The health and nutrition aisle-you’ve been down that aisle in every supermarket and box store. Who on EARTH buys all those supplements? I have visions of unhealthy people throwing one of each in for good luck, “Instead of eating right and getting active, I’ll have one of each and that oughtta take care of it…oh yeah, remember to order pizza on the way home”. This should not be news to you, but that is a pile o’ steaming horse poo. I don’t know what you all have junking up your medicine cabinets, but now that you are exercising smart at CFR and eating paleo, you can throw a majority of it away. When you research supplements in the paleo-sphere, it more or less boils down to two main things: Fish oil and Vitamin D.


Why Fish Oil?


This relates very well to the most recent talk we had on FAT (not many comments on that one…lol). If you have been following the links, or reading on your own (pat yourself on the traps), you know that we NEED fat-it runs our bodies. You were introduced to: saturated, monounsaturated , and polyunsaturated. Your body is able to produce sat and mono. Poly, on the other hand, are essential fatty acids (EFA) that you must obtain from food.

The rock stars of the EFA world are

- Omega-6 (tend to promote inflammation, found in vegetable oils, soy products, processed foods, grain-fed meat, and nuts and seeds-one reason to go easy on nuts)

-Omega-3 (naturally anti-inflammatory, found in oily fish, winter squash, walnuts).

We need these suckers rolling around in order to regulate inflammation in our body and keep things running normally.  I am talking serious stuff such as: neurotransmission in the central nervous system, DNA transcription (errors here mean bad news!), inflammation in your cells, and regulation of hormones and metabolism. Our bodies operate best when our omega-6: omega-3 ratio is at 1:1. The closer we get to this, the less inflammation is wreaking havoc on very important and delicate systems, and the healthier we are.

In the event you are sleep-reading at this point, let me remind you that we get EFA’s from the food we eat. In the SAD, thanks to the abundance of low quality, low fat, highly modified and processed food, the ratio is about 14-25:1. You read that right! This imbalance wreaks absolute havoc on our systems, and leads to a wide range of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and depression. When you walked into CFR for the first time, you were likely an inflamed mess-whether you knew it or not. Beau, Sean, Joby, Angie, or some friendly soul told you to cut out grains and start taking fish oil. Well now you know why.

Eating a paleo diet ameliorates much of our ratio disparity, but omega-6 still tends to be on the heavy side, since most of us don’t eat 100% paleo all of the time, or can’t afford or routinely find free-range, grassfed food sources. The vegetable oils (corn oil has a shocking ratio of 46:1) used in restaurants, and the grain forced/general crap diet and living condition of today’s farm-produced animals are just a few of the reasons that it is tough to get the ratio down to 3:1 even when you are making mostly paleo food choices.  Since being perfect is no fun anyway, we can supplement with fish oil. It helps raise our intake of omega-3 EFA, which in turn reduces the inflammation that is leading toward that laundry list of health concerns. We feel better, lift easier, stay healthier.  Personally, I notice a recovery difference (muscle soreness) when I fall off my fish oil regimen.

While the goal is to work toward getting our ratio under control strictly through diet (using items like fresh fish, cage-free eggs, and grassfed meat), supplementing allows us to get us closer to this goal. *Remember that you can’t shove crap into your system and expect to even things out with any supplement. That’s just not the way the lara bar crumbles, folks. (It felt wrong saying cookie)*2-4 grams of fish oil a day looks to be the sweet spot. If you are eating super clean, and feel like you are getting enough omega-3 from your food, then by all means, take less. Currently, I pop two of these bad boys at breakfast. Also strive to incorporate good sources of omega-3 into your diet-salmon, sardines, walnuts, cage-free eggs, etc. Remember- if you are choosing to eat paleo, you are already taking a giant leap toward a more balanced ratio and better health. No need to supplement like crazy. And please, just avoid that scary aisle next time you go to the store.

For additional fishtastic information, hop on over to the fish oil FAQ Whole 9’s site.


Next up: Vitamin D.

Until Next Time…


2 Responses to “Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea…”

  1. How did you know I was researching supplements last night?!? Haha… I noticed that the fish oil Greg had bought awhile ago says it contains soy…so that leads me to 2 questions – should I not start taking these? And are there products that don’t contain soy?

    • Gotta love good timing!
      If I were you guys, I would go ahead and finish out the bottle you have now, and in the meantime do some searching for a product that doesn’t have soy. In most other cases I wouldn’t want you to touch soy with a 10ft pole, but I am of the opinion that what is in your fish oil is likely a miniscule amount. For your next batch you may choose to dig around and find a soy-free option. The brand Whole 9 recommends in the link above is def soy-free. (FWIW, the brand I use-also linked above- lists soy on the ingredients but has always been one of Robb Wolf’s main recommendations as far as quality for price. I am sure you have found that there sometimes comes a cost/benefit analysis when making our paleo choices!) There’s my 2cents(=

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