The amazing benefits of fish oil are virtually all related to their ability to decrease silent inflammation in the body. The benefits include:
- Decreased risk of heart disease, which is basically an inflammatory disorder
- Decreased risk of diabetes, by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin, so lower levels are required to do their job.
- Decreased risk of many forms of cancer
- Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Decreased risk of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus.
- Greater longevity
- Improved emotional control
- Greater mental acuity
- Improved physical performance
What Can You Do To Reduce Silent Inflammation?
For a wonderful review of how to dramatically decrease the level of silent inflammation in your body, why not go to the man who wrote the book on anti-inflammation? Barry Sears, Ph.D.
His amazing book entitled, The Anti-Inflammation Zone tells all the details about Omega 3 FA’s and why they are so important.
In a nutshell, here’s the story on fish oils and inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids (the predominant fatty acid in fish oils) have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Omega-6 fatty acids (the predominant fatty acid derived from linoleic acid, found in vegetable oils like corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil) can have a powerful pro-inflammatory effect on the body, causing increased inflammation.
The healthy ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet should be somewhere around 2:1.
Unfortunately, due to the massive amounts of processed foods in our modern diet, that use mostly corn and vegetable oils, our current ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3’s is about 20:1.
This overabundance of Omega-6 fatty acids in the diet leads to an unopposed overproduction of arachidonic acid (AA), the leading pro-inflammatory molecule in the body. (You’ll learn much more about this below!)
Why Do You Need To Worry About Silent Inflammation?
That’s easy right?
Because it will hurt you and prematurely age you and put you at risk for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, stroke and loads of other problems.
Silent inflammation is quite simply dangerous to your health and well-being.
Because silent inflammation in the body is the very root cause of illness and aging in the cells of the body.
Let’s take a look at some facts you need to know, that will help you better control silent inflammation in your body: Eicosanoids (eye-KAH-sa-noids) control inflammation.
What are eicosanoids? They are little known hormones that work on a cell to cell level, but do not enter the bloodstream. There are many classes of eicosanoids called Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes and the like.
Keep your eicosanoids in balance and you will stay healthy. Let them get out of balance and inflammation and disease will result.
Eicosanoid production begins with the essential fatty acids in our diet. In particular: Linoleic acid converts to GLA (Gamma-Linolenic Acid)
GLA is rapidly converted into DGLA (Di-homo-gamma-linolenic Acid).
DGLA is the building block for most of the good Eicosanoids that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
The problem is: DGLA is also the building block for all of the pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. (COX (Cyclo-oxygenase): prostaglandins, thromboxanes and LOX (Lipo-oxygenase): leukotrienes, hydroxylated fatty acids and lipoxins.)
By sheer brute force, high levels of linoleic acid in vegetable oils ultimately increases the production of Arachidonic Acid and therefore increase silent inflammation, which in turn, accelerates aging and causes chronic disease.
Until the advent of ultra-refined EPA/DHA concentrates, it was impossible to get enough EPA into a person to inhibit the D5D enzyme, without overloading the body with contaminants like mercury, PCB’s and dioxins.
DGLA converts to Arachindonic Acid (AA)Delta-5-desaturase (D5D) is the enzyme that converts DGLA into AA. This is the critical enzyme in the entire equation. If you can inhibit the activity of D5D, then you will reduce the production of AA in the body. This decreases silent inflammation, which decreases aging and illness.
What Inhibits The Activity of Delta-5-Desaturase (D5D)?
The number one inhibitor of D5D is Eicosapentanoic Acid (also called EPA), which is the key omega-3 FA found in fish oil. The problem is that EPA is a relatively weak inhibitor of D5D.
Several other natural inhibitors of D5D include lignans from sesame oil, and spices such as turmeric.
The other big problem in this whole equation is that insulin is a potent activator of D5D. So when insulin levels go high from the foods we eat, it activates D5D and more AA is produced and higher levels of silent inflammation begin.
The only way to control insulin is to control the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio at every meal.
This brings us to a key point in any anti-aging diet: you must treat food as if it were a medicine.
When you eat 1/2 to 1 gram of protein for every 1 gram of carbohydrate, you will minimize the activation of D5D, and thus minimize the elevation of AA, and keep silent inflammation low.
A Summary of Facts You Need To Know
In summary, here are the essential points to remember when it comes to fish oil supplementation:
To fully control silent inflammation, you need high dose fish oil high in EPA (Eicosapentanoic Acid) and you need to balance your protein and carbohydrate intake, to insure a ratio of 1/2 to 1 gram of protein for every gram of carbohydrates.
The more you control insulin levels by eating correctly, the less fish oil you need to control inflammation.
The less you control insulin by controlling your diet, the more fish oil you need.
Treat food as if it were medicine. Every food you eat has direct and powerful effects on the biochemistry of each and every one of your 60 trillion cells.
Supplement EPA and DHA (Docosahexanoic Acid) in a 2:1 ratio.
Other natural D5D inhibitors that can decrease the production of the pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid include: lignans from sesame oil and turmeric. How Much Fish Oil Do You Need?
The range is somewhere between 2.5 grams per day to 8 grams per day of EPA and DHA in a 2:1 ratio.
Taken from Barry Sears work, here’s a great guideline:
If you have no existing chronic disease, take 2.5 grams of EPA plus DHA.
If you are obese, have heart disease or type 2 diabetes, take 5 grams per day.
If you have existing chronic pain that hurts you, take 7.5 grams per day.
If you have an existing neurological condition, you may need more than 10 grams per day.
CAUTION: A typical fish oil capsule is 1000mg and has on the label a breakdown of the amount of EPA and DHA. For example, the label may say: Total Weight: 1000mg, EPA: 250 mg, DHA: 125 mg. In this case, that one capsule has 375mg (250 of EPA and 125 of DHA) of EPA + DHA. So in order to get 5 grams a day, you would need 13 capsules a day.
VERY IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Please never take any more than 1250 mg of EPA + DHA without the advice and/or supervision of a medical doctor or health care provider.
Also, even if you are under a doctor’s care, never take more than 2500mg EPA + DHA without having a proper blood test done for the AA/EPA ratio in the blood to make sure you are not taking too much fish oil, which may depress your immune system.
At the very high doses you may need, fish oil acts more like a drug than a supplement. After all, like Hippocrates said, “Let they food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
He was right. If you do not have a doctor that can monitor you, you are welcome to write me for more information on medical consulting that I can provide for you, as well as information on the blood testing for the AA/EPA ration.
What is the best fish oil to take?
It has taken me literally months to sort through all the data out there on various fish oil supplements. You are welcome to do the same.
I will tell you only one very important thing, that many companies claim to have “the best” fish oil.
For me, as a doctor and scientist, the only true test is the willingness of any given company to submit their batches to the IFSO for independent, third party, verifiable testing for safety, toxicity and quality of ingredients.
I assure you that after extensive research into competing products, this product line recommended above offers one of the highest quality, lowest toxicity, ultra-refined, pharmaceutical grade supplements that exist.
Every batch is submitted for independent lab analysis by a neutral third party whose results cannot be manipulated or twisted by statistics, nice words, great testimonials, etc.
When it comes to the higher doses fish oil you may need, please do not risk your health. At these doses, you must make sure that the product you are getting is independently tested.
Remember that this high quality ultra-refined pharmaceutical grade fish oil starts with 100 gallons of fish oil like that found in Costco, Trader Joes, GNC and other health-food grade stores and it is purified and distilled to produce only 1 gallon of the ultra-refined fish oil.