Why Athletes Need Fish Oil

When we’re talking about supplementation, there’s a few that I recommend to pretty much everyone; but fish oil always takes the top of the list especially for people who are active. Here’s why:

A Reduction in Reaction Time

A reduction in reaction time has been noted with fish oil supplementation in persons who consume low levels of fish in the diet. This is important for athletes in any sport, not just for exercise. Reaction time indicates mental acuity, something often lacking in today’s adults. Not only that, but those same persons experienced an increase in processing accuracy and an improvement in overall mood state (more vigour with less aggression, fatigue, and depression)1)Fontani, G., Corradeschi, F., Felici, A., Alfatti, F., Migliorini, S., Lodi, L.. (November 2005). Cognitive and physiological effects of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in healthy subjects.. Retrieved Dec 6, 2015, from PubMed.gov: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16269019.

Increased Fat Cell Energy

Fat oxidation (percentage of energy being taken from fat tissue) has been shown to be notably increased with fish oil supplementation2)Couet, C., Delarue, J., Ritz, P., Antoine, JM, Lamisse F.. (August 1997). Effect of dietary fish oil on body fat mass and basal fat oxidation in healthy adults.. Retrieved Dec 14, 2015, from PubMed.gov: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15481762. This is especially important for endurance athletes who need longer-term energy.

Vitamin D

Most people in the Western world vitamin D deficient for several reasons, including a lack of sunlight, you’re pregnant or obese, or you don’t supplement3)Vitamin D Council. (2015). Am I deficient in vitamin D?. Retrieved Dec 6, 2015, from Vitamin D Council: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/am-i-deficient-in-vitamin-d/. Vitamin D boosts your immune system, improves muscle function, and improves circulation and cardiovascular function. There are two ways to increase your vitamin D levels; expose your bare skin to sunlight for at least 30-60 minutes a day (and even that may not be enough), or use a supplement. Fish oil is a great way to boost your vitamin D levels. Optimal levels of vitamin D are 1,000 IUs – 2,000 IUs per day.

Omega3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil has a high omega-3-to-omega-6 ratio. In short, “…a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promotes the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.”4)Simopoulos, AP. (October 2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Retrieved Dec 14, 2015, from PubMed.gov: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909 For those of you that are paleo fanatics, a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio can also be caused by consuming unclean, factory-farmed meat (one of the many side effects of corn-fed cows), eggs from chickens that never see the light of day, and not eating enough seeds like chia and flax.

Anti-Inflammatory

And of course, the “I” word; inflammation. “When inflammation becomes chronic and systemic, when it ceases to be an acute response, when it becomes a constant low-level feature of your physiology that’s always on and always engaged, the big problems arise.”5)Sisson, Mark. (5 Jan 2013). What Is Inflammation? Retrieved Dec 12, 2015, from Mark’s Daily Apple: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-is-inflammation/ Fish oil can significantly reduce systemic inflammation in your body. With such nasty side effects as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and insulin resistance, there’s really no reason for anyone not to be drinking this stuff.

How Much Should I Take?

My general recommendation is to aim for around 2-4 grams of EPA/DHA per day. In general, you get more bang for your buck with a liquid supplement versus capsules. Always take fish oil with meals, and if you take too much, your digestive tract will tell you.

There are other benefits to taking fish oil that I won’t get into here. If the above benefits aren’t convincing enough, then we should have a chat about your current nutrition situation. My opinion is: if you’re active, take this stuff. If you’re not active, take this stuff. It’s that simple.

References   [ + ]

1.Fontani, G., Corradeschi, F., Felici, A., Alfatti, F., Migliorini, S., Lodi, L.. (November 2005). Cognitive and physiological effects of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in healthy subjects.. Retrieved Dec 6, 2015, from PubMed.gov: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16269019
2.Couet, C., Delarue, J., Ritz, P., Antoine, JM, Lamisse F.. (August 1997). Effect of dietary fish oil on body fat mass and basal fat oxidation in healthy adults.. Retrieved Dec 14, 2015, from PubMed.gov: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15481762
3.Vitamin D Council. (2015). Am I deficient in vitamin D?. Retrieved Dec 6, 2015, from Vitamin D Council: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/am-i-deficient-in-vitamin-d/
4.Simopoulos, AP. (October 2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Retrieved Dec 14, 2015, from PubMed.gov: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909
5.Sisson, Mark. (5 Jan 2013). What Is Inflammation? Retrieved Dec 12, 2015, from Mark’s Daily Apple: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-is-inflammation/

Oregano Oil – A Powerful Herb, Little Known and Little Used

Oregano, Thymus capitatus or origanum vulgare

What is Oregano Oil:

Oregano oil was first used in ancient Greece to treat a variety of infectious diseases. Since then, its popularity has grown and it is considered, among many herbalists, as one of the most effective naturally occuring broad-spectrum antibiotics available. Its marked antimicrobial effects against bacteria, yeast, filamentous fungi and even viruses, make it an excellent herb to consume when an individual is exposed to an illness of which the disease mechinism is unknown (think: kid that hacks in your face and you have no idea what he’s sick with).1)Chen, John K., Ph.D, PharmD, OMD, LAc. 2012. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry: Art of Medicine Press, Inc. The primary constituants, Carvacrol and Thymol, are so powerful that it is shelf stable without added preservatives, and research has shown them to fight staphylococcus, campylobacter, e.coli, giardia, pseudomonas and salmonella among others.2)Reichling J., Schnitzler, P., Suschke, U., Saller, R. (2009). Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants with Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, and Cytotoxic Properties – an Overview. Retrieved Dec 6, 2015, from Karger; Medical and Scientific Publishers: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/207196

How do you use Oregano Oil:

Three capsules of Oregano oil taken 2 times daily upon initial exposure to an illness is typically sufficient to ward off even the toughest ills. If symptoms develop after the first day’s dosage, please seek medical advice from a qualified practitioner.

What else do I need to know:

Individuals who have allergies to the Lamiaceae family (which includes mint, basil, and lavender) shoulder avoid consuming Oregano Oil. Children under the age of 7 should avoid oral consumption in favor of mixing it with a carrier oil and applying it to the soles of the feet. Women who are pregnant or nursing should seek medical advice prior to use, and still, use with caution.

References   [ + ]

1.Chen, John K., Ph.D, PharmD, OMD, LAc. 2012. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry: Art of Medicine Press, Inc.
2.Reichling J., Schnitzler, P., Suschke, U., Saller, R. (2009). Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants with Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, and Cytotoxic Properties – an Overview. Retrieved Dec 6, 2015, from Karger; Medical and Scientific Publishers: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/207196

Astragalus (Huang Qi)

What is Astragalus?

Astragalus (Huang Qi) has been used in China since the 2nd century, and has spread around the globe since then. It is now considered in the West, as one of the foremost immunostimulant herbs, used especially during the months preceding cold and flu season. It’s ability to increase white blood cells and multinuclear leukocytes is well documented, as is its ability to lower risk of infection, inhibit bacterial activity (especially Diplococcus pneumoniae and Stphylococcus aureus), and prevent upper respiratory tract infections in children1)Chen, John K., Ph.D, PharmD, OMD, LAc. 2012. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry: Art of Medicine Press, Inc.. A post-chemotherapy injection of 100mg daily is given to most cancer patients in China as a means to rebuild a patient’s immune system.2)Sperber, Dr. Greg. 2014. Integrated Pharmacology: Combining Modern Pharmacology with Chinese Medicine. Boulder, CO: Blue Poppy Press

How Do I Use Astragalus?

While Chinese herbalists use Huang Qi in different forms for reasons beyond those listed above, a typical Western application is dosed orally through capsule form. 3 capsules taken away from meals 2 times daily is typically adequate for immunostimulant purposes prior to cold and flu season. Because this herb builds the immune system gradually, it should be taken regularly, approximately 1 – 2 months prior to peak cold and flu season. If you become sick, discontinue its use for the duration of your illness and reinstate after the bacteria/virus is completely cleared.

What Else Do I Need To know?

Individuals who suffer from autoimmune conditions should avoid taking Astragalus (Huang Qi) at all times as it can exacerbate an already hyperactive immune system. Additionally, individuals taking immunosuppressants (ie. Prednisone, corticosteroids, etc.), Lithium, or amino glycoside antibiotics should refrain from its consumption.3)Chen, John K., Ph.D, PharmD, OMD, LAc. 2012. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry: Art of Medicine Press, Inc.

References   [ + ]

1, 3.Chen, John K., Ph.D, PharmD, OMD, LAc. 2012. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry: Art of Medicine Press, Inc.
2.Sperber, Dr. Greg. 2014. Integrated Pharmacology: Combining Modern Pharmacology with Chinese Medicine. Boulder, CO: Blue Poppy Press