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Foundation Five: Fish Oil

If you can only take one supplement, most experts will agree that getting adequate fish oil is the way to go. 

Why You Need It:

Fish oil, which contains the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, is so powerful because it is incorporated into the outside lipid layer of all your cells, allowing for better signaling or “messaging” between cells. In practical terms, this means your body will be able to burn fat stores for energy rather than relying strictly on glucose from carbohydrates. 

Additionally, insulin sensitivity improves and metabolic rate is enhanced. Fish oil has a very high thermic effect, triggering the body to burn more calories following digestion. For example, one study found that when men increased their fish oil intake from half a gram to 3 grams a day for 2 weeks, they increased their thermic effect by 51 percent. 

Fish oil is also necessary to offset the inflammatory effects of processed vegetable and seed oils such as soy or corn oil that most Westerners consume in high quantities. In practice, this translates into less stress, better hormone balance, improved cognition, and lower risk of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. 

How Much Do You Need?

Aim to get 1 to 3 grams of EPA and DHA daily. Quality is very important when it comes to fish oil because reports show that many fish oil brands are contaminated, rancid, or don’t meet label claims. To test for rancidity, take a capsule and chew it up when you first open the bottle. Safe fish oil should have a mild taste, but rancid fish oil will taste acidic. 

Supplementation Recommendations:

  • To combat high inflammation, try a high-EPA concentration fish oil.
  • To promote cognition and brain health
, choose a high-DHA concentration fish oil.
  • For body composition, get a combination of EPA and DHA in a 3:2 ratio. 
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