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Fish Oil Basics: The Do’s, Don’ts, and Dosages… Simplified.

By cody | In Articles, Nutrition | on February 15, 2013

If you’ve not had your head in the sand, lived on Mars, or raised in a bubble cut off from the western world you’ve heard of fish oil and it is somehow good for you.  You’ve heard it’s good for kids, brain function, fat loss, disease prevention, cancer, depression and lots of other great things.  Heck, some people would lead you to believe it’s the answer to world peace.

It is good for most of the things listed above.  If you’ve a clean diet void of all grains, gluten, and sugars, fish oil’s benefits are even more profound.  But I’m not getting into why fish oil, and the Omega 3s fatty acids in it, contribute to a healthier you.  I’ve a nutrition class covering all the diet info you’d ever need to know.  The next one will be scheduled and posted soon.  You should attend.

The info below is covered thoroughly in the nutrition class, but it can be a bit confusing at first.

Do’s:

  1. Take a high quality fish oil.  No matter your diet, fish oil is one supplement we all benefit from.  Typically, my advice on supplements is “don’t bother until you get your diet in order”.  However, fish oil, along with a few others things like Vitamin D, is practically impossible to get from whole food.  Even from eating Paleo, there are some things you will not get enough of.
  2. Take enough.  A little is not better than none at all.  Proper dosage will be covered below

Don’ts:

  1. Take any fish oil from CostCo, Walmart, Sam’s, Target, Big Lots, Dollar General, or a crack dealer.  It’s crap if it comes from these places.  Period.

Let’s take a closer look…

Supplement Facts:

Serving Size: 1 Softgel

Each Softgel Contains – % Daily Value:

Calories 10 (Calories from Fat 10), Total Fat 1 g – 2%*, Saturated Fat 0.5 g – 3%*, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g – **, Monounsaturated Fat 0 g – **, Cholesterol 10 mg – 3%, Natural Fish Oil Concentrate 1000 mg, Omega 3 Fatty Acids (EPA/DHA and other Omega 3) 300 mg – **.

Ingredients:

Fish Oil Concentrate, Gelatin, Glycerin, Water, Tocopherol.
Contains: Fish (Anchovy, Sardine) and Soy.

In one capsule of this particular Fish Oil, there is 1,000mg of total content.  The important stuff, EPA and DHA, makes up less than 300mg of that 1,000mg.  I say less than because, they have generously included “other Omega 3s” in the make up of their fine product.  So what is the remaining 700mg made of?  The ingredients states “Fish Oil Concentrate, Gelatin, Glycerin, Water, Tocopherol.

Fish Oil Concentrate is trash.  Look at like this… it’s the stuff you get when you squeeze the juices from a fish’s arse.  Yummy?  I didn’t think so.  It’s sewer of the sea.

Gelatin is what the capsule is made of.  I recommend you take a liquid fish oil.  But if you cannot can’t stomach it, the capsule is going to be the answer for you.  Just note it takes a lot of capsules to get the proper dosages.

Water??  You wouldn’t add water to olive oil would you?  It’s just filler…  something to fill up the capsule.

Glycerin is a carbohydrate with a low index.  It’s used as a preservative.  Again, it’s not needed in a fish oil.

Tocopherol is alpha-Tocopherol, a synthetic Vitamin E.  Most fish oils contain Vitamin E from this source to help keep the oil fresh.  It’s a preservative.

The product contains fish and soy.  The fish are anchovies and sardines.  They are cheap at the grocery store and so is this fish oil for a reason.  In everything, you get what you pay for.  Higher quality fish oils are made from mackerel and cod.  And Soy?  Don’t consume soy.  Ever.

Read about the lawsuit filed against the manufacturers of cheap fish oil here and here.

Recommended (in no specific order) fish oils:
Stonger Healthier Faster Omega Maine
Poliquin – 720 Blend or Omega 3 Liquid
Carlson’s – MedOmega 2800 or Very Finest
Nordic Naturals – Ultimate Omega

Dosages:

The most common question I get at CFW isn’t about training.  It’s about fish oil, specifically “How much do I take?”   I answer with my typical “Males, 12-20 grams.  Females, 8-14 grams.”  I then get “Really?  That much?” accompanied by a look of disbelief.  That’s usually the person that blows me off and purchases the Wal-Mart brand and only takes the recommended dosages listed on the label.  Let’s try not to be “that guy” or girl.  If you feel that inclination, refer back to #2 under the “Do’s”.

Here’s the catch with the dosage.  The grams you take of fish oil is NOT the dosage.  The dosage is how much EPA and DHA you are to take.  Clear as mud?  I’ll clarify…

The nutrition label to the right is from a bottle of Carlson’s Very Finest Fish Oil.
One serving (1 Teaspoon) contains 1,600mg of Omega 3 fatty acids.  Of which 800mg are EPA and 500mg are DHA.  A total of 1,300mg (1.3g) of the total 1,600mg.  See the difference in concentration between this product and the CostCo?  The concentration of EPA and DHA per serving of total fish is much higher.
EPA and DHA is all we care about in the dosage and you need atleast 1 Gram of combined EPA and DHA per 10 lbs of your body weight.  So here’s how you figure your daily dosage:

  1. Find your body weight
  2. Multiply your bodyweight by .05 to .10 to find combined amount of EPA/DHA you need each day.  This is a variable you decide on.  0.5 is for less active or very healthy.  1.0 is for very active, injured, or sick.  Many use .075 for this factor.
  3. Using the amount of EPA/DHA in each serving of your fish oil product.

Example:  If you are 140lbs and active, you multiply your bodyweight by .10.  This tells you your requirement is 14 grams of combined EPA/DHA per day.  Using the Carlson’s label above, add the EPA and DHA amounts.  800mg + 500mg = 1,300mg (1.3g).  There are 1.3 grams of combined EPA/DHA in one serving of the Carlson’s Fish Oil. Divide 14 by 1.3 and you get 11.  You should take 11 servings of this product each day.

Again, each fish oil product is different.  Only use a high quality, concentrated fish oil.  Otherwise you’re adding toxic fatty acids to your diet and not getting any benefits of taking fish oil.

There is a simpler way…  just plug in the numbers into Robb Wolf’s / Whole 9′s fish oil calculator:  http://whole9life.com/fish-oil/

If this doesn’t help, I present nutrition classes and offer nutrition counseling services.  Show up or set up a session.  I cover all the information you’d ever want in two nutrition classes at a VERY affordable price. Yet, I still get too many nutrition questions via email, text, or my personal fav…  on the gym floor while I’m trying workout.  I don’t push my nutrition classes because I make millions from them.  I push them because it’s an organized, all encompassing, presentation of nutrition information where attendess are able to ask question in a proper forum.  You don’t call, email, or just stop by your doctor’s office with questions do you?  You schedule an appointment so you have his/her full attention.  Think about it.
-t.

One Comment to "Fish Oil Basics: The Do’s, Don’ts, and Dosages… Simplified."

  • kalakakhao says:

    March 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm -

    It is not a good post according to me. I will rate it 2 out of 10

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