Don’t get caught out by false promises. Elite Trainer Andy Vincent helps you reel in better health with proper supplementation of fish oils.

 

If you’ve ever sat down with a trainer to talk through your nutrition plan you’ll have heard about the benefits of Omega-3 – particularly fish oils. As an essential fat your body can’t produce, you’re reliant on your diet for your supply. However, keep that supply high and the health boosts afforded to you body are myriad.

Extensively researched, the benefits are (deep breath now): reduced heart disease risk, healthier cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, better mental health, improved memory and even faster fat-burn. Which may go some way to explain why we want to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet.

Regrettably, the average Brit has much lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids compared with populations in mainland Europe. It’s a major part of the Mediterranean Diet you keep reading about in the news, and the reason why your Italian cousins are living longer, healthier lives. Their diets are high in healthy Omega-3 fats.

 

Catch of the day: Getting your dose at dinner

There are plenty of ways to get enough Omega-3 on the shelves of your local supermarket. But you do need to walk the aisles armed with some knowledge. I often see items such as cod or canned fish in clients’ meal plans, but people do not realise that they are actually low in Omega-3.

The essential fatty-acid is found in oily fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna and sardines. What you might not know is that most salmon is farmed and fed on corn, which is high in Omega-6, not the Omega-3 your body craves. Farmed salmon can also contain pesticides so I wouldn’t suggest you eat it too regularly. The mercury levels in tuna also make it a useful ingredient for nutrition plan rotation, rather than an everyday staple.
Obviously, if you regularly rotate between mackerel, sardines, trout, tuna and salmon then you are unlikely to need Omega-3 supplementation. But I hope this goes some way to explaining why getting enough fish oil from whole foods isn’t as simple as you first thought. Which is where the supplementation option comes in.

 

Worth a pop? All pills are not created equal

Whilst you can purchase low cost Omega-3 supplements, many are lacking two of the key nutrients that are most beneficial to your health – EPA (eicosapentaenoic) and DHA (docosahexaenoic) fatty acids. Always check the label for the EPA & DHA levels of fish oil supplements. If they’re higher in DHA I recommend them for both brain and eye health, while EPA content is most important for reducing inflammation.

Opting for cheaper supplements also runs the risk of low oil quality and rancidity. Fish oils shouldn’t need to be stored in a refrigerator and the capsule should be odourless. If you ever experience fish oils that smell, repeating on you or causing a stomach upset then the pills have fallen victim to oxidation. This essentially means they’ve gone off and, even if you keep taking them, won’t have a positive effect on your Omega-3 levels and overall health.

I always recommend my clients buy a supplement that tells you the fish source, like salmon, trout or krill – it’s a sign of a quality manufacturer. Krill oil is an excellent, lesser-known option because it’s rich in EPA and DHA, as well as astaxanthin and phospholipids, which ensure that your body can easily absorb the nutrients. Also, because krill are crustaceans they are very low in mercury and heavy metals, reducing the risks to your health.

Armed with the knowledge above you’re well placed to up your dose of Omega-3 and enjoy all the health benefits that come with it. But if you’re looking for a fast first step let me suggest my favourite brand, FutureYou health. As a small manufacturer they have excellent quality control so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Taken properly, supplements are a key part of a successful nutrition plan. If you have any questions about how you can improve your health and get more from your training with supplements then book in for a consultation today.