Fish Oil Supps


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After checking out Charles Poliquin's Question of Strength article and reading his thoughts on high-dosage fish oil supps, I thought it would be worth starting a thread about it. If anyone has any experiences they'd like to share it would be great to hear them.

Here's the article (you'll need to scroll down to read the pertinent bit about fish oil): Question of Strength, December '06

What the hey, it's quoted below:

<div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The Single Best Supplement

Q: What's one supplement that every athlete, weekend warrior, and basically any active person should be taking daily?

A: Fish oil. I was first introduced to fish oil twelve years ago by my friend Mauro DiPasquale. I was over at his house and he had fish oil on the counter. I asked him what he used it for and he said, &quot;Charles, this is the most important supplement ever.&quot;

He told me to go to Medline and punch in any disease known to man and the words &quot;fish oil&quot; beside it. He challenged me to find a study that didn't show how fish oil could benefit in the treatment of any disease. I gave up after 86 studies!

Why is it so beneficial? It's in our genes. Humans used to consume 300-400 grams of omega-3s per week. If we consume more than two grams a day now it's considered a lot.

There was a study published four years ago that showed that if the US government issued three grams of fish oil per day to American citizens, then the amount of cancer and heart disease would go down by 50% within one year. Most readers don't care about cancer and heart disease, but they may care about this: the biggest limiting factor in naturally training people to getting lean and adding muscle is the consumption (or lack thereof) of omega-3s.

Looking at the body structure of cavemen, they had a lot of muscle mass compared to modern man. They got their omega-3s through the meats they ate. Now, they often ate what the predators left. For example, a lion will eat an antelope from the gut on, so what's left is the skull and long bones. Primitive man would break the skull open and eat the brains. Brains are 60% fat, and 60% of that is DHA, the omega-3. What they've found is that the more brain-sucking was going in those populations, the faster the IQ went up.

&quot;I've lost my appetite.&quot;

Primitive man would also break the bones of the prey and suck the marrow, also rich in omega-3, DHA particularly. DHA is the omega-3 most responsible for brain development while EPA is most associated with reducing inflammation.

My athletes would often recognize each other when sitting around a table because those I'd be training would break out the fish oil during the meal. That's how I got the nickname &quot;the fish oil guy&quot; among athletes. But that's also how I get people so lean so fast.

Anyone who wants to put on muscle and lose fat should be on 30-45 grams of fish oil per day. That's just three tablespoons of fish oil. It would be a pain in the *** with capsules though because that's around 45 capsules per day, but it's easy with a straight oil.

Flameout is also a great product. I like the addition of CLA to the EPA and DHA because most of the population is deficient in CLA. When I travel abroad I bring four or five bottles of Flameout instead of my liquid fish oil and take four or five capsules a day.

For those of us interested in positively and optimally altering body composition and maximizing our training efforts, fish oils offer thirteen possible advantages:

1. Cell membrane health: EPA and DHA insure that cell membranes remain healthy. This means that the membranes are flexible and contain larger numbers of insulin receptors that are more receptive and responsive to circulating insulin. This results in decreased fat storage in the adipocytes (fat cells).

2. Fish oils turn on the lipolytic genes (fat burning genes).

3. Fish oils turn off the lipogenic genes (fat storage genes).

4. Fish oils diminish C-reactive proteins, a newly identified risk factor associated with various inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis, angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, and diabetes. The DHA fraction of the fish oil seems to be one most responsible for that protective effect. DHA also has the best ability to reduce blood pressure.

5. Increase utilization of fat stores from the adipocytes.

6. Preferential utilization for energy production once stored in the adipocytes.

7. Reduced inflammation from physical training.

8. Pain management from the reduced inflammation.

9. EPA regulates blood supply to the brain which is essential in maintaining focus in weight training sessions. DHA is important in brain membranes, memory, and cognitive function.

10. Fish oils increase serotonin levels (the happy neurotransmitter). Therefore, fish oils will decrease incidence of depression, anxiety, panic attack, and reduce carbohydrate cravings.

11. Fish oils will improve your cardiovascular risk profile by lowering VLDL, triglycerides, homocysteine, fibrinogen, and increasing HDL levels. Combining fish oils with plant sterols will improve lipid levels even more than either alone.

12. Fish oils can also decrease blood pressure by several mechanisms. These include increases in the vasodilatory compound, nitric oxide, reducing vascular inflammation, blocking the constrictive elements in the vascular wall such as the calcium channels reducing blood viscosity, and inhibiting a blood vessel constrictor (thromboxane). Lipoprotein (a) is another CVD predictor that can be lowered by fish oils (a 19% reduction was seen with natural, stable fish oils and just 4% with a highly purified fish oil).

13. Fish oils are a great stress fighter. Supplementation with n-3 fatty acids inhibits the adrenal activation of steroids, aldosterone, epinephrine, and norepinephrine (catecholamines) elicited by a mental stress, apparently through effects exerted at the level of the central nervous system. Therefore, for the same amount of stress, one will produce fewer stress hormones if consuming fish oils on a regular basis.

In short, fish oil is my number one supplement recommendation!

Whilst I'm always very sceptical about claims like this, and I'm always wary of overdoing a good thing, I am prepared to take 10g a day for a few weeks and see how it effects me. I have read of several other folks who started off with 10g rather than jumping in at the deep-end with 30+g/day. They had noticeable results so it would seem like a good/safe place to start.

Thanks to Russ for bringing this to my attention.
I've been 'trawling' around looking for good sources of oil for my experiment. I hate gels as they invariable get stuck in my throat unless I chew them up, so I'm looking for bottles of oil. The Carlson stuff sounds good but is pretty pricey in the UK at ~£30 for 500ml!

Instead, I found a supply of Liquid Cod Liver Oil priced at £7 for 600ml. (Each 5ml teaspoon delivers 1035mg of Omega 3’s.) Much better value!

I notice that some brands mention a 'high-tech purification process' that removes the fishy taste. Anyone know if this adversely affects the oil in any way?
(Lol @ May 17 2009,12:31)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I notice that some brands mention a 'high-tech purification process' that removes the fishy taste. Anyone know if this adversely affects the oil in any way?</div>
Lol, it's my understanding that the highly refined oils will have better EHA &amp; DHA concentrations after some of the smelly soluables and impurities are taken out. I believe the saturated fats are separated by a process of chilling, whereby the soluable portions are formed and removed. Our company works with a large fish oil supplier here in the US, so I'll see if I can track down any other info.
I am currently taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 grams per day and have been doing this for several months. My experience has been extremely positive and I am flirting with the idea of going to the 30-45 gram level Poliquin advocates.

The thing is - I'm experiencing pretty much all the benefits described at my more moderate dose and I do have some small concerns with higher doses as it relates to immune system function. I would love for my fears to be put to rest - so I'll be following this thread in hopes of further illumination.
@Jo: yessir, will do.

@omega99: thank you for the gen. Any other info you find out will be a great addition to this thread.

@Russ: I think it makes perfect sense to only supplement to the level that produces the desired results.

Here's my current plan of action: as soon as my supply of oil arrives I'm going to kick off the first month at 10g/day. If at the end of that time I haven't felt much of an improvement (particularly in my left shoulder), I'll hike up the dosage to 20g/day for the next month and see if that helps or if it produces any unwanted side-effects. If I don't notice much improvement from 20g/day, I may then go all the way and hit 30g/day for a month. However, before doing so, I would like to know whether Poliquin's recommendation should be scaled for smaller/lighter folks? I'm only around 200lb right now whereas I suspect a lot of Poliquin's trainees would have been a fair bit larger than that.
does it have to be cod liver oil holland and barret do some cheap fish oils.
they were capsules,of the top i think they were 1000mg 100mg eha and 70mg dha not sure
(Lol @ May 17 2009,12:31)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I've been 'trawling' around looking for good sources of oil for my experiment. I hate gels as they invariable get stuck in my throat unless I chew them up, so I'm looking for bottles of oil. The Carlson stuff sounds good but is pretty pricey in the UK at ~£30 for 500ml!

Instead, I found a supply of Liquid Cod Liver Oil priced at £7 for 600ml. (Each 5ml teaspoon delivers 1035mg of Omega 3’s.) Much better value!

I notice that some brands mention a 'high-tech purification process' that removes the fishy taste. Anyone know if this adversely affects the oil in any way?</div>
I take 10, 1000mg fish oil capsules, but I see it might be better to go the cod liver oil route; if for no other  reason, there's less 'volume' of what is taken (10-20 large capsules are a bit bulky) and less cost.

 I've never tried cod liver oil however. Are there any issues with a lingering bad taste??
Currently, I am on an easy maintenance dose of 1000 mg of DHA, 700 mg of EPA, and 900 mg of ALA per day. I definitely want those numbers to increase (I use to take 4x that amount last fall), but I am taking capsules and eating fish once to twice per week. It would be too many capsules for my liking to increase it dramatically.

I would advise making sure the fish oil you purchase is molecularity distilled as a lot of toxins such as PCBs and mercury can leak its way into the health-grade fish oil you see at your local pharmacy/grocery store.
These looked like a pretty good bang for the buck since most research I have read suggest that DHA is far more important for men than EPA.

How much of the 30-45 grams of fish oil that Poliquin recommends is actual DHA &amp; EPA? I have seen some pretty high gram ratings on some capsules but only a tiny amount of it is DHA &amp; EPA....which is what is important.
My supply of fish oil finally arrived. I got 2.4 litres for £28. It's really easy to take as all the fishy tasting stuff has been filtered out and it has a pleasant lemony flavour.

I'm starting out with 3 x 9g servings a day (3 of my desert-spoonfuls). Each spoonful is taken with a meal. No fishy burps as yet.

Here's a link to a pdf of the label for the Cod Liver Oil I ended up purchasing:

This is what's on the label:

Typically per 5ml:
Total Omega 3 Fatty Acids 1035mg of which
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) 350mg
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) 460mg
Vitamin A 270µg
Vitamin D 5µg
Vitamin E 5mg

Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin E (as d-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Natural Lemon Flavouring, Vitamin D (as D3 Prep.), Vitamin A (as Palmitate).

Our high-tec purification processes remove the fishy taste whilst concentrating the important nutrients of the oil. Each 5ml teaspoon delivers a massive 1035mg of Omega 3’s together with Vitamin A and excellent levels of Vitamin D for bone health. No sugar added, just natural lemon extract.
Thanks MicroBerto , I found this interesting from one of the studies provided in your link.

&quot;However, patients showed a more precocious and accentuated improvement when fish oil supplements were used in combination with olive oil.&quot;

This was regarding arthritis, but me thinks has application for &quot;lifters joints&quot;. I used to add olive oil to my shakes but haven't for a while. I'm going to start doing that again and see if I notice a synergistic effect now that I'm &quot;on&quot; (fish oil-that is !).
Thanks from me too, MicroBerto. I happen to use a fair amount of olive oil in my diet so if there is a synergistic effect with fish oil I may benefit right off the bat.
(Lol @ Jun. 15 2009,4:34)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"><div>
(Dan Moore @ Jun. 13 2009,1:04)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"></div>
Ah! Thanks Dan. So that's why Aaron hasn't added his thoughts here.

Have any studies been made on the effects of high-dosing with fish oil (ie. &gt;10g/day)?</div>
What effects are you looking for?

There is a buttload of research on EPA/DHA's effect on many functions of the body. I mean a butload.
Ah OK. Specifically, (shoulder) joint health in weightlifters/trainers.